First and Foremost, let me congratulate the winners of elections at their various positions in persons of Comrade Soji Amosun of National Orientation Agency (NOA), as the new Chairman of the State Council, Comrade Kunle Olayeni of New Telegraph (Correspondent ), as Vice Chairman, Comrade Ayokunle Ewuoso of (Information), Comrade Abiodun Taiwo of Daily Times (Correspondent), as Assistant Secretary and the rest of the members of the Executives Council of the state NUJ, who took the mantle of leadership unopposed. Though, not that you are the best candidates to be emerged but the people voted you in to entrust their affairs on you and to test your ability, capability, forthrightness and prudence in handling the positions of authority, rather not to be seeing yourselves as best among all the contenders. And you should not see those who lost out in the elections as failure but among them are even better in educational background, intelligence quotient (IQ) and even what it all takes to steer the boat of NUJ Ogun State council.
And let me admonish those who lost in the elections, that winners do not quit and quitter do not win, they are kindhearted fellow members of the council as they did their best to win the race and assume the leadership of the council. Notwithstanding, when two are fighting for position or the others, it is one person will eventually emerge as the favourite candidate, indeed, I really salute their courage, compassionate, steadfastness and comradeship in accepting the defeat at the elections and congratulated the winners, in persons of Comrade Oluremi Olugbenro, Comrade Abiodun Ogundipe, Comrade Daud Olarenwaju, Comrade Goke Oyebade, Comrade Bisi Alarape and the rest of all, as you accept defeats and stretch the hands of comradeship to the winners too. I really doff my hat and congratulation to you all too!
By and large, the elections have come and gone, and while the winners and wailers were basking in euphoria and celebrating of their winnings, they should not also remember those who lost in the elections that they might not be happy as you are not because they incur any debit to run the race but the chance of offer his/her best to the council was dashed by losing in the elections. That’s more reasons why those being elected need to work assiduously in working in glove with those lost, so as to bring sanity and the lost glory of the council back. In fact, they really need to co-opt those who lost to them on the activities of the council, not to see themselves as a semi god but just ordinary member of the state council. It was just the will of God that put you people there, not by your qualifications, outstanding, egoism or your meritorious work.
Now, the hurdle ahead of the new Executive Members of the council. if you look vividly at the council, you will realize that they have deviate from the original mission, vision and objectives of establishing the council which was named as “Iwe Irohin,” it happened to be a place to be before as the meeting point of reputable Journalists and well known people in the society but now it has became of a point of convergence for prostitutes and drunkard, due to non-challant attitude, recklessness and love for money of our larders that direct the affairs of the council. The council become a dominance of illiterates, prostitutes, drunkards and the rest of all. The core Journalists threatened to abandon their council for aliens all because of illegality been perpetrated on daily basis at the secretariat. The NUJ members were not given their due respect from those nonentity that occupied the place.
It make me recall while “Iwe Irohin” was established in 1840s by the missionaries of the Presbyterian Church when they arrived Nigeria. They settled down in an area known as English Town in Calabar. Among these missionaries was Rev. Henry Townsend who later moved to Abeokuta in the 1850s. In Abeokuta, he established a printing press in 1854 which he used, five years later, to publish the first newspaper in Nigeria called “Iwe Irohin Fun Awon Ara Egba Ati Yoruba.”
The first edition of the newspaper came out on November 23, 1859. Later on, the newspaper was published fortnightly (every 15 days) and sold for 120 cowries (Ogofa Owo Eyo, equivalent to a penny). James Ede, who was trained by Henry Townsend, served as the Chief Printer of the newspaper. Iwe Irohin was highly patronized by the few literates of that time living in Egba and the entire Yoruba land. The circulation of the paper was around 3,000 as at that time. Rev. Henry Townsend’s main purpose of setting up the newspaper then was to make the new converts read and write. He himself said: “my objective is to get the people to read and to beget the habit of seeking information by reading.”
If you look at the motive behind the establishment of Iwe Irohin then, you will observe that our generation has trespassed this objective by turning the secretariat into a prostitution and drunkard’s den, all because of our greed and avarice. Iwe Irohin further published news of church activities, arrival and departure of religious dignitaries, ordinations and so on. It was later broadened its contents by adding stories about Abeokuta, cotton and coca statistics, and starting from 1960, the newspaper carried advertisement from local firms and government agencies. The newspaper was cautioned by the C.M.S authorities in 1863 for some of its contents that antagonized the colonial government, but this didn’t stop Townsend from running his newspaper.
Now, the core value of establishment the Iwe Irohin has already faded in jiffy and it is not over until it is all over. Moreover, the essence of journalism is just as simple as A, B, and C, if we can take the bull by the horn, thus is to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies and their governments. Yes. if we can admit that and act upon that, it will better for you and I. Likewise too, news is a major aspect of our job too, that is; communication that keeps us informed of the changing events, issues and character in the world outside. Once this was all our jobs it was entails, why not changing ourselves, our secretariat and many others for better. Though, it may be interesting or even entertaining, but foremost value of news (which is our job), is as utility to empower the informed. Now, these questions are demanding quick response from my colleagues. What are informing? Who are we informing? When, Where Why are we informing and How are we informing? As the adage says: Charity begins at home! Do we comport ourselves as well? Do we informed well as an informer? We this, let us come together as one entity to move council forward, it is our collective responsibility to move the council to the greater height.
Now to the NUJ state council of elders in Ogun state which comprises of former NUJ chairmen, directors, deputy directors and other former members of the executive council were too gentle to my taste. What are they doing to let the council backwardness among the comity of council in the federation? You people were the ones we are counted on, you have let the council shattered beyond a reasonable and repairable stage. Sirs/Mas, you have a lot to do in redeeming the image of the council; before the national level. Now that another sets of executive members have resumed office in jiffy to ran the helm of the affairs of the council, it is better for to reunite everybody in a fold by summon all and sundry, ask them their grievances and let them register it and for once settle it amicably and lets forge ahead for better future of the council. It is better to do it now or never.
Long Live NUJ Ogun state Council
Long Live Ogun state government
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria
Orunbon, a journalist and public affairs analyst, wrote in from Abeokuta, Ogun state.