By Bolaji Buhari /Oluwatope Lawanson
Lagos – A chairmanship aspirant for the Lagos council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) elections, Mr Adeleye Ajayi says he will prioritise the training and retraining of members if elected.
Ajayi made the promise on Wednesday while speaking on ‘Morning Delight’, a Lagos Television (LTV) programme, monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said it was imperative to build the capacity of media practitioners to sharpen their skills and competences and to enable them perform better on their job.
The aspirant explained that the kind of training programmes he would implement would make NUJ members in the state “total journalists”.
“Training in very vital in the delivery of one’s job; therefore, I will make training and retraining of journalists a priority if I am elected.
“I will make training a substantial part of the NUJ budget. Journalists will be trained on an array of skills, including ICT.
“We will train people both home and abroad. Our members will be empowered with the requisite skills”, he said.
Ajayi said capacity building of journalists was one of his major achievements while he was President, Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria(MARAN) .
He said he facilitated several trainings for members in Tema, Ghana; Calabar, Ibadan and other parts of the country, and paid participants training allowances.
The chairmanship aspirant said he would reproduce same and take it a notch higher if elected NUJ chairman.
Ajayi urged employers of journalists to give training of workers the right attention in order to get value from them.
The aspirant, a Deputy Editor-in-Chief in NAN, also said he would give the right attention to the welfare of all members of the association.
He said he would ensure journalists get life insurance policy, to provide cover for them.
Ajayi said that ihe would facilitate programmes to ensure that members have roofs over their heads, if elected.
He said he would resolve all lingering issues concerning the Pen Jewel Estate.
“I will also resuscitate the Media Games if I am elected,” Ajayi said.
He decried the problem of default in salary payment in the media industry, saying he would engage employers on the need to pay the workers well and promptly.
According to him, journalists should be well remunerated and on time, to protect the dignity of practitioners.
He said there was a need for the Federal Government to give more support to the media industry, in view of the shocks of COVID -19 pandemic.
Ajayi said if the government could give bailouts to some sectors, it should also give to the media sector to enable media houses meet obligations , the made difficult by the effects of pandemic.
He also said the trend of harassment of journalists by public figures was becoming disturbing, promising to activate an Ethics Committee to protect the rights of media practitioners.
On aspirants launching campaigns of calumny against opponents during NUJ elections, Ajayi described such practice as improper.
“At times, NUJ election campaigns are always interesting, but at the same time, we should not adopt campaign of calumny.
“We should base our campaigns on issues; we should not launch malicious campaigns against our opponents “, he said.
Ajayi urged members to give him the opportunity to pilot the affairs of the union, promising to serve them if elected.
NAN reports the election is scheduled to hold on Sept.29.
Dr Qasim Akinreti of Voice of Nigeria (VON) is the other chairmanship aspirant .