Crisis Hits Photo Journalists Association As Factional Chairmen Emerge From Two Elections
Crisis has hit the rank and file of the Photo Journalists Association of Nigeria (PJAN) which has led to the group breaking into factions, reports The Gazelle News.com.
One faction is led by the Photo Editor of This Day newspaper, Abiodun Ajala while the other faction is led by Kolawole Olasupo, a former staff of This Day but now an aide of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The bone of contention is the office of the Chairman of the association being contested by the aforementioned factional leaders.
On Saturday, 29 August, 2020, two elections were held. The Ajala led group held its election at temporary Lagos NUJ secretariat inside the complex of Radio Lagos while members of the Kolawole Olasupo group held theirs at the NUJ secretariat at Alausa currently undergoing rehabilitation.
The Gazelle News.com reports that one of the major causes of the crisis is the candidacy of Olasupo. He was alleged to have resigned his appointment with This Day newspaper to take up appointment with Sanwo-Olu.
“He is without any chapel hence he is not even qualified to contest,” one of the photo journalists informed this medium.
Another major bone of contention was the decision of the Electoral Committee’s decision to disqualify virtually all the candidates put forward by the Ajala group.
The Electoral Committee was reported to have changed the rules about one week before the election which led to the disqualification of virtually all members of the Ajala group.
“Prior to the commencement of campaign, the Electoral Committee put forward some criteria met by all the contestants which led to them purchasing the nomination forms.
“It was so surprising that the same Electoral Committee will now come back changed the rules at the last stage and disqualifying candidates,” another PJAN member told The Gazelle News.com.
However, when The Gazelle News.com reached out to the man at the center of the crisis, Kolawole Olasupo, he debunked all allegations.
He explained that he never resigned from This Day newspaper. “I’m on Leave of Absence from This Day hence I remain a staff of the newspaper. I’ve not resigned from the newspaper,” he told The Gazelle News.com.
Olasupo also explained that it was Ajala he first informed when he decided to run for the Chairmanship seat of Plan. “Being my editor, he was the first person I informed of my intention to run and he gave me his blessings. When I collected my nomination form, I infomed him. All this while, he did not inform me of his intention to run. So it was a surprise when he told me he is running. I didn’t stop him from running but I vowed not to step down for him,” he said.
Olasupo said the Electoral rules guiding the election were clearly spelt out. “The Electoral Committee informed all aspirants that the NUJ constitution will be applied and the major qualifications for election are: regular attendance at congress and prompt payment of dues.
“It will interest you to note that Ajala only attended four congress meetings out of 36 and only paid a cumulative of three years annual due when he decided to contest. He was disqualified by the Electoral Committee because of this,” Olasupo said.
He stated further that he remain the duly elected and authentic chairman of PJAN. “I was sworn-in by officials of NUJ led by the Chairman, Dr Qasim Akinreti, which is the legal practice in our constitution. This is a confirmation of my election as the Chairman of PJAN,” he said.
Observers believe that the crisis should not be allowed to fester particularly with the state NUJ election coming very soon.
However, the two warring factions are not ready to sheath their swords. Who laughs last? Only time will tell.