Habbeb Hazzez

The President of Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Comrade Ahmed Aigbona, has restated the commitment and support of his National Executive Committee (NEC) for the decision of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to wade into the lingering leadership tussle in the Association.

Aigbona said fresh elections, as ordered for by the NUJ, would definitely address the leadership crisis which has lasted for close to two years now.

In a statement signed by the Association’s Secretary-General, Comrade Mike Oboh, Aigbona urged all sports writers who are members of NUJ across the 36 states of the federation and FCT to prepare for tne forthcoming National SWAN Elections as stated by the Union.

“Already, a seven-man committee has been set up by the NUJ —- three from NUJ and two each from the factional groups. This is a welcome development,” he said.

Citing some sections of SWAN Statutes, Aigbona noted that what makes an individual to become a Full Member of the Association is to first of all be a member of NUJ.

“So, a practising journalist who works in the Sports Unit or Desk of a media organisation is a Full Member, with all the accompanying rights to vote and be voted for.

“But an individual who is no longer a member of NUJ is automatically not a Full Member of SWAN.”

He said further that Article 7 Section A of SWAN’s Statutes stipulates that any Journalist with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) employed or earning his living as a reporter, researcher, editor, commentator, producer, photographer or cameraman in the sports section of a Newspaper, Magazine, News Agency, Periodical, Radio or Television station in Nigeria, shall be eligible to register as a full member.

“Therefore, it is clearly stated that full membership shall be lost through, either
voluntary resignation, expulsion, loss of membership of NUJ, movement to any other profession, death, among others as provided by the Statutes of SWAN,” Aigbona said.

He noted that it was important to point this out in view of ignorant claims by a group that NUJ was founded as a Trade Union affiliated to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) years after SWAN’s formation in 1964.

“This is an attempt by these desperate elements to distort facts,” the SWAN President said.

“It is on this note that it becomes imperrative to once again set the records straight, that SWAN was founded in 1964 as a convergence of professional practitioners (Journalists) who are members of NUJ,” Aigbona explained.

He explained further that NUJ was founded in 1955 to regulate the professional conduct of its members and after being recognised by the Nigerian government and its Constitution.

“Meanwhile, in 1962, the Nigerian Guild of Edtors was formed, while in 1984, the Association of Community News Papers Publishers of Nigeria (ACNPN) was founded.

“Also, in 1989, the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) was also established, while SWAN was founded on February 1, 1964, and all became affiliates of NUJ.

“This is contrary to a Press Statement released by one group of confused elements that SWAN was founded before NUJ.

“This set of elements are only doing so to mislead the public just for personal interests,” Aigbona said.