An elder statesman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos State chapter, Mr Gbenga Fatile, has condemned what he described as undue interference in the affairs of legally backed Caretaker Committee of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Lagos chapter by the leadership of Lagos NUJ.
The Lagos NUJ Led Adeleye Ajayi had recently issued a statement that the Aaron Akerejola-led Lagos SWAN Caretaker Executive Committee are self-proclaimed and impostors, warning the general public not to deal with them, whereas the erstwhile Debo Oshundun-led executive is the one recognized by the NUJ.
Shedding more light on the situation of things in the eyes of the law, Elder Fatile, a senior director in the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), said Adeleye Ajayi is far away from telling the public the truth, adding that the authentic executive supposed to be operating from the Lagos SWAN Secretariat which is inside the National Stadium in Surulere Lagos.
The elder statesman, who is the Chairman of the Fourth Estate Professional Society, reasoned logically that “If you cannot suitably control the secretariat, then you’re not genuine. Lagos NUJ shouldn’t be misguided and misdirected.
“The legally backed SWAN as far as I am concerned is the one so recognised, and that’s the one that can take charge at the SWAN secretariat.
“As at today, the caretaker committee holds sway at the secretariat.
“If the other group has the wherewithal and is legally backed (duly registered by the CAC with ID cards), let the leadership show up at the secretariat (National Stadium) in Surulere.
“SWAN is a legitimate and legally registered body, independent of the NUJ. As far as I know, NUJ only admitted and parleyed with SWAN based on professional relationship.
“SWAN is legally registered with the CAC with constitution and separate rules guilding its operations. Just like in the past, NUJ used to be part of SWAN elections, but today SWAN says it’s standing on its own. NUJ says NO, harbouring few of SWAN members who are against the move by SWAN to conduct themselves independently away from NUJ.
“The grievances of the legally backed SWAN is that they don’t want NUJ to continue imposing leadership on them.
“Two National Delegates Conference were conducted in 2019, one by the NUJ backed SWAN in Abuja, the other one led by the SWAN National president, Honour Sirawo, which is duly registered by the CAC with ID cards and constitution in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“At the end, both tabled their cases and the law backed up the one duly registered and who are with certificate of registration and in possession of ID cards.
“Eventually, the duly recognised one led by Honour Sirawo, the SWAN President took over their secretariats across the country including Lagos and fully backed by all law enforcement agencies including the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigeria Police.
“Unfortunately, those in Lagos led by Debo Oshundun were chased away from the National Stadium, the secretariat of SWAN by the police and the DSS.
“As at today, Debo led group cannot step in to the National Stadium,because the police and other security agencies are looking for him on a case of impersonation because he doesn’t have SWAN ID and certificate of registration from the CAC, but the other group has all.
“They are saying they want to run their organization according to their constitution and not on NUJ premise any longer.
“Yet, NUJ Lagos is still hidden crucial facts bothering on integrity and image. As at today, the Lagos SWAN Caretaker Committee in Lagos has the protection of all the security agencies.
“Please kindly conduct your investigation on this.
“The caretaker committee has been moving into public offices introducing themselves with letters from the police, the DSS among others as the authentic SWAN.
“What I am saying here is if Debo group believed they are the authentic group, let them move in to the National Stadium, Surulere and claim their secretariat, if they have the wherewithal.”