|Dr Qasim Akinreti
An Assistant Director News with Voice of Nigeria, Dr Qasim Akinreti has emerged the new Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Lagos Council.
In a fiercely contested election which lasted about ten hours, Dr Akinreti polled a total of 288 votes to defeat Mr Leye Ajayi of the News Agency of Nigeria, who garnered 272 votes.
For the position of Vice Chairman of the Lagos Council, Mrs Abiola Beckley of Daar Communications scored 282 votes to beat her challenger from the Vanguard newspapers- Mr Innocent Anaba, who recorded a total of 275 votes.
Other portfolios were not contested for as the officers emerged unopposed.
A defining moment
Dr Akinreti in an address shortly after being declared the winner, described the victory as a defining moment in the history of Lagos NUJ.
He appreciated elders of the profession who contributed immensely to the success of the election as he also commended the immediate past leadership of Lagos NUJ for its efforts in the last two terms of six years.
The VON’s Assistant Director News assured members that there would be no victimisation of any sort as he would run an all-inclusive administration that would give everyone a sense of belonging.
“Tonight is not a night of speeches, I thank the Almighty God for this day, I also thank the elders of this great profession and I commend the leaders at the national and state levels, especially the immediate past executives. I do not have monopoly of knowledge and I want to assert that we are all winners in this election. God willing, I will serve you assiduously as I have promised and I will open my arms to everyone because we all have a common goal, which is to move Lagos NUJ forward,” Dr Akinreti stressed.
Burying the hatchet
He also called on those with differences to bury the hatchet and come together as one big family.
“We might have offended ourselves in the course of our electioneering, I want us to put that behind us and move on,” he added.
Over two decades jinx
The immediate past Chairman, Mr Deji Elumoye affirmed that the emergence of Dr Akinreti broke a jinx of over 20 years as nobody from any federal government owned media outfit had occupied the seat for over two decades.
“In case you (present Executives) want to ask any question about what we have done in the last six years, my doors are open, even if I am out of the country, I will come back to answer you,” Mr Elumoye said.
The Vice President of NUJ, Southwest (B Zone), Mr Cosmos Oni, lauded the candidates and the electorates for comporting themselves responsibly despite the slight hiccups at the initial stage.
Oath of Office
Mr Oni who was the Chief Returning Officer of the election then administered the oath of office on the new Executives.
Speaking in the same vein, the National President of NUJ, Mr Waheed Odusile charged the newly sworn-in State Council Chairman to be the ‘father of all’ and unite all members.
“I welcome you to the club. You are the chairman now, you will begin to understand what it means to be a leader, you have nobody to blame for any of your shortcomings,” Mr Odusile hinted.
Biometrics has come to stay
Mr Odusile also reminded Nigerian journalists that the initiative of biometric registration and identity card had come to stay in the profession.
“Let me say it once again, biometrics has come stay. I urge you all to do the needful and ensure regular payment of your check-off dues,” he noted.
The NUJ President then enjoined all journalists in Lagos to join hands with the new Executives, to move the profession to an enviable height.