By Solomon Odeniyi
Members of the National Union of Campus Journalists (NUCJ) – the umbrella body for student-writers – converged on the University of Ibadan (UI) for their maiden national convention. The convention was attended by delegates from some tertiary institutions.
Delivering a keynote speech titled: Student advocacy: The dawn of a new age, Mr Oluwatope Alabi, a journalist with the Osun State branch of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Osogbo, said the activities of student-journalists had boosted campus advocacy in the last eight years, which exposed cases of injustice suffered by students.
He said pressure groups, such as the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), had failed in fighting for the rights and welfare of students across campuses, adding that students now look up to campus journalists whenever their rights are trampled upon.
He said: “As the last hope of your colleagues, posterity will not forgive you when they suffer injustice and you don’t write about it. You must speak for others and let their welfare be your happiness. In doing so, intimidations will come from the authorities, but a committed journalist will always have his way.”
Urging the NUCJ members to unite and forge a common front in achieving their goals, Alabi said: “Remove all barriers that can prevent you from collaborating among yourselves and speak with one voice. Face the objective of serving students everywhere; spread your tentacles to private and faith-based institutions. Build a formidable partnership with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other relevant bodies. You will be a force to reckon with across tertiary institutions.”
Other speakers at the event included Mr Salaudeen Kamorudeen of the Fountain University, and Mr James Peter, publisher of The Biographer.
The convention featured election into the executive and legislative arms of the union. Ibrahim Alamode, a UI student, was elected president, while Aisha Shittu of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) became the Vice President, and Mubarak AbdulHameed of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) is National Secretary.
Also, Hammad Obanaye of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, was elected the Publicity Secretary, Folarin Kolawole of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) in Ondo State became the Southwest Zonal Secretary, Muhammed Akinyemi of UNILORIN is North Central Secretary, and Victor Ifegwu of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Southeast Secretary.
Ifeoluwa Adediran of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State, defeated two male candidates to become the Senate President. Other principal officers of the legislative arm are the Deputy Senate President, Ifedayo Ogunyemi (MAPOLY), Chief Whip, Ifedayo Olorunfemi of the Federal School of Statistics.
Ibrahim, in his acceptance speech, promised to make the union effective and strong, while calling for members’ support.