7th September, 2011
There are strong indications that ethnicity, rather than competence and professionalism could determine the voting pattern in the forthcoming Lagos Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, election.
Unfolding events at the Lagos NUJ Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos over the weekend, observed that six aspirants vying for various positions have been cleared to contest the electon which is expected to take place on Saturday, 10 September, 2011.
Those cleared are Deji Elumoye of Thisday Newspaper for chairman, Ayodele Ilori of Radio Lagos for Financial Secretary, Okereke Sylvester (Champion) for Secretary and Julius Idowu Ogunleye for Internal Auditor.
These four are unopposed while Akerele Qasim (VON) and Jimoh Babatunde (Vanguard) who were also cleared are expected to lock horns for the position of Vice Chairman.
Further checks revealed that Odifa Alfred Adebayo (Lagos Information), Akinsola Ayodele (NAN) and Sanusi Olabamiji (Lagos Information) were disqualified from contesting the positions of Assistant Secretary, Financial Secretary and Vice Chairman, respectively in the forthcoming election.
With other aspirants coming in as unopposed, the battle line is now between Akinreti Quasim and Jimoh Babatunde, who are both contesting for the posotion of Vice Chairman of the Lagos NUJ.
However, if feelers emanating from the secretariat are anything to go by, then there is an unwritten plan to vote en masse for Jimoh Babatunde of Vanguard, who is aspiring to become the vice chairman.
But an ex-officio of the council, who spoke off record said that in terms of professionalism, competence and credibility, Qasim has an edge.
The ex-officio however said that the tide may not favour Qasim because he is from Ile-Ife, the same place as the incoming chairman.
To balance the ethnic equation, the powers that be think Babatunde should come in as vice charman even though Qasim has very intimidating credential in Lagos NUJ.
Speaking on phone with our reporter on Saturday, Qasim said he is aware of opposition to his ambition of becoming the next vice chairman of the Lagos NUJ.
He disclosed that he has spoken to quite a number of journalists during his campaign tour of media houses on the need to enthrone professionalism, credibility and accountability as opposed to ethincity.
â€œI still know that journalists in lagos have conscience and will therefore rise to the occasion during the election,â€ he said.