The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) is a professional organisation that represents journalists and media practitioners in Nigeria. It was established with the aim of promoting professionalism, safeguarding the rights and welfare of journalists, and defending press freedom in the country.
The union was formed on March 15, 1955, in Lagos, Nigeria. It was initially known as the Nigeria Union of Pressmen and was established as a professional body to unite journalists and protect their interests.
At inception, the NUJ focused on addressing the challenges faced by journalists in Nigeria, including poor working conditions, low wages, and lack of job security. The union also aimed to promote ethical journalism practices and professional standards among its members.
The NUJ over the years has witnessed significant growth and development in membership and influence. It expanded its presence across Nigeria, establishing state councils and branches in different regions of the country. The union also became a member of international organisations such as the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ).
In the same vein, the Bauchi state council of the NUJ has achieved a lot in core values and the ideals in the formation of the union under the leadership of the union in state.
In furtherance of discharging its functions, the state working committee at its congress meeting which held on the 17th May 2023 at council secretariat in Bauchi a lot of issues were discussed. The included the forthcoming election of NUJ in the state slated to hold this year.
The relevance of the above is underscored by the desire of SWC to lay a solid foundation for seamless transition of power by strictly adhering to the 2023 NUJ amended constitution.
Constitutional amendments are typically undertaken by organisations to address emerging challenges, update governance structures, or reflect changing circumstances. Amendments may involve changes to the organisation’s objectives, membership criteria, leadership positions, decision-making processes, and any other relevant provisions.
Evidently, to enhance professionalism and attain greater heights for practicing journalists in Nigeria, based on the current reviewed constitution of the union, instead of a National Diploma (ND) the minimum entry qualification for journalism practice in Nigeria is now first degree and higher national diploma or its equivalent.
Also, the NUJ at its special delegate conference session in Kano expunged the members of staff of ministry of information, National Orientation Agency (NOA) as non-practicing journalists henceforth from being accorded the union’s membership.
The NUJ 2023 amended constitution states that local government public relations officers should no longer be handed the membership status.
Moreover on the issue of Bauchi State Council of the NUJ’s forthcoming election, the state working committee has been in the process with left footing with little or no compliance with the amended constitution. For instance, the law enunciates that, the credentials committee at the state council level shall be nominated by the state congress subject to the approval of national secretariat.
In that regard, in the last congress meeting held at the NUJ secretariat Bauchi, the SWC announced the names of the electoral committee without seeking approval of the congress. Despite drawing the attention of the chairman by some concerned members he followed mob action to adopt it.
As matter of utmost urgency, the national working committee under the leadership of Chief Chris Isiguzo should intervene with a view to providing a level playing ground and mitigate any act that could jeopardise the reputation of the union from novices and self centered people who want to actualise their personal ambition.
Garba Adamu Gwangwangwan,
Bauchi, Bauchi state