BEING AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY COMRADE AMOS ETUK, CHAIRMAN, AKWA IBOM STATE COUNCIL OF THE NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALISTS DURING THE STATE CONGRESS ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2020
I have the greatest joy to welcome you to this first Congress of our great Union after the lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. I am happy that God has preserved us and will continue to preserve us.
The pandemic has become more intractable than earlier predicted, leading to what people now see as the new normal in all areas of our lives. I urge you to keep observing the prescribed health protocols as enumerated by the NCDC. We shall continue to take responsibility for our individual safety and pray that one day the world will be free from this ugly situation.
Distinguished colleagues, you will recall that this administration came into being on August 2, 2019, when you all in one accord decided to thrust the responsibility of leading this great Union in Akwa Ibom State on my humble shoulders.
I will always keep in mind that I may not be the best; I may not be the most qualified, but you decided that it has to be me and the rest of the wonderful professionals you brought together to constitute this wonderful State Working Committee of our Union. We are indeed a family, united with a common purpose of service delivery. Thank you all and may God keep blessing you and our Union.
I sincerely thank God for the crop of very selfless and dedicated members of the SWC and State Executive Committee. I have enjoyed one year of seamless administration, where members see themselves as members of one family; where in unity of purpose we have together strived to ensure that we build a Union that we would all be proud of.
I thank you all, SWC and SEC members, for this service you have continued to render without counting costs. God bless you all.
It has been an exciting one year of learning; one year of keeping faith in our collective abilities to excel; one year of building together in love and friendship; one year of enthroning an enduring legacy of ethical compliance through asserting love for our profession.
The journey has not been easy, but when I look back at those following us with zest and passion, the burden suddenly gets lighter and the journey becomes more pleasurable. I will proceed to give only but brief account of this one year of stewardship.
While we were seeking your mandate in 2019, we promised to make the issue of welfare of members a cardinal objective of our administration.
I must confess that we met an existing welfare instrument that gave us the framework on which to get started, and we hit the ground running.
Within the period under review, I report that we lost four members. We made good our commitments to the families of these members, with each receiving the amounts stipulated on our welfare document. We also ensured that bereaved members received our support in cash as our contribution to cushioning the effect of their bereavements.
TRAINING AND RE-TRAINING
We promised to stick with only professionally qualified members so as to ensure that those who bring shame and disgrace on our professional practice are shut out of our Union. We have continued to uphold that promise.
We have followed up by instituting a series of professional trainings for members to keep abreast of the ever changing professional landscape of Journalism in a fast moving world.
We, in collaboration with Next Edition Publications and Policy Alert, hosted a two-day seminar on engaging political players in a security tensed atmosphere. This seminar brought respected journalism professionals and revered media veterans from across the country to Uyo.
At the Chapel level, Correspondents’ Chapel and State Information Chapels also organized training programmes, which were also made available to interested members of the Union. Our Press Week for 2019 was also a platform we consciously used to further train our members.
ENGAGEMENT WITH POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IN THE STATE
We are happy to report that our members have conducted themselves in a most creditable manner in their reportage. We must continue to project our profession in the most positive light through strict adherence to ethical reportage and professional presentation and treatment of news.
We must use this opportunity to thank the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for his open and accessible policy towards the Union.
The NUJ wishes Comrade Ini Ememobong huge success in his new appointment, even as we pledge our total support to him in his new Office.
WORSHIP IN THE UNION
I must pause here to thank the Chairman of that Ika Thanksgiving Service for the success that attended that event. Comrade Inimfon Silas, the Union extends hearty congratulations to you and your team for that massive mobilization and smooth conduct of the service.
The State Council also had a couple of Solemn Assemblies and we thank the Chaplaincy for the services. We also thank them immensely for the last December carol service, where awards and prizes were given to Chapel choirs.
I want to assure all of us that our commitment shall be redoubled in this second year. We shall go the extra miles to source funds for the completion of the projects, including creative means of attracting investors on PPP arrangements to ensure that no uncompleted project is seen within our premises.
We shall continue to deepen government journalists’ relationship and expand the frontiers of development –minded reportage in the State.
We shall reinvigorate our training programmes and make the major move of international exposure through training.
We shall constitute our 2020 Press Week Committee, New Year Thanksgiving Committee and look forward to yet another entertaining and spiritually fulfilling night during our Christmas Night rendition. I can assure you we will take our 2020 Press Week Celebration to the centre stage of national limelight.
Distinguished colleagues, we are still counting on your support this second year to serve you better. We fully understand the role unity plays in every organization and that is why we continue to plead with all our members not to sit on the fence.
If you have any misgiving on any area of our governance, including governance style, please do not hesitate to call our attention to any issue of your concern. We shall listen, because we serve better when we listen to learn and understand. We in the SWC have never claimed to know it all and that is why we keep coming to tap from our members.
We urge you all to keep participating in committee activities as that is a leadership training ground that we have made available to all our members.