Plateau NUJ 2017 Election: Desperate Plot by Mr Yusufu Aminu  Idegu – led Correspondents Chapel Exco to Disenfranchise Me And An Appeal to Stop Him

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National Mirror Newspapers,

NICON Insurance Building,

Along State Secretariat Road,

Jos, Plateau  State.

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August 25, 2017.

The Chairman,

Credentials Committee,

NUJ, Plateau State Council.

Dear Sir,

Plateau NUJ 2017 Election: Desperate Plot by Mr Yusufu Aminu  Idegu – led Correspondents Chapel Exco to Disenfranchise Me And An Apeal to Stop Him

I bring you warm greetings from the office of National Mirror Newspapers here in Jos.

On behalf of the members of staff, I congratulate you and members of your team first, on your recent constitution as members of the Credentials Committee for the 2017 State Council election.

I also wish to register my deep appreciation on the steps already taken by your committee to ensure that the election slated to hold on September 7, 2017 becomes not only  a reality but successful as well.

As a member of the Correspondents Chapel and indeed NUJ, and having watched with keen interests, the activities of your committee since inauguration, I must also acknowledge the fact that so far, you have kept faith with your mandate to deliver a free, fair and credible election for the council in line with your earlier promise to give every member of the union a sense of belonging.

However,   I am worried that as the election date draws nearer, some characters within the chapels that make up the Union, who do not share in your vision for a better Plateau NUJ are bent on sabotaging your efforts and indeed scheming day and night with an evil intention of rubbishing this all-important democratic assignment given to your committee by the Council.

Their modus operandi is to single out certain individual members, brand them as NON MEMBERS and begin to churn out some dubious , strange and unfounded reasons with the aim of  disenfranchising  them  ahead of the forthcoming election while hauling  insults and abuses on those who counsel them otherwise.

No Chapel is this conspiracy so glaring than the Correspondent Chapel led by Mr Yusuf Aminu Idegu who has mischievously tagged   some otherwise genuine and dedicated members of the chapel as NON MEMBERS and has gone ahead to delist their names including my name, ostensibly to stop me from voting my preferred candidates during the election, hence my decision to inform you of this ugly development with a view to addressing it.

For the avoidance of doubts, yours truly who holds a Diploma in Mass Communication, Bachelor of Science Degree in Political science, Postgraduate Diploma in Education and a Masters Degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution has been in active journalism practice for a period spanning over a decade.

In 2010 ,  when I was posted to Plateau state by National Mirror Newspapers as State Correspondent, I formally joined the Correspondents’ Chapel after fulfilling all formalities. Since then, my journalism practice has continued unbroken even after the management of the Newspaper decided recently to re-structure the company for greater productivity. With the yet –to- be concluded repositioning of the Newspaper known for its objectivity and extensive coverage  in the print media industry and which also temporarily affected its daily production, JAY FM Radio Station,101.9 Jos , another fore-most brand in the electronic media immediately took advantage of the re-organization exercise by National Mirror Newspapers  to engage the skills and services of yours truly in order to enrich and shore up its already established local news contents ,a duty which I have  been discharging with all sense of diligence to the admiration of listeners and stakeholders alike

While in journalism practice, I have also been participating in union activities as well as held several responsibilities for the chapel including the 2014 Chapel Election, where I spearheaded the Credentials Committee that brought  MR AMINUYUSUF  IDEGU to office during his first tenure as Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel. In my quest to step up the service to the chapel, I further sought and contested for the office of the Secretary during the recent  Chapel election held on 10TH July,2017 .But in the wisdom of the distinguished Chapel members, they, through their votes, asked me to be patient and wait for the appropriate time, a verdict which I have since accepted in good faith

Shortly after the election, I was thereafter invited to a Kangaroo meeting ( as it later turned out) by the newly formed Chapel Executives at the NUJ State Secretariat in Jos. Among those present were four exco members including Mr Aminu Yusufu Idegu of the Nation Newspapers; Mr Josiah Buzun ,Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria,(FRCN);Mr Peter Amine, News Agency of Nigeria,(NAN) and Mr Andrew Ajijah, Premium Times Online while the rest stayed away. For more than ten  minutes , we cracked jokes and exchanged banters as colleagues before Mr Aminu ,in a sudden arrest by a feeling  of self importance, polluted the atmosphere  with his rather strange interrogatory statement: ‘’we invited you here to find out if you are still a member of the Correspondents Chapel since you have joined JAY FM RADIO STATION’’. Not knowing what was up their sleeves that warranted such a vexed outburst, my  response that I still remain a bona-fide member of the chapel coupled with my earlier explanation regarding the ongoing reorganization at National Mirror Newspaper did not make any meaning to Mr Aminu who insisted that he had the power to exterminate any member at any time. Shocked by  his assertion, the arguments and counter arguments that ensued were only brought under control after I drew their attention to Section  (G)Sub section (1)of the NUJ Constitution which deals with membership of the Chapel  as stated thus : ‘’A Chapel of the Union shall be formed in an establishment where there are ten (10) or more members. However, where there are less than ten (10) in an establishment, such members shall be free to form a joint Chapel and Where there is only one such establishment,members shall be free to join the Correspondents Chapel”

At the end, we   both   left the meeting with an   understanding and conclusion that whatever step or action the chapel exco might want to take on the issue must be guided by the constitution.

