The National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abdulwaheed Odusile has been elected as the President, Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) in a unanimous voting decision by the steering committee of the association.
FAJ, which is the African regional association of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) held its fourth congress in Abuja last weekend, from 29 – 30 April, 2016 under the theme “The Political Change and the Safety of Working Journalists in Africa”.
The election, which took place during the FAJ Congress in Abuja at the weekend, saw Odusile emerging unopposed, in accordance with Article 9.2 of the FAJ Constitution.
Delegates at the congress had earlier elected nine union representatives from all the continent’s sub-regions to serve in the Steering Committee. In relation to FAJ Procedures, the elected members of the Steering Committee then elected Odusile of the NUJ as the new FAJ President, while Maria Luisa Rogerio Carvalho of Sindicato dos Journalistas Angolanos (SJA) was elected Vice President, and Zeid Debbon of the Syndicat National des Journalists Tunisiens (SNJT) as the treasurer.
The two-day event brought together 34 delegates from 22 journalists’ unions and associations across the continent to deliberate on issues affecting journalists and the media in Africa; to take stock of the Federation’s achievements and challenges over the past three years; as well as to elect a new leadership that will run the affairs of the federation for the next three years.
Other elected members of the FAJ Steering Committee include, Stephen Ouma Bwire of the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU), Foster Dongozi of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Ibrahima Ndiaye of the Syndicat des Professionnels de l’Information de la Communication – Senegal (SYNPICS), Alexandre Niyungeko of the Union Burundaise des Journalistes (UBJ), Denis Nkwebo of the Syndicat Nationale des Journalistes du Cameroon(SNJC), and Moussa Traore of the Union Nationale des Journalistes de Cote d’ Ivoire (UNJCI).
In the same vein, three reserves were also elected for the Steering Committee,namely, Eduardo Constantino of the Sindicato Nacional de Jornalistas of Mozambique, Abdullai Camara of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and Franck Kpochere of the Union des Professionnels des medias du Benin (UPMB).
Delegates at the congress also unanimously elected five female journalists leaders into the Pan- African Gender Council. They are: Angela Chishimaba of the Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ); Marion Obam Vivivan of SNJC; Particia Ajdisseku of the Union des Journalists Independents du Togo (UJIT); Aisha Ahmed Youssouf of theAssociation des Journalistes Djiboutiens (AJD) and Nigeria’s Fatimah Abdulkareem.
In relation to its programmes for the next three years, FAJ outlined the safety of journalists and the campaign against impunity as a top priority, while also focusing its attention to gender equality in the media and unions, freedom of information, online safety and the decriminalisation of libel.