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How Kwara NUJ Politics Almost Halt Sobi FM Chapel Capacity Building Training For Members



How Kwara NUJ Politics Almost Halt Sobi FM Chapel Capacity Building Training For Members

It is not my business to know whether the hall was used on that particular day unless it’s a political assembly

Ilorin, Kwara State– The one-day community journalism workshop organized by the Sobi FM Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), in collaboration with the Brain Builders Development Initiative, faced a potential setback due to political manoeuvring by the current executive of the Kwara NUJ chapter.

The workshop’s objective was to provide essential training for at least 100 members of the NUJ in Kwara benefitting and student journalists from Kwara Poly, KWASU and Usman Danfodio University.

Meanwhile, The training which was scheduled to hold initially at the NUJ press centre Ilorin was later changed to another venue SINCLAIR HOTEL due to the executive led by chairman Ahmed Lateef saying that the hall has been booked and paid for by another person for usage on the date.

Afrika Eyes correspondent learnt that the workshop, which was a first of its kind in the state council organized by any chapel in recent times, was, according to Sobi FM, borne out of the desire to build the capacity of journalists in climate reporting, debunking myths, and exploring opportunities.

Participants at the event were drawn across Chapels making up the state council of the NUJ.

However, it was surprising that on the day of the event March 7, 2024 no significant event took place at the NUJ press centre nor was there any information as to why the people that booked the hall failed to turn up.

A letter, sighted by Afrika Eyes, indicated that an official request for the customary usage of the hall was made on Friday, March 1st, by the Sobi FM Chapel through the union secretary, Tayo Ayanda and arrangements were in top gear for the event.

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However, on Monday evening March 4, 2024, the council secretary communicated back to the Sobi FM Chapel via its chairman Dare Akogun that the hall will not be available that day, because the council chairman informed the execo’s that the hall has been booked and paid for on the chosen date.

In a dilemma of either postponing the workshop or seek an alternative venue, the latter was the option considered which came at a price as participants were not given any refreshments, Afrika Eyes Correspondent later found out that the budgeted funds to cater for refreshments were used to secure another hall to host the event.

Our Correspondent gathered that the discovery that no event later took place at the press center that day generated side talks in hush tones from participants who expressed dismay as to why the state council will deny its members usage of a hall that is the collective property of registered members of the union for capacity development of same members which the executive swore an oath to protect their interest at all time.

It would be recalled that Dare Akogun contested the last NUJ election against the incumbent chairman losing narrowly with 13 votes three years ago and some participants described the action as dirty politics taken too far and the fear of the unknown by the state executives of the seemingly popularity of Dare Akogun in the council.

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A situation which some participants said is greatly unsettling the current chairman who is eyeing a second term in office in next council election scheduled for July this year despite the fact that Akogun has not yet declared his interest in participating in the election.

Speaking to our Correspondent after the event Dare Akogun expressed his gratitude to participants for their turnout at the workshop.

“Your presence and engagement during the event greatly contributed to its success and have underscored the collective commitment we share in addressing the critical issue of climate change through responsible journalism,” he said.

When asked about the reason for the last-minute change in the venue of the event, he said the change which was not planned posed a potential challenge, but the can-do spirit of surmounting any obstacles and not wanting to disappoint participants.

“We are well aware that the unexpected last-minute change in the venue from the NUJ Press Centre to SINCLAIR HOTEL posed a potential inconvenience.

“However, the unwavering commitment to professional development and dedication to the cause was evident as the turnout was massive, ensuring the workshop not only proceeded as planned but also thrived as a platform for learning and exchange.

“This speaks volumes about your resilience, adaptability, and passion for the noble craft of journalism,” he said.

Akogun said the turnout and zeal displayed by all attendees have been incredibly inspiring and have reinforced the importance of the collective endeavour to enhance the capacity of journalists in Kwara state especially members of the NUJ in addressing environmental issues.

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“At the Sobi FM Chapel, we recognize the indispensable role of journalists in keeping society informed and enlightened, and we are committed to supporting your professional growth.

“We pledge to never rest on our oars in our efforts to organize such educational and impactful workshops and training sessions year-long.

“It is our goal to ensure that members of the Kwara State Council of the NUJ are always in tune with the current trends in journalism worldwide and equipped with the knowledge and skills to excel in this dynamic field,” he promised.

When contacted about the issue, the Kwara NUJ chairman, Lateef Ahmed, stated that the hall had been reserved prior to the official request from the Sobi FM Chapel, and the payment had been made into the council’s account.

“We ensured they understand that the hall reservation has been settled unless they opt to postpone it. As members, they are entitled to partake in the union’s benefits, just like any other member.”

“It is not my business to know whether the hall was used on that particular day unless it’s a political assembly, which tends to attract widespread attention and occupancy.”

He said that the council had granted their previous request for the hall, and they have been utilizing it since then.

When asked about whether the request was declined due to the last NUJ election between him and Akogun, he dismissed it as mere political speculation from the public.

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