After the encounter, some chapel members   who were privy to their evil plot later informed me that the meeting was actually meant not only to formalize an already hatched plot to disenfranchise me during the September 7 election but  also to stop me from succeeding Mr Peter Amine,the declared winner for the position of the Secretary during the recent Chapel election who, I learnt, has resigned his position to enable him  seek for the same position at the ongoing state council polls.

And true to the rumour of Mr Aminu’s purported plot to wrongly  exclude me, when the lists of chapel members were eventually  displayed on the notice board of the council following their request by  the Credentials Committee under your chairmanship, my name was conspicuously missing, among others, in the name of petty politics. I find this as a deliberate mischief by those who do not mean well for the Chapel and therefore unacceptable.

The question I am asking is: at what point in time did I cease to be a member of the Chapel as, only a few weeks ago, I was made to pay an aggregate fee amounting to over N19,500 (including 2017 NUJ Practicing fee) before I was cleared to contest the chapel election for the position of Secretary ? If I am not a member of the chapel as claimed by Mr Aminu and his co-travelers, when did non-members start paying dues and contesting elective positions in the Correspondents Chapel?.Surely, the chapel is not a 419 association as Mr Aminu is working hard to portray it.

Again, assuming that I had won my election as Secretary of the chapel, would Mr Aminu have removed my name from the lists and tagged me as a non member? When has it become a crime for one to join a vibrant medium such as JAY FM 101.9 which from inception, has been at the fore-front to deepen the cause of journalism and service to humanity?  When has the location headquarters of one’s medium become a consideration for determination of NUJ membership? Why does Mr Aminu find it difficult to respect the constitution upon which he rode to office and which he also swore to uphold? Me-thinks, there is something fundamentally wrong somewhere because ,Mr Aminu can not claim to be innocent of harbouring a sinister motive when he singled out my name for exclusion while retaining other members who are known to have also taken their journalistic implements to other media farms for cultivation in to avoid rusting that may occur as a result of under-utilization.

But for how long shall members of the chapel continue to endure the excesses of an individual who has constantly shown himself   incapable of controlling his crude behaviour and insatiable love for lawlessness just for parochial and selfish interests?.

For how long shall Mr Aminu   continue  to embarrass and ridicule his own chapel in the comity of chapels by over-reaching himself in his quest to exercise raw powers and in the process, inflicting acts of violence against the NUJ constitution?.

Nevertheless, I am however   not totally surprised at the current happenings in the chapel because as the saying goes: “when standards are lowered, individuals determine what is good and bad at their own convenience” which explains why Mr Aminu’s tenure in the chapel   for the past three years is littered with regrettable bumps and avoidable actions   causing   the chapel great pains

The chapel members are yet to forget how for more than two years, Mr Aminu raped the constitution and held the chapel hostage when he shamelessly blocked every opportunity to replace a former member of the exco ,who resigned her position as Auditor of the chapel even when the constitution stipulates only 30 days window period within which to fill the vacuum. At last, his first   tenure ended without an Auditor in place.

Interestingly, the same person, Mr Pam Musa who was nominated to replace the former Chapel official  but who Mr Aminu vowed over his “ dead body” not to work with is today a duly elected member of the chapel. What was Mr Aminu afraid of by rejecting Mr Pam as Auditor of the chapel?.

Now that members of the chapel have overruled Mr Aminu’s unwholesome interests on the matter through the ballot box, Mr Pam  is challenged to immediately commence the discharge of the functions of his office as an Auditor so as to expose every hidden secrets that might have prompted Mr Aminu’s failed determination to continually  shield members from knowing  the true financial position of their Chapel  since he became the chairman of the chapel for  three consecutive years in violation of the NUJ constitution which clearly states that auditing of the chapel’s account shall be done at least twice a year.

When we thought that Mr Aminu had purged himself of undue acts of un constitutionality, he again unilaterally suspended a fellow Exco member in violation of several sections of the NUJ constitution which clearly forbids anyone from taking such a hasty action without following a laid down procedure in disciplining any erring member. Regrettably, after weeks of empty grandstanding and threats to  deal with anyone opposed to his illegality, it took the intervention of some elders and critical stakeholders before Mr Aminu could deflate his bulging ego and obvious ignorance of the Union’s constitution with the result that the so-called suspension of the affected member was eventually restored to his former position. Unfortunately, this happened during the recent Chapel election before the full glare of  NUJ delegates and other observers as they watched in utter amazement how Mr Aminu who ordinarily should know more than anyone else in matters of the Constitution shamelessly  ridiculed himself before his august visitors  in his desperation to excise naked power

Given the above scenario , Mr Aminu could be pardoned for his latest  jaundiced interpretation of the constitution  regarding my membership of the Chapel but he will do well to enroll into any available elementary school for legal tutelage at least, to enable him pass the litmus test already set for him by the NUJ constitution which requires that the current vacuum created in the Chapel following the said resignation of the former Secretary be filled within 30 days of his resignation.

