I feel it is high time that Nigerian journalists should add our voice as one and checkmate this nonsensical idea of taking over the Edo NUJ Secretariat premises by the Edo State Government led by Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki.
In the Press Statement issued by Chris Osa Nehikhare, his Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, he denied that the governor had any interest in the property, he hammered on the issue of the government not interested in destroying the Secretariat building which is not what is in contention. The land on which the Secretariat is built from inner sources in government is what the government is actually interested in.
During the emergency meeting held on the issue at the Conference Room of the Secretariat, the Commissioner still insisted that the governor have no intention of demolishing the NUJ Secretariat. All efforts to get him to talk about the government interest in acquiring the property was stylishly evaded.
Who doesn’t know that he who owns the land owns the property therein and as such can do whatever pleases him with such a property. Of course, the journalists were not fooled. Now we hear that there are plans to relocate the Journalists to the State Secretariat Complex as a make weight for the acquisition of the property.
And this is coming up barely a week after the end of the National Executive Conference(NEC) which the Edo State Council hosted and which I heard Obaseki sponsored.
One begin to wonder if actually he did the sponsorship as a bait to get a soft landing when the issue of acquisition of NUJ land crops up. Governor Obaseki must be informed that he is not the first person in history to sponsor NUJ programmes or media events.
This is recorded as the first time ever that a state government will sponsor a media event and barely a week after lay claim to ownership of the journalists property. So absurd.
Also in history it is known that state governments are known to relocate NUJ Secretariat from obscure nondescript surroundings to choice area of the metropolis acting on complaints from journalists that they desire a better surrounding. As we talk now the secretariat of the Edo State Council of the NUJ ranks among the least in beauty and facilities among its contemporaries in the South South if not in the country. If not for the yeoman job of the administration of Comrade Festus Alenkhe which under a year in office has been able to give the secretariat complex a touch of beauty the situation would have been worse.
This is a land that was given to the Council by the revered Oba of Benin as at that time, Oba Akenzua 11 over 50 years ago. Obaseki should remember the caution he was given by the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare 11, N’Ogidigan, when he paid a visit to the Benin Palace that he should govern in such a way that his legacies will become subject of discussion when he leaves office after his tenure of at most eight years.
This is a war too many for Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki. His team members should be able to call him to order. As they say in local parlance, ‘na small shit they spoil yansh.’
He has fought virtually everybody of note across the country because he is the Governor of Edo State for eight years. And this is somebody that allegedly worked pro-bono for the state for the eight years that his predecessor, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole governed.