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Soludo Is Not Media Friendly, Hates Journalists : Anambra NUJ Chairman ‘Odogwu’ Reveals

Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Anambra State. Dr Odogwu Emeka Odogwu says Governor Chukwuma Soludu has not been supportive to the media.

Dr. Odugwu who is a lecturer in the department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka while speaking in an interview recently stated that  NUJ have completely lacked government patronage. 

“In as much as we have friends in government, like the Commissioner for Information, Paul Nwosu, the Chief Press Secretary, Christian Aburime, Don Onyenji, Ify Obinabo, and so many others, but they are handicapped to assist us because it is when they are given approvals to support us that they would support. 

“Governor Soludo, in over a year in office, has not deemed it fit to interact with journalists in Anambra State, but he interacts with every other pressure group in the state and country. 

“He did one year in office, invited everyone across Nigeria but no formal invitation to Journalists in Anambra. I may be wrong but my men called severally and I said nobody told me anything. 

“Journalists were the agenda setters and the pace setters who will inform him about what is happening in the society, especially areas where he has no knowledge of and where he needs to take a decisive stand. Like ,this one youth, two skills fraud ongoing, what does he know happening but, we know how it’s been sabotaged with trusted people in government compiling just names to pay people who did nothing just to share the dividends into two equals after payment. 

“I saw and heard rubbish when they shared N10,000 each to the youths. Let me leave it at this. So many things going wrong under his nose ,yet he hates journalists with passion or so, I think.

“He has not been of any help. NUJ in other States enjoy subventions and have their secretariats built and secured by the state government. But here nothing like that exists. Even when we applied for training, he threw it inside the gutter. We applied for subvention and if you read the reply, you shall ask if the letter was meant for a journalists body , but we stomached it.

“Across the Federation, journalists in various states were appointed into positions of authority and Councils assisted grately like in Kano,

Ganduje built a multi-milllion plaza for NUJ as well as a press conference center and Plateau State Governor did same in different style. Edo state government and Delta State government dis wonders too and across the Federation it’s wins for NUJ, yet our Governor is the most exposed among them, but could not even see us as friends.

” His first move in journalists direction was to mute closure of National Light Newspapers and sack journalists. Preposterous decision. He employs thousands of other professionals but journalists working with National Light should be rendered jobless and useless.

“So far, I’m not happy that he is not carrying the journalists along. Even the journalists working in his office who are called Press Corps were not carried along allegedly. He is acting as if he is not interested in journalists instead he is happy dealing with his group called Soludo TV. He has forgotten the fact that mainstream media remains mainstream media.

” With the presence of Professionals like us with enormous experience in the field, the governor has the opportunity of getting clues of happenings around him that are unknown to him, but since he doesn’t want us to be telling him things off record, maybe we would be telling him some of those things on the pages of newspapers for him to read and get himself acquainted with what is happening. 

“He is the executive governor of the state and a professor for that matter. Probably, he knows more and even better than some of us that are practicing it. But like I said earlier, those things we ought to have told him in private are what we would start telling him in public now.

“The truth is that as members of the fourth Estate, our duties are constitutional but however the governor and his government wish to, we are here and shalll be here as his four years or eight years elapse.

“Let me restate that it’s inhuman and wickedness of the highest order for government to think of closing a newspaper house employing below 100 persons, and sacking their staff or paying them off whereas the same government was busy employing 5000 teachers, 3000 Health workers and other sets of workers in the civil service and was busy gloating over that, yet planning to sack another set of workers who haven’t constituted nuisance in their work place. Why sack journalists? 

“Does it mean there are no journalists undergoing training to be employed to replace the old hands about to retire as in teaching profession and health sector among others? 

“Where would they practice journalism before professionalising? It’s a sad commentary on the part of Prof Soludo’s government and whoever that is poisoning his mind or hatching to get the government close down National Light Newspapers to establish an amusement park or whatever the playground for children is to be called is an enemy of the people. 

“The person is anti Labour and we are watching. How can a Labour friendly Govermor mute an idea of sacking journalists and closing their office to erect an amusement park abi playground? It’s ridiculous and unexpected from Soludo led government. The only propelling force is hatred for a particular profession. That’s why I summed it up that he hated journalists.

“And it’s unfortunate the Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice didn’t bring his attention to the fact that Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, was established by law in Edict No 8 of 1994 to print and publish Newspapers and Journals. The law also empowers the Corporation to go into commercial Printing. This means the state House of Assembly must get involved in shutting it down.

“Section 18 of Edict No 8 of 1994 defines clearly the NATURE OF SERVICE.” Service under the Corporation shall be PUBLIC SERVICE within the meaning of Pension Ordinance of 1951 as adapted by Cap 102 laws of Anambra State 1991″.

“This Edict was signed into law by Col. M E Attah on 25th March ,1994. The Edict took effect from 27th August 1991 when Anambra State was created. It was originally branch of the Eastern Nigerian leading newspaper popularly called NIGERIAN OUTLOOK. And for avoidance of doubts, NIGERIAN OUTLOOK is the mother of DAILY STAR Newspaper currently maintaining staff and publishing in Enugu State and NATIONAL LIGHT newspaper in Anambra State now under threat for God knows why?

” I wish to exonerate the Head of Service, Barr. Theodora Okwy Igwegbe, from this naked dance because as I was told , she stood against this evil of planned closure of National Light Newspapers in their Exco and elsewhere.

“He is our Governor and we have nothing against him. We are praying for him to succeed because his failure shall be unimaginable.


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