By Ahmed 'Lateef
Leadership prowess is not a magic wand but divine will. It also requires the consistency of the leader to keep to the mantra upon which he is entrusted with the position. Meeting Abiodun Abdulkareem, the re-elected chairman of Kwara State council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) is delightful.
Soft spoken but eloquent, there are many things that make the gentleman thick. Blessed with an infectious smile, his warm disposition makes some to underrate the power that lies in him.
Though in physique he might appear tiny, he is broad in content. His versatility in steering a moving ship as a sailor is boundless. Against all odds, Abdulkareem strives to get his goal achieved. He is gentle as dove and fearless like hyena.
To supporters and admirers, his re-election did not take them by surprise because his achievements in the last three years in office were unmatched and unprecedented in the annals of the state council of the union. This school of thought believe he surpassed and outshone his predecessors in the catalogue of his achievements in concrete terms.
But to adversaries, the NUJ boss continued stay in office is not needed and should therefore be given red card. For inexplicable reasons, they believed he should be flushed out. This is in spite of campaign of calumny and mudslinging introduced by their foot soldiers to run Abdulkareem's administration aground.
Their major grievance is that the Ajikobi-born fine writer has not done anything spectacular to deserve re-election, and consequently, his second shot in office should rather remain a dream or kept in abeyance.
Like in conventional democratic setting where majority would have its way and minority would no doubt have its say, it was all jubilation for supporters of the incumbent Chairman of the state council at exactly 3:30pm last Wednesday at Abubakar Olusola Saraki Pen House Ilorin, the edifice serving as Secretariat for practicing Journalists in Kwara State as result for the keenly contested election was announced.
The election, which was held under heavy security presence with men of the Department of State Service, Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps keeping watch of the election vicinity, also gave members of the NUJ to mount surveillance on the conduct of the poll.
Abdulkareem, the incumbent chairman polled 161 votes to defeat his arch-rival, Abdullahi Adisa Akodudu who scored 86 votes.
While Abdulkareem hailed from The Herald Chapel, Akodudu came from Radio Kwara Chapel.
The chairman of the electoral committee, Ibrahim Issa Jetti, who announced the result, also disclosed that Umar Bayo Abdulwahab of Correspondents Chapel scored 139 votes against Abdulrasheed Okiki of Radio Kwara Chapel who got 110 votes to emerge State Assistant Secretary of the union.
In the same vein, Suleiman Aremu polled 126 votes to emerge new State Treasurer of the union as against his challenger, Kuburat Samsudeen who recorded 122 votes.
However, Bashirat Bola Bello, Jimba Babatunde and Sanni Zakariyah won unopposed as Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Auditor of the state council of NUJ.
The Secretary of Zone D of NUJ comprising all six states under North Central geo-political zone, Mr Wilson Bako, urged members of the union to jettison differences and work as an indivisible entity.
He noted that Abdulkareem's re-election was not surprising because of his modest performance in the last three years.
Bako said the common bond of the union must be collectively saved from being broken by those he said, were not progressively minded.
In his post-election speech, the re-elected Chairman of NUJ, Abiodun Abdulkareem, said his administration would ensure sustainable change started few years ago.
He disclosed that the boundary of the union would be extended to absorb more chapels.
"We have assured you that we are going to ensure free, fair and credible election. To our esteemed colleagues, heads and leaders of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kwara State council, I say a very big thank you for ensuring peaceful, credible and the most participatory election in the history of Kwara council. May Almighty God reward you abundantly.
"But let me emphasize, in our campaign promises, we said we are going to ensure sustainable change, which we have started since 2012. We have gotten to a stage now and we have laid the foundation for a new one of NUJ in Kwara State. And we shall continue to build on that achievement and that progress in the interest of our members.
"We are going to work with all chapels. We are going to extend the boundary of NUJ to include more chapels to the union, and by the special grace of God, we will work adequately with the state government in ensuring peace and tranquility. I thank you all, may God Almighty bless you", NUJ Chairman said.