|HOW ERNEST CHINWO LED RIVERS STATE FEDERATED CORRESPONDENTS CHAPEL NUJ INTO CRISIS
HOW ERNEST CHINWO LED RIVERS STATE FEDERATED CORRESPONDENTS CHAPEL NUJ INTO CRISIS
GENESIS OF THE CRISIS
THISDAY Newspaper correspondent in Rivers state Ernest Chinwo who was immediate past Chairman of Federated Correspondents Chapel Nigerian Union journalists Rivers State Council is at the center of crisis raging the affairs of the association in Rivers state. Towncrier.ng reliably gathered that the Ikwerre Rivers state born graduate of International Relations Obafemi Awolowo University Ife started having problems when he first emerged as Chairman of Correspondents Chapel Rivers state in 2013 with the exit of Mr Terve Akerse who was elected for 3-years as Chairman of Correspondents Chapel but was transferred to Abuja by Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria-FRCN after serving for a period of one year in office. In accordance with the Constitution of Nigerian Union of Journalists a Bye election was conducted in which Ernest Chinwo of THISDAY Newspaper emerged as Chairman along with other key officials such as Azubuike Godfrey of THE VERBATIM Magazine, Mr Amaechi Okonkwo of Orient Newspaper, Mr John Amieyeofori of News Agency of Nigeria-NAN. Again, at the expiration of their administration the same officials re-emerged in 2015 in a keenly contested election against Chief Julius Ogba of Imo stateman Newspaper but with the resignation of John Amieyeofori and later replaced by Tony Etta Etim of THE UNION Newspapers was elected Financial Secretary and Efiong Akpan of THE PIONEER Newspapers emerged as Treasurer. Having completed the mandatory two terms as allowed by the NUJ constitution Ernest Chinwo still nursed the ambition of re-contesting for a 3rdterm in office which negates the provisions of The Constitution of Nigerian Union of Journalists that no member shall be elected for more than two terms of 3 years each total of 6-years. Since he took over the affairs of Rivers State Correspondents there has been no presentation of quarterly account in accordance with the Constitution of NUJ and the welfare of members went down as most of the members were denied access to News makers as a result of Ernest Chinwo’s tendency of selective agenda in attendance of News Conferences. He thus controls about 12 Correspondents out of 49 members while those who are opposed to Ernest Chinwo are more than 32 in number which covers the required two-third of the members as required by NUJ constitution.
On November 8th 2017 there was pronouncement for those who want to contest for any position to approach the Election Planning Committee led by Joseph Ezuma as Chairman, Mrs Amaka Agbu as Secretary and Mr Richard Nzemeke as election planning Committee members as the tenure of Ernest Chinwo ended on December 13, 2017 with an extension of 30 days as allowed by the constitution which expired on January 13th, 2018 officially. This shows that after January 13th, 2018 any chapel activity carried out by Ernest Chinwo was illegal.
Ernest Chinwo at the end of his tenure on January 13, 2018 did refuse to call for congress meeting for the fear that a motion would be moved to step down his expired Executive Committee. Events leading to the inglorious Thursday 25th of January, 2018 when Ernest Chinwo went and brought garrison of Police men and attempted to hold kangaroo Manifestoes prior to the purported election of Friday 26th of January 2018 ended in fiasco as both Ernest Chinwo and popular Chairmanship aspirant Mr Christopher Akpekwu Imbufe were invited by Mile One Diobu Division of Nigerian Police as all concerned were later asked to go home and keep the peace. But on Friday Ernest Chinwo went on to test his popularity as only 12 members out of 49 members turned up for his abortive election as two out of the 3-member electoral committee stayed away from the illegal election. Only Joseph Ezuma the Chairman of the Correspondent Electoral Committee turned up. And this led to the non conduction of election instead the Acting chairman of Rivers state Council Nigerian Union of Journalists Mrs Uche Agbam swore into office Ernest Chinwo as Chairman, Godfrey Azubuike as Vice Chairman, Amaechi Okonkwo as Secretary and Mrs Alice Onukwugha as Financial Secretary. This took place irrespective of the fact that Ernest Chinwo, Azubuike Godfrey, and Mrs Alice Onukwugha were served Court Notice for Hearing on Thursday 24th, 2018 inside the secretariat of Correspondent Chapel 47 Ikwerre Road Port Harcourt . Members of the Legacy team led by Mr Christopher Akpekwu Imbufe, Mrs Bunmi Durojaiye, Emeka Amaefula and Chijioke Nwankpa went to Rhythm 93.3Fm station Port Harcourt and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigerian-FRCN Treasure 98.5 Fm Port Harcourt and condemned in its entirety that itb was a sham that Ernest Chinwo never formed Quorum of two-third of 49- members which stands at 32.He only had about 12members who witnessed his failure in leadership. For more than 3-years of his second tenure in office Ernest Chinwo never rendered Quarterly Financial reports as demanded by the Constitution of NUJ.
