The national leadership of the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and the secretary to the Jigawa State government have been accused of instigating crisis among women journalists in the state.
The crisis erupted in the Jigawa State chapter of the association after the national leadership of NAWOJ overruled the decision of the 2023 credentials committee constituted to screen candidates for election.
The national secretariat has disqualified the current chairperson in Jigawa, Hauwa Ibrahim Ladan, over issues related to her certificate based on a petition by her opponent, Aisha Ilyasu Abubakar.
Aisha Ilyasu Abubakar was solely cleared to contest chairpersonship unopposed.
However, the report of the screening committee in the State seen by WikkiTimes noted that Hauwa Ibrahim Ladan was cleared to recontest while Aisha Iliyasu Abubakar was not cleared due to non-financial commitment to the association.
The 2023 electoral committee suspended the election as recommended by the NAWOJ parent association, the Nigeria Union of Journalists to resolve the crisis.
The Chairman of the Credentials Committee in Jigawa, Abdullahi Muktar, told WikkiTimes that there was no reason to go with the election when complaints and petitions were unresolved.
“The election was suspended due to issues of logistics and unresolved petitions that need to be investigated.
“We received a directive from the NUJ national secretariat that we should not conduct an election until they resolve some pending issues. We abide by the directive at the Committee level. Later on, I heard some people conducted the election,” he told WikkiTimes.
He further added that the national secretariat of NAWOJ erred in disqualifying a candidate based on a mere allegation that was not proven to be true.
A source familiar with the matter alleged that the Secretary to the Jigawa State Government, Alhaji Bala Ibrahim, interfered in the process to pave the way for one of the candidates against the incumbent chairperson seeking reelection.
“It was at the instruction of the SSG that a member of the electoral committee who had earlier resigned was coerced through her husband to ratify the election,” the source said.
According to the source, there is also a power struggle to control states prior to the NAWOJ 2023 convention billed for late November in Abuja.
Jigawa State NUJ Chairman, Garba Balangu, alleged that the national secretariat deliberately altered the findings of the State committee.
He said: “The committee conducted its work successfully and submitted the report to the national body. But the national body distorted everything and changed what the state committee’s report and said that the incumbent chair isn’t qualified.
“They alleged that her qualification is questionable. But the state committee investigated and sent report that the result is not questionable but they rejected it that election should hold without clearing her.”
Similarly, NAWOJ Vice President Zone A, Halima Musa, alleged that personal interests of some officers crept into the crisis in Jigawa. She said the election was null and void as she has the mandate to sign the certificate of return of new leaders in the zone and she did not sign any for Jigawa.
“There is interest in Jigawa because of certain interests of national body of NAWOJ.
“How can an incumbent be disqualified? What did our constitution say? They didn’t investigate. They just disqualified her against the recommendation of the state Credentials Committee.
“That so-called election is null and void because the electoral committee did not participate. So who conducted the election?
“As the VP of the zone, I did not sign the certificate of return. The status quo remains until issues are resolved and another election is held.”
However, according to Larai Musa, Jigawa State NUJ Secretary alleged that both NAWOJ and NUJ in Jigawa connived to disqualify Aisha Iliyasu who was eventually cleared by the national exco.
She denied conniving with the Secretary to the State Government to push for the election.
“The two factions have godfathers at the national level and they are using that to pursue their personal, selfish interests,” she said.
NAWOJ national secretary, Helen Udofia, told WikkiTmes that she needed time to obtain permission from the secretariat before she could talk about the lingering problem in Jigawa.
“The national secretariat of NAWOJ sent a letter to the Credentials Committee. So I don’t think it will be proper for me to speak now until I get directive from the national secretariat. You can call back later in the evening for details, she said.
However, she did not pick calls through her phone number in the evening when she was called.
Similarly, Jigawa SSG, Bala Ibrahim neither picked up calls put through his phone nor responded to messages sent to him