By Ajibola Abayomi,
October 3, 2018.
Chris Isiguzo, one of the presidential aspirants at the forthcoming conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), slated for October 3 to 5 IN Abeokuta has been sacked by his employer, THISDAY newspaper.
Joseph Ushigiale, Managing Editor at ThisDay Newspapers, confirmed this development in a phone interview.
He said the decision was made following various inquiries from media practitioners who sought clarification on his qualifications. The paper thereafter discovered discrepancies in his documents after conducting a review.
“He was asked to explain and then he said he didn’t own those papers,” Ushigiale said. “He denied that the papers belong to him.”
From the management’s findings, when Isiguzo submitted a handwritten application in 2006 when he sought employment at the organisation, he wrote in it that he is an HND holder.
“And we decided that he has been very economical with the truth, because he has misled us in presenting documents that are not substantiated.”
Ushigiale also confirmed Isiguzo submitted documents which claimed he has an HND from the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, and a diploma from Hyles-Anderson College, United States, “and all of them were acquired the same year, which is not possible”.
When he was asked if the case would influence how the paper conducts recruitment exercises in the future and whether it would scrutinise the credentials of current employees, the Managing Editor replied affirmatively.
“We will have to review the entire employment process because it is possible there could be people who still parade fake documents,” he said.
“And, going forward, we will have to engage in maybe verification, or we have to be more strict in reviewing all the documents that are in our possession.”
In a petition sent to the union’s credential committee, he was accused of not having the required qualification, but the committee cleared him.
In the final list of cleared candidates released by the union, Isiguzo, from Enugu council, was sixth with his qualification reading ‘ND Mass Com.’
The national diploma (ND) certificate, dated December 31, 1998, was obtained from the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, and the credentials committee had said was enough requirement to run.
Surprisingly, however, a certificate with reference number FPO/MC/96/76224 dated November 15, 1998 and also showed “Isiguzoro Ikechuckwu C” was awarded a higher national diploma (HND) in mass communication from the same institution same year.
That would mean he got his OND and HND the same year.
The certificate, bearing the stamp of the school’s exams and records department, has “Isiguzoro” graduating with cumulative grade points average (CGPA) of 3.28.
Checks by showed that on November 15, 1998 which the HND certificate was issued fell on a Sunday, which most institutions do not open for administration business.
When he was queried by his employers after the publication by TheCable, Isiguzo reportedly said he only submitted his OND in his application for employment.
He blamed his “political opponents” for “peddling rumours” because of his “popularity”.
However, in his handwritten application over 10 years ago, Isiguzo listed OND and HND as his qualifications. He was sacked on Tuesday for securing employment with fake credentials.
The NUJ election will hold during the sixth triennial delegates’ conference of the union from October 3-5, 2018 in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
According to the credentials committee, 33 candidates will contest elections to fill national offices of the union.
Prior to his dismissal, Isiguzo worked at the newspaper as South East Bureau Chief.
When Isiguzo was contacted on Monday, he alleged that Waheed Odusile, president of the NUJ, had paid for online reports against him in order to undermine his campaign.
“What is the interest that all of you have in me?” he had asked. “Waheed paid all of you to come and run me down, right? No, no, no, I know. Listen, listen. Of course, you acknowledged… you are a Yoruba-speaking [man] like him. He paid all of you because he knows he is going to be defeated on Thursday.”
He added that if he does not have a certificate, he will not be bold enough to stand for election.