By Omotayo Ayanda
Golden Jubilee in the life of Kwara State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) marks significant milestones that certainly need to be celebrated. It’s a proud moment for all of us to reach 50 years of our journey and to showcase our achievements, as well as past and current programmes and activities that sought to bring out the best in our Union.
It is needless to mention that we all are having an emotional attachment with the prestigious body known as Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). The anniversary should make us to review, consult and then re-set our mission priorities for the next generation. It should be about appreciating the past, celebrating the present and inspiring the future.
During this long journey, we have achieved a lot. We have lost many of our vibrant leaders who have dedicated their entire lives for the cause of the profession and the state council. This is the right time to remember their sacrifice and to rededicate ourselves to fulfill the cherished dream of our predecessors.
Kwara NUJ at 50 is a reminder that the Council Secretariat has always been a second home to many – a place that stays in the heart of all members, veterans, elders, leaders and all working journalists. We are a family who stays united and we all aim to work together harmoniously. Our strong relations, past and present symbolizes unity and wholeness.
God has blessed and led this Council while it celebrated its unity and services through all these years. We have the chance to feel the richness of the council and sitting together to debate the mission priorities for the future.
The need to share our challenges and the difficulties we are facing. Likewise, sharing our joys and our blessings. So, we can come together to talk about these joys and these challenges and take vital decisions for the greatness of our Union.
No doubt, the Kwara NUJ has undergone number of challenges that have actually undermined the efficacy of the Union in the state as instrument of social transformation of the society.
Trade unions have grown in relevance over the years especially in the light of the belief that a healthy and independent labour movement is essential to democracy. Also, there is a growing international recognition of the right to freely associate in unions and to engage in collective bargaining as a fundamental human right. Whenever this is ignored, industrial relations tend to be strained, ending up in industrial conflict.
Lack of concerted efforts on the part of leadership and members is one of the major challenges faced by the Union since its establishment in 1971. Unfortunately, most of the leaders that emerged do not understand properly the issues and workings of the Union. They are not well educated and are not skillful in the techniques and art of trade unionism and as such lack the expertise to leader the council. This has led to the diminishing and disappointing role of the NUJ as a trade union in state.
Therefore, leaders must have a good sense of human relations and adopt approaches that stimulate, motivate, encourage and recognize members in order to get key performance results and promote members’ interest. Unwillingness of leaders to acknowledge basic constitutional requirements such as respect for individual rights and to be accountable to members has also been major challenge faced by the union.
Tribalism and Nepotism has become the worst plague that is bedeviling the council. Most important views are looked upon from tribal or ethnic implication and not in the interest of members. This plague affects almost the whole parts of the council’s operations including election of members. Today, this had hindered the union effectiveness in the state. Factionalism undermines the performance of the union in Kwara State as instruments of promoting members interest. The existence of small groups within the large ones that oppose some of the belief and activities of the council. Sometimes, this internal division among members may erupt due to poor leadership and other selfish interest of members. This had led to some members of the council abandoning their collective struggle.
Poor attendance at meetings is another serious challenge in Kwara Council. The union as a democratic organization cannot achieve the desired objectives when meetings are attended by small fraction of the membership. Also, the few that attend find it hard to take implementable and effective decisions. It is unfortunate that some of the members find it comfortable not attending congresses and cry fowl of being left behind in participating in policy debates and election of the union leaders.
In order to strengthen the body, leaders should ensure the education of members to remove ignorance and apathetic attitude. This will help them to be well-formed and conscious of their rights. Members must shun all social vices that can tarnish the image of the council such as corruption, bribery, tribalism and nepotism, e.t.c.
Today, as we mark our golden jubilee, we must reflect on the commitment that has been made and kept for so many years. The golden jubilee celebration should be a time for reflection and celebration, and a time for gratefulness, gratefulness not only for ourselves but also for our great council.