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Court hears Abuja NUJ election suit on June 6

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By Glory Abuh-Adejoh

The National Industrial Court of Nigeria, has fixed June 6 to mention an election dispute between registered trustees of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Donald Ugwu of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The suit has as a second defendant, Emmanuel Ogbeche, Chairman of the NUJ in the FCT.

The court fixed the date following an originating summons that was accompanied by a 29-paragraph affidavit and four exhibits in support of the originating summons filed by Ugwu’s counsel, Okorie Michael Okorie.

The suit NICN/ABJ/145/2022, to be mentioned before Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae, alleges that the cause of action emanated from the purported election of Ogbeche as the Chairman of the NUJ in the FCT was a violation of the constitution of the NUJ.

The claimant, an Assistant Editor-in-Chief of NAN, is therefore, praying the court to set aside the purported inauguration of Ogbeche as chairman by NUJ on Dec. 4, 2021.

He is also praying the court to declare that the second defendant was neither qualified to contest the said election, nor to become an officer of the union, which was a violation of the extant laws of the Union.

The claimant posited that he was the only duly qualified candidate for the office of chairman in the said poll, and urged the court to invoke the constitution and declare him duly elected.

The claimant, in addition, is urging the court to determine if, by Article 4(1)(a) and (b) of the NUJ constitution, the check-off dues of the second defendant were being deducted at source, paid, or remitted monthly by his employer, the Abuja Enquirer.

Ugwu is equally asking the court to also determine if by Articles 4(1)(a) and (b), 2 (a) and 6(7) (a), (b) and (c) the second defendant, not being in good financial standing, was legally qualified as a candidate for chairman or any other elective position of the Union.

The claimant is also praying the court to determine whether the screening and clearance of the second defendant by the credentials committee inaugurated by the first defendant contrary to the provisions of the constitution was not unlawful, unconstitutional, and void.

Ugwu is further asking the court to determine whether the constitution of the union in any of its provisions contemplated any form, way, and manner of payment of check-off dues by financial members other than the way and manner it prescribed.

He is asking the court to declare that the union violated its constitution in the Dec. 4, 2021, FCT Council election.

In addition to the declarative prayers Ugwu is seeking, he is also praying the court to grant an order to nullify the purported screening and clearance of Ogbeche.

The claimant is seeking another order disqualifying Ogbeche, an order nullifying the purported election, and an order setting aside his purported inauguration as chairman of the FCT NUJ council.

He is also seeking an order of the court for a perpetual injunction restraining Ogbeche from parading himself as the chairman of the FCT Council of the NUJ.

Ugwu, in his final prayer, is urging the court to declare him as the sole candidate qualified to contest the office of chairman, the winner, and an order directing the first defendant to immediately swear him into office as Chairman, FCT Council of NUJ. (NAN)(

Edited by Abiodun Esan/Maureen Atuonwu