SWAN Election: Group Calls On NUJ To Save body From Destruction
Apparently dissatisfied with the recent witch-hunting of some members by the National President of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Mr Honour Sirawoo, over the forthcoming national elections into various offices of the Association, a group known as ” Concerned SWAN members” has petitioned the Nigeria Union of Journalists to quickly wade into the matter so as to save the Association from further disintegration, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report
In a petition signed on behalf of the members of the group by two former Secretaries-General of the Association, Andrew Abah and Olawale Alabi, and made available to Best Choice Sports, the group asked the Union President, Chris Isiguzo to urgently look at the “strange happenings” in the Association.
Concerned SWAN members, a group that has Senior Sports Journalists across various media houses, lamented the invitation of some SWAN members by the Department of State Security, DSS, over a petition written to them by Sirawoo without informing the NUJ where SWAN belongs to.
The group expressed fears that all these are happening because of the upcoming elections
“We have been worried by various events in the Association. We have observed that these events are inimical to the continued existence of the Association”.
The petition also cited the failure of the 2019 SWAN National Elections Guidelines to derive its powers from both the SWAN statutes and the NUJ Constitution, as spelt out at recently-held Congresses of Lagos, Edo and Kano chapters.
According to the petition, the group quoted the Congresses of these chapters on the issue of item number six of the 2019 National Elections Guidelines, which stripped SWANECO of the powers to screen voting delegates from the state chapters.
The group says this will give room for “manipulation by the incumbent”.
On the issue of candidates to the positions of President and Secretary-General to have served in any capacity at State level and must have been a member of National Executive Council, the group said this was also an alarming requirement.
“This is a contravention of the SWAN statues, as it twists Article 13B (1) into making a mockery of the process. A full member only needs to have served at state level to be eligible to contest”, the petition stated.
Other areas the group cited in their petition include the amount the SWANECO charges for collection of forms, which ranges from 70,000 to 150,000 naira, the inclusion in SWANECO of Gabriel Nwanetanya of Rivers State, who is the Chief of Staff to the SWAN National President, as well as the refusal of the Elections Organising Body to announce the venue and date of elections, even after two months into their tenure, the sudden resignation of the SWANECO Chairman, and the refusal of SWAN National Secretariat to issue Identity Cards to some members after payment.
“These are all sending a wrong signal to the future of the Association,” the group warned.
The ‘Concerned SWAN Members’ urged the NUJ to immediately dissolve the SWANECO as presently constituted, with an order for an immediate handover of all related documents to the NUJ Secretariat.
“NUJ should constitute a new electoral body with a mandate to conduct the 2019 National Elections within the next Six weeks in Abuja..”, it said.
In conclusion, the group appealed to the Mother Union not to fold its arms and watch what the founding fathers of the Association laboured hard to build to collapse.