“Charity begins at home and justice begins next door.” This saying by Charles Dickens, a British novelist, journalist and social commentator is popular among people of all age groups and across generations. Indeed, it is the basis on which any institution can get a clean bill of health as anyone that comes to equity is required to have clean hands.
This philosophy is the basis on which the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Oyo State Council, decided to clean its hand so that it can effectively be the mirror of the society as its oversight function dictates. And this forms the basis for the inauguration of the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee of the Oyo council of the NUJ comprising of five members.
And as the committee started its work fully last week by sitting on a petition from the Oke-Ogun federated chapel of the union, it has emphasised that while the secret of life is honesty and fair dealing, it will embrace all tenets of fairness, objectivity and be an unbiased umpire in all cases that comes before it.
Speaking after the committee sitting, the committee chairman, S.O Ayoade, stated that while it is important to sanitise the union and curb all unethical acts, the unity that weaves the fabric of the union together will not be jeopardised because the state council of the NUJ is a big family that will always resolve its issues.
According to him, the body has its internal conflict management system which is recognised by its constitution and the provisions put in place have been scheduled in a way that will ensure fairness to all.
He emphasised that the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee will no longer take issues that border on smearing the integrity of the union lightly nor will it allow the union become a laughing stock in public, warning journalists in the state to ensure they uphold the ethics of the profession and embrace good conduct as the state council
He called on members to acquaint themselves with the rules that guide their activities and the constitution of the NUJ so that they would not trample on laid down regulations as the union will not compromise its standards and professional integrity just to satisfy the pecuniary interests of a few that do not live by the rules.
He assured members and the public of the committee’s objectivity, adding that the committee would not witch hunt or allow itself to be used for the selfish interest of any individual or corporate bodies and further called on members of the public to contact the committee if they have complaints of unethical acts by members, adding that their matters would be resolved without bias.
“The sitting of this committee is not to witch hunt anyone or take sides with any party in a conflict. We are here to hear petitions, resolve issues amicably where possible and make a report to the council. All our activities will be guided by the constitution. We are lucky to have individuals with impeccable character and unquestionable integrity as members of the committee and we will ensure we do our work as expected.
“No one should entertain any fear that the committee will not be objective in its dealings. Our creed is fairness and equity because we know that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. We solicit for the support of media houses, government agencies, law enforcement bodies as well as the public to help us in ensuring we attain success in this laudable assignment of ridding the union of quacks and unethical practices,” Ayoade said.
The committee further warned all affiliated bodies of the union to henceforth as a matter of duty and respect, follow due process in their activities as they are all under the NUJ and are obligated to live by its rules.
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