Eight out of 11 outgoing executive members of Lagos State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Wednesday threw their weights behind Mr Adeleye Ajayi’s ambition for the chairmanship position.
Ajayi, a Deputy Editor-in-Chief with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and former National Financial Secretary of the NUJ, will slog it out with incumbent Chairman, Dr Qasim Akinreti, in the Sept. 29 election.
NAN reports that the outgoing executive members declared their support for Ajayi at the flag off of his campaign held at NAN Media Centre, Iganmu, Lagos.
Among Lagos NUJ executives who declared their support for Ajayi at the event were Mrs Abiola Beckley (Vice- Chairman), Alfred Odifa (Secretary), Adesola Ekine (NAWOJ Chairperson) and Debo Oshundun (SWAN Chairman).
Other NUJ State Exco members who supported Ajayi were Iyabo Ogunjuyigbe (Treasurer), Phillip Nwosu (Assistant Secretary) and Innocent Anaba (ex-officio member).
Speaking at the event, Beckley, Vice Chairman of the council, commended NAN Staff for their support.
Beckley said: “I am here to declare my support to one and only Leye Ajayi.
“There is no integrity in the current leadership of the Lagos Council of NUJ.”
Beckley, a staff of Daar Communications Plc who is also seeking a second term, said that her chapel would also support Ajayi’s aspiration.
Also speaking, Odifa, Lagos NUJ Secretary, said that God had ordained Ajayi to steer the affairs of the union and that “this success story has begun”.
Odifa said that if eight of the 11-member Lagos NUJ executive were not supporting the re-election bid of the incumbent, it had spoken loudly of the quality of the present leadership.
Ekine, another exco member and Lagos State Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), assured Ajayi of the support of all female journalists in the state.
“I am telling you today, in the presence of NAN Staff that we are solidly behind you. This is the way,” Ekine said.
Also speaking, Nwosu, the Assistant Secretary, expressed confidence that Ajayi would make maximum impact in bringing the union back on track by providing needed leadership and governance.
Nwosu said: “We are here to support someone we believe can steer the ship of the Lagos NUJ and lead us to good governance and prosperity.
“We have unjustly denied our union the leadership it deserves by not supporting Ajayi in 2017 elections.
“Everything the current chairman does is against integrity. I have discovered we made a great mistake in 2017.
“I am here to support a candidate that I believe will lead Lagos NUJ aright. A vote for Leye Ajayi is a vote for good leadership in Lagos NUJ.
“I believe in a leadership that is all-encompassing not a sectional leadership.”
Also speaking, Mrs Iyabo Ogunjuyigbe, the Treasurer of the council, said there was no integrity and transparency in the leadership of the outgoing executive.
Ogunjuyigbe said: “I hate when leaders tell lies and deceive people. When we talk about integrity, we should live the life. I am appealing to you all to stand with Leye Ajayi.”
Mr Innocent Anaba, an Ex-Officio from the Vanguard newspaper, expressed confidence that the NAN Editor would deliver and take the union higher.
Debo Oshundun, another exco member and Chairman, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), said that Ajayi would not disappoint the members of the fourth estate of the realm.
Mr Gbenga Fatile, Director of News, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), said that the incumbent chairman promised to serve a single-term.
“There is a huge difference. Ajayi is a listener. He has served at the national and state level of NUJ,” Fatile said.
Mr Adewale Akodu, Chairman, Lagos State Ministry of Information NUJ Chapel, said that the union needed a listening leader who would bring everybody together and lead with real integrity and sincerity.
Akodu said: “We need to look for a leader who is mature enough to provide the leadership we need and unite us.”
Unveiling the candidate, Mrs Adenike Sodipo, Director-General of Adeleye Ajayi Campaign Organization, said she had known Ajayi for 36 years and could vouch for his integrity and straight-forwardness.
Sodipo said: “If you have an 11-man team and eight of them are not with you, check yourself.
“We need a leader that is truly a man of integrity and truth. Adeleye Ajayi knows his onions and he will not fail.”
In his address, Ajayi promised to bring Lagos NUJ back on track by operating an open door policy that would elevate collective responsibility with high sense of integrity and transparency.
“I am a transparent man and a listener. I assure you all that I will never disappoint you if given the mandate,” the NAN Editor said.
Reeling out his agenda, Ajayi said that he would work on members’ welfare, resolve Mowe/Ofada Pen Jewel Estate Project and all pending projects, ensure accountability and partnership, ethics and professionalism in the union.
Adeleye Ajayi, being endorsed by some elders in Lagos NUJ Council
Presenting Ajayi at the event, Mr Silas Nwoha, Head of Editorial and Acting Head of NAN Lagos Operations, said: “It is a personal challenge to me to make sure Leye Ajayi is delivered as the Lagos NUJ chairman.
“In him, we see humility, doggedness and simplicity. I have been with Ajayi as long as I have been in NAN. We have agreed in one accord that Ajayi is our candidate.”
NAN reports that the event had many senior journalists and other loyalists of Ajayi in attendance.