Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo to collaborate more with journalists for coordination and management of information in the state.
Chairman of NLC in the State, Comrade Humphrey Emeka Nwafor made the call at the NUJ 2023 Veterans and Patrons’ Day ceremony to celebrate patrons and veteran journalists in the state.
The personalities installed as patrons of the union were Hon. Azubike Demian Cosmas Imoka (Okwuoto Agulu) CEO of ADC Imoka Farms and Agro Allied Industries Limited, makers of ADC Rice; MD/CEO of Ozisigbago media limited and Dr Jane Nkolika Ezeonu, FWACP Consultant Public Health Physician and Chairman Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Anambra State Branch.
Nwafor said NUJ and state government’s collaboration would not only facilitate growth and development of the state but enable teeming population within and outside the state to be better informed about happenings in the state.
“NUJ is known for its doggedness to see that society hears things as they are and it is the work of journalists that guides society into becoming what it wants,” he said.
Nwafor pledged NLC’s continued readiness to contribute its quota to the growth and advancement of journalism in the state.
Earlier in his Keynote address titled: “Nigeria Union Of Journalists; The Essence And Roles Of Patrons And Patroness In The Upliftment Of The Union,” Head, Mass Communication Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Cornelius Ukwueze said NUJ is populated by unsung heroes and heroines who impacted society in their careers as journalists.
Describing the patrons as influential personalities in their respective areas of specialization, Ukwueze challenged them to use their influence to protect journalists from suppression, oppression and discrimination in the state.
“Veterans journalists deserve to be celebrated because they survived all the odds and hazards of practicing journalism in the country.
“They should use their wealth of knowledge to nurture upcoming journalists for the growth and expansion of the profession. They should also use their power and influence to better the working conditions of those still active in the service,” he added.
On his part, State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Sir Joseph Uchendu commended NUJ for the initiative to celebrate its elders, urging journalists to see themselves as patrons of their union before anyone else.
He also enjoined them to always watch their brother’s back irrespective of situations and circumstances.
NUJ President, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, commended NUJ Anambra leadership for celebrating the veterans, describing it as most honourable thing to do by active players.
Isiguzo, represented by Zonal President, Comrade Emmanuel Ifesinachi, urged the members to give the union maximum support it needed to keep the union afloat in the state and at the national level.
Anambra NUJ Chairman, Comrade Odogwu Emeka Odogwu who described journalists as the salt of the nation and moral barometers of the society, said the event was to appreciate the veterans and elders for what they contributed to the profession and the society at large during their active days.
He said the veterans and patrons were selected after nominations and screenings through rigorous processes.
“Those celebrated were patrons, journalists who had retired from the profession, and those who are still practicing but have devoted their careers, for decades, to the journalism practice in the state, as well as leaders of the union in capacity of chairmen and Secretaries,” he noted.
In their reactions, some of the veterans, including Onowu Rex Okechukwu, pioneer NUJ Secretary; Peter Nwagu, former Director of films, Ministry of Information; and Mrs Joy Ileka of Vanguard newspaper and later Anambra Ministry of Information encouraged practicing journalists not to relent in their drive to serve the society.
Matriarch of Anambra NUJ, and Vice-Chancellor Academics, Paul University Awka, Prof Chinyere Okunna encouraged journalists to be ethical in all their dealings, while commending the selection of Hon Imoka and Dr Ezeonu for the Paton awards.
The awardees, while reacting to the awards, thanked NUJ for the honour given to them to become part of the union, promising to contribute their quotas to the growth and advancement of journalism in the state.
Chief Imoka described the honour as unique to him in all ramifications, promising to use his good offices to mobilize support for NUJ at all times, while Dr Ezeonu, wife of Prof Emeka Ezeonu of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka and former INEC REC ,Imo state, said more work awaited her for the union as a Patron.