No doubts, Correspondents Chapel used to be the envy of every other chapel in the state due to its remarkable vibrancy, priority of welfare for its members, unity of purpose, transparency  and respect for one another among others.

It is unfortunate that as I write to you, we no longer boast of any of these beautiful ideals that had defined our social relationships as a chapel in the past. Rather, within the past three years under the watch of Mr Aminu Idegu’s inept leadership, the chapel has witnessed a systemic and steady destruction of all the cherished trademarks that make it thick among the comity of chapels.

Instead of working to redeem the image of the chapel having pleaded to be given a second chance during the last election that returned him to the office, brigandage ,suffering by members due to  absence of economic empowerment  plans,  , threats of attack, secrecy, unbridled and barefaced nepotism and exclusionary tendencies, high-handedness ,hunting of perceived political opponents and needless rush to grab power through the back door have become familiar hallmarks of his less than two months old renewed mandate.

Today, under Mr Aminu’s leadership, no period in the history of Correspondents Chapel has members been so polarized along different lines. There is no accountability and transparency in the chapel. Where is transparency when members are permanently kept in the dark regarding the exact amount given to them during assignments or for whatever reason only for Mr Aminu   afterwards, through tactical withdrawal and proxy calculation, resort to giving members peanuts and hand outs as their own share of the loot.

So bad is the situation that It does not border him that Correspondents Chapel Congresses, any time there are organized, only evokes nothing but pity from observers who are usually alarmed by the near-complete empty seats in the hall starring an equally few available exco members in the face ; a constant reminder that only goes to reveal the extent of damage which Mr Amnu’s  uninspiring leadership has inflicted on the chapel for years.

Members have equally seen that the past one month of his fresh mandate has gone along way to confirm their fears that truly, Mr Aminu is just an opportunist Chairman who came without a vision and mission to lead the people aright. It is equally clear that there is no sense of urgency to begin to tackle the myriads of challenges facing members of his chapel. Rather, he has focused on how to deepen his pockets together with a few accomplices through a kangaroo inauguration and fund raising for the purchase of a bus for the chapel as if he and other members of the exco had not previously been inaugurated and sworn into office by a certified legal practitioner immediately they were elected into their second term in office or as if the purchase of a bus will rank the topmost priority of chapel members when their yearnings and aspirations are subjected to a Scale of Preference at this critical time.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all these charade, the office of the Secretary as the custodian of the Chapel Secretariat which should have acted as a wedge and stopped the chapel from drifting,  and assisted the chairman to refocus the chapel towards phenomenal and result –oriented direction, the former occupant of the office chose to look the other way in active connivance. I need not to state here that the critical situation which the Correspondents Chapel has found itself and the dire need for urgent intervention prompted yours truly  to contest for the office of the Secretary during the last Chapel election  and I am still  available any time  the Chapel requires my service in whatever capacity

Mr Chairman Sir, I do not wish to bore you further with the charade and the myriad of infractions going on in the Correspondent Chapel under Mr Aminu’s leadership but just  to plead with you to use your good office to ensure that I am  not disenfranchised by the Chapel’s leadership in the forthcoming NUJ election. I  also want to seize this opportunity to urge you to also use your good office and prevail on the  State Council to call Mr Aminu Idegu led Correspondents Chapel leadership to order. He should realize that Correspondent Chapel is not his personal dynasty. The association has been there before he became Chairman and will continue to exist when he leaves office. He must also realize that being the chairman of a chapel comes with a huge responsibility and  goes beyond drinking a local mixture using a local calabash or eating fried chicken and throwing OWAMBE party with a few created cabal, some of who as journalists, have never been to any assignment having been invited in their capacity as representative of a serious medium but only hide under the umbrella of Correspondents Chapel  or NUJ to pose and show- off while feeding fat at every opportunity at the expense of hardworking colleagues. It has become obvious that Mr Aminu has taken members for a ride for too long but we are certain that this game will not last long. The members are better informed, better convinced to take their destiny into their hands.

Moreover, If the allegation in some quarters  is true that the reason for fronting to plant Mr Peter Amine as State Council Secretary is to pave way for his rumoured ambition to become the next State Council Chairman come 2020, after sabotaging the initial resolve of his Chapel to produce the Chairman of the council in the current dispensation, then modern political correctness demands that Mr Aminu    starts building bridges and cultivating friendships and stop   laying ambush on the pathways of men and women of goodwill

Mr Chairman   Sir, I sincerely thank you for your audience and patience. It is my sincere prayer that as you and your team conduct the 2017 election for the council, God will surely grant  you a resounding success.

Yours Faithfully,

James Abraham,

State Correspondent (Plateau)

National Mirror Newspapers.







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