WHY THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
The plan to disqualify Mr Christopher Imbufe contestant for Chairmanship, Mrs Bunmi Durojaiye contestant for Vice Chairmanship seat, Mr Chijioke Nwankpa contestant for Financial Secretary position was hatched allegedly by Ernest Chinwo with Acting officials of Rivers state Council of Nigerian Union of Journalists-NUJ who had nothing but supervisory role to play instead insisted in rescreening the aspirants requesting for the presentation of Certificates of contestants. The Congress of correspondents Chapel NUJ Rivers state Council had on November 8th, 2017 set up conditions for participation in the Chapels election of which Academic qualification was set aside and number of percentage for attendance also pegged at 50% which put into voice vote and affirmed to by all present at the congress meeting. So, it was surprising that with several correspondence between the 3-man Election Planning Committee the State Council of NUJ still never shifted ground and several appeals against the purported disqualification of 3-members of LEGACY TEAM 2018 never saw the light of the day as NUJ Abuja were said to have been the organ which finally disqualified the trio. Then it was absolutely correct for Mr Christopher Imbufe and four others which included Chief Julius Ogba from Imo Newspapers publishers of Nigerian Statesman, Mr Denis Naku of National Mirror Newspaper approached the court as Claimants and Applicants in the suit No. NICN/PHC/04/2018 against Mr Abdulwaheed Odusile President of Nigerian Union of Journalists Abuja, Alhaji Liman Shuabu National Secretary NUJ Abuja, Elder Eddie Egude National Vice President Zone ‘F’ NUJ Abuja. Miss Uche Agbam Acting Chairman NUJ Rivers state Council, Mr Anayo Onukwugha Acting Secretary NUJ Rivers state Council for themselves and on behalf of Rivers state Council, NUJ. Mr Joseph Ezuma For Himself and on behalf of Election Committee, and Correspondents Chapel NUJ Rivers state Council NUJ. Sir, Ernest Chinwo, Chief Godfrey Azubuike and Mrs. Alice Onukwugha are all Defendants/Respondents in the court case which hearing date has been fixed on Monday 12th of February, 2018 at National Industrial Court of Nigeria-NICN Port Harcourt Judicial division.
While members of the Correspondents Chapel were waiting for the HEARING date Rivers state Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists went ahead to suspend all the listed Claimants , including Mr. Iyalla Adaye of The Blue-Print Newspapers, Mr. Emeka Amaefula Bureau Chief of City People magazine, Mr. Richard Nzemeke of News Agency of Nigeria-NAN member election Committee, Mrs. Amaka Agbu of Daily Times Newspapers of Nigeria and Secretary election Committee and Mr. Philips Ezuma Correspondent THE NIGERIAN PILOT Newspaper and candidate for Secretary Correspondents Chapel. As the court case is being awaited, there exists great division among the 49 members of Correspondents Chapel as Ernest Chinwo is speculated to have the support of not more than 18 members while Mr. Christopher Imbufe has the support of 31 members.
ERNEST CHINWO’S GRUDGE AGAINST NON INDIGENES
While the altercations that took place on Thursday 25th of January 2018 was going on the embattled out-going Chairman Ernest Chinwo who was a serving Chairman of Federated Correspondents Chapel of Cross River state Council Nigerian Union of Journalists blatantly told Mr Christopher Imbufe to go to his own state and become Chairman that he who comes from Woji Community in Obio/Akpor LGA Rivers state must continue to be Chairman of Rivers state Correspondents as an Indigene of Rivers state even though he had served the mandatory 2nd term of 3-years each as allowed by the Constitution. Should he be elected again, Ernest Chinwo will be serving for more than 8-years above the constitutionally allowed maximum of 6-years for each member. Even at the state level Rivers state Council of NUJ indigenous members of the Union have been saying the same thing asking non indigenous members of the Correspondents Chapel NUJ to go to their Home states and contest election for an organization that is federal by the composition of its members who work for various National Newspapers and broadcast organizations across Nigeria. In the THANKSGIVING Church Service held on Sunday 28th 0f January, 2018 at Christ The King Catholic Church Sangana street Diobu Port Harcourt only 6-out of the 49 members attended another minus for Ernest Chinwo indicating that he lacks leadership quality and character to effectively mobilize men and materials for achieving optimum result in the management of the welfare of his members which has been at its lowest ebb since he assumed leadership of the Correspondents Chapel Rivers State 5-years ago. The members of the Legacy team 2018 had approached the National Industrial Court of Nigeria asking for several reliefs which include setting aside the purported election, Dissolution of the January 26th 2018 election and the quashing of the Suspension of the afore-mentioned members of the Legacy Team as journalists and payment of One Hundred Million Naira (N100m) as Individual and general damages incurred as a result of the Claimants disqualification from participating in the said election.