Mr Adeleye Ajayi, a chairmanship aspirant for the Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) says he will adopt a political solution to ensure the union refunds every subscriber of the abortive Pen Jewel Estate project.
Ajayi, a Deputy Editor-in-Chief with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), disclosed this in an interview in Lagos on Monday.
He said that the contentious land issue would be prioritised and resolved to bring relief to subscribers.
According to him, the Mowe/Ofada Pen Jewel Estate project has brought untold psychological trauma to many members of the union.
“First and foremost, the most contentious issue of concern to the union is the failure of the NUJ/NAWOJ Pen Jewel Estate project.
“The project has become a perennial object of political campaign.
“Mowe/Ofada land project has been turned to an ‘ATM’ by some people who are milking innocent and unsuspecting NUJ members to pay for perimeter fencing, land clearing and topography fees among others.
“If I win this election by God’s Grace and with the support of the teeming members of the union, I will adopt a political solution to ensure the union refunds every subscriber of the Pen Jewel Estate project,’’ the aspirant said.
On accountability, Ajayi promised to be transparent and maintain proper records of accounts as well as regular audit of the accounts, if elected.
According to him, the next administration will not condone the siphoning of the union’s funds, no matter the exigency, and there will be State Executive Council and Exco’s approval before any spending.
Ajayi said that all pending projects like the abandoned Guest House at Shomolu and the Secretariat being remodelled would be completed in record time.
He said the union, under him, would engage and partner with commercial banks and other corporate organisations on mortgage, car and electronics instalment purchases and other loans for members.
Ajayi added: “The union deserves a software Application that will contain biometrics registration, pay and print check off dues, remittance slip, live broadcast, NUJ radio station, flight bookings, union’s quarterly statement/expenditure, members’ directory etc.
“There will be visits to media houses to know about members’ welfare, solve the problem of unpaid check off dues and dialogue with media owners over unpaid salaries.
“Salaries must be paid as and when due.
“For journalists to have a comfortable and a healthy life, especially after retirement, they must be paid their pension entitlements.
“There should be life insurance, health insurance as well as an insurance portfolio that can take care of any journalist that loses his or her job, at least for a minimum period of six months,’’ he said.
On entrepreneurship, Ajayi said that members would benefit from relevant skill acquisition training to enhance their economic status.
“Capacity development will be captured in the Council’s budget.
“The union will invest in agro-businesses like poultry, fish farming, oil palm plantation, dairy farming, rearing of goats and sheep etc.
“The union will partner with the Bank of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for members to acquire the entrepreneurial skills.
“If elected, the next administration will facilitate training at both state and chapel levels in order to keep members abreast of modern media practices with the evolution of technologies in the media industry.’’
He added that the union under him would organise awards that would equally generate funds for the union annually.
On revenue generation drive, Ajayi said that the council would acquire land in a strategic location in Lagos for Car Wash/Car Park with Bar/Band at weekends.
“The union will also explore the possibility of inter and intra state transport business.
“In addition, members should be able to abide by the ethics of the profession in line with international standards,’’ the candidate said.