– Demand sack of Information Commissioner.
September 4 (Newshour.com.ng) – Journalists in Imo state under the aegis of Guild of Imo Field Journalists (GIFJ), have passed vote of no confidence on Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma over his failure to interface with reporters of home base newspapers since he assumed office on 15th January,2023.
The Guild, in a press release signed by its Chairman, Comrade Kelechi Ugo, said the NUJ, until the coming on board of the Shared Prosperity government of Senator Hope Uzodinma, was enjoying a relative unity of purpose and oneness, regretting that the union in the State, known for its nobility, has now been factionalized and brewing in lingering crisis instituted by the said Information Commissioner. “Governor should with immediate effect sack the Commissioner for Information and Strategy,Mr. Declan Emelumba for failure to advise the Governor on the need to create room for journalists to ask questions concerning government policies.
The body which is an offshoot of NUJ in the State and has over 100 members lamented that the interference of the said Commissioner in the affairs of journalists in the state has led to the parent body (NUJ) producing two factional chairmen, same in Independent Newspapers Publishers Association (INPA) and the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) where there are two opposing chairpersons.
GIFJ further regrets that the crisis instituted by the Commissioner went as far as dividing the Correspondent Chapel and the Sports Writers Association of Nigerian (SWAN) where the said Commissioner practically selects from among these media groups whom to accord government recognition and benefits.
The release further said that it is only the Guild founded by the field reporters in the state, that has resisted the forces of division and has been operating in one spirit without any internal wrangling.
It reads, “whereas we, members of the Guild of Imo Field Journalists, are the ones that go to the field, nose for news, risk our lives to get our news even from remotest areas in the state, write same and submit to our editors. But when it comes to governments benefits, we would be discarded and thrown into the gutter by the Commissioner and his surrogates. This is height of neglect.
“It is also important to let the Governor know that the Guild, upon the inception of the 3R government, wrote the Information Commissioner, the Chief Press Secretary, the Special Adviser on Electronic Media and other relevant government offices which they all acknowledged our existence and contributions to the growth of the government. Unfortunately, the Commissioner decided to sit on our established relationship with the Governor and government of Imo state, making it almost impossible for him (Uzodinma) to acknowledge our existence.
“More annoying is the fact that the Commissioner selects from among Imo journalists whom to pick their calls and grant interview as the case may be. This has made our job very difficult because when you want to ascertain the truth about a certain situation, the Commissioner will hang the call on you once you are not in the list of his preferred journalists.
“Former Governor, Rochas Okorocha, in his time, quarterly organized compulsory media interface with Imo journalists and instructed that no one was discriminated against.
“On several occasions, the Governor has given out both cash and material gifts to Imo journalists and Emelumba would select from his list and share among them and pocket the rest.
“Up till today, we have not come to terms with the process and mode of selection of Imo journalists for the annual media award being organized by the government because of the crisis instituted by the Commissioner in Imo NUJ.
“We therefore urge the Governor to save his government from swinging into disrepute by the excesses of one man whose parochial interest has continued to taint the image of the government before the general public and international communities.”