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From L-R: Hon. Uloho Ufiobor, Vice-Chairmanship candidate for Isoko North LGA; Comr. Mike Ikeogwu, Chairman, NUJ, Delta State Council; Deaconess (Mrs.) Hopelyn Ayu, Chairmanship candidate for Isoko South LGA; Hon. Cornelius Ugoh, Chairmanship candidate for Isoko North LGA; and Comr. Edede Omoavowere, Vice-Chairmanship candidate for Isoko South LGA

By Emeka Nwokocha

The surging popularity of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has suffered serious setback, following refusal of the party’s Chairmanship candidates for Isoko North and Isoko South LGAs to participate in the maiden edition of a media chat organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Delta State Council, on Friday 12 February, 2021, at Isoko Development Union (IDU) Secretariat, Oleh.

This is happening barely 3 weeks to the local government elections slated for March 6, in Delta State.

Reacting to the absence of the politicians at the event, the Chairman of NUJ, Delta State Council, Comrade Mike Ikeogwu said, “to my greatest disappointment, the Chairmanship candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) did not turn up at this important event; such display of nonchallant attitude by the politicians is unprofessional, unpalatable, and an affront to the hallowed journalism profession.”

Sounding a note of warning, the NUJ Chairman said, “NUJ will not fold its hands and watch politicians redicule our programmes. It is our constitutional duty as the fourth estate of the realm to organise this media chat. We are not partisan, we will continue to play our role to hold public office holders accountable.”

Hon. Cornelius Ugoh fielding questions from journalists

He continued, “we will not take it lightly with those who flagrantly back out of this media session, perhaps they felt they have won the election.”
Ikeogwu said that the media chat was borne out of the commitment of the NUJ, Delta State Council to let the world know that it is not going to be business as usual in the Nigerian political setting where candidates of political parties would subvert the democratic process both at the primaries and the polls and nobody challenges them, and at the end of their tenures, they would have nothing to show, saying, “that is the reason the local government has remained underdeveloped over the years.”

He added, “NUJ wants to reawaken the consciousness of Deltans to the fact that the candidates vying for political offices should be engaged in public discourse, where they will tell the people their programmes and policies, so at the end of their tenures, their performance will be evaluated based on their promise and statements.”

Chairman of NUJ, Delta State Council, Comrade Mike Ikeogwu, sharing ideas with Deaconess (Mrs.) Hopelyn Ayu at the event

Comrade Ikeogwu, called on all the local government Chairmanship candidates to endeavour to participate in the media chats holding in the coming days, stating that at the end of the exercise, NUJ will issue a statement to that effect.

He reiterated the commitment of NUJ to use its professional and constitutional capacity to hold political leaders at the third tier of Government accountable and by extension any other politician holding one position or the other in the State and beyond.

Comrade Emmanuel Ekebe, Chairman of NUJ, Isoko Correspondent’s Chapel (left), Comrade Patrick Ochei, Secretary of NUJ, Delta State Council, and other journalists at the event

The Delta NUJ Chairman, commended the APC Chairmanship candidates for Isoko South and Isoko North LGAs, Deaconess (Mrs.) Hopelyn Ayu, and Hon. Cornelius Ugoh for participating in the media session, saying, “I am glad that the APC candidates honoured our invitation to this auspicious event. It has erased the eronous impression in some quarters that the NUJ Delta State Council is for one political party.

In the course of the media session, the APC Chairmanship candidates distinguished themselves as true democrats with the right character, patriotism and background to cause good governance to happen in their respective local government Councils.

Chairman of NUJ Delta State Council, Comrade Mike lkeogwu, fielding questions from journalists

Deaconess Ayu, said her mandate was “recovery of the lost glory of lsoko South,” even as she expressed confidence to coast home with victory at the polls.
She said, “l will be victorious at the polls because I am a candidate chosen by the people.”
She further stated that her administration would be anchored on 3-point agenda: peace and security; quality primary health care services; and grassroots development/empowerment.

Deaconess Ayu was passionate about restoring good governance in Isoko South, saying, “l am positioned and determined to set a good precedence in governance when l take over the reins of leadership of the Council.”

Cross Section of journalists at the event

In a similar vein, Hon. Ugoh was enthusiastic about turning the fortunes of the people of Isoko North around with good governance when he emerges as Chairman.

He anchored his template of good governance on revamping the fallen standard of primary education; curbing youth reativeness through capacity building; boosting of Small and Medium Entreprise (SME), empowerment of women through micro finance windows; and nipping crises and insecurity in the bud through youth employment and empowerment schemes.

Hon. Ugoh was cocksure of victory at the polls, saying, “come rain, come shine, l will defeat my opponents at the forthcoming polls.”

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