By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Pandemonium broke out on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at the premises of the Osun State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Osogbo during the council’s re-run election over alleged attempt by the committee raised by the National Secretariat of the union to alter the list of the voters.
The fracas which saw the sudden suspension of the re-run poll started when the committee announced that Local Government Chapel has 167 members, contrary to the 81 names on the list already pasted.
This attempt- to amend the voters list- by the committee led by Assistant National Secretary, James Umem from Abuja resulted in quarrel and bickering among delegates as majority of members rejected the move by the electoral committee.
The National Secretariat of the union had ordered rerun of the February 11, 2016, having declared the election null and void.
The election which saw Biodun Olalere winner was contested by his rival, Dele Ajayi, who wrote petition against the declaration of Olalere as winner.
The decision of the National Secretariat to nullify the February 11 election, which most described as peaceful, credible and fair was in bad taste to some journalists in the state.
Meanwhile, when the national executives got to the state to conduct another election, the election witnessed reactions from Journalists who insisted that National Council should not interfere with the peace of the state.
The situation generated reactions as members started throwing chairs and engaging in banters. Some quarreled after exchanging hot altercations.
The re-run election ballot box was damaged by son angry members who accused the national secretariat of trying to rig the re-run poll for some disgruntled members of the union.
In a move to resolve the crisis, the electoral committee had an emergency closed-door meeting after which they came out with a decision to allow 81 people vote from Local Government Chapel while the delegate list of three chapels- Federal Information; Gold FM and Reality TV Chapels are to be reduced by 50 per cent.
The decision also generated reactions by Journalists who queried the basis for the decision to reduce delegate list of three out of eleven chapels.
However, one of the Journalists from the state radio station insisted that the National body should not conduct any election until the pending issues are resolved by the court.
He said the case in the court should be withdrawn and members suspended by the National body should be reinstated if they want to conduct another election.
There was commotion in the hall where the rerun election was slated before it was suspended with the intervention of security operatives.
Amid the melee, the National Vice President, Zone B, Mr. Cosmas Oni escaped death as he was accused of fueling crisis in the union. He was almost mobbed by some aggrieved journalists but to the timely intervention of security agents who hurriedly whisked himou of the Osun Press centre.
It would be recalled that the National Industrial Court had fixed May 23rd for hearing of the suit instituted by four concerned journalists in the state.
The four applicants have since been suspended by the National council for taking the union to the court.