She entered the race amidst thunderous applause and accolades. Diligence, dedication and dogged determination to effect positive change in the area of accountability in the running of the affairs of the national body of the Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, must have spurred the drive to give a push that has today assumed the toga of a wind of change raging through a thick forest.
Grace Ijeoma Umeh has a subtle touch that is common among women. She did not set out to become the National treasurer of the NUJ alone. Although she has a track record of being a versatile, hardworking journalist, always on the side of prudence and committed to serve for the upliftment of the pen profession, external persuasions combined with personal interest to drive what has now blossomed to a passion to serve in the fledgling national union for better results.
And to buttress a move already destined to thrive, ever since Umeh signified her interest to serve in the revered union, the entire social media and other news media have been agog in praises and encouragement for her to stick to the gun with assurance of supports coming from diverse locations to make the dream becomes a reality.
Just as the drumbeat is gathering enough audible volume, the women in journalism from Edo State, Umeh’s base, under the aegis of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, (NAWOJ) Edo State Chapter, joins its weight recently with the endorsement of the erudite female writer. The endorsement was showcased in an event organised in Benin, capital city of Edo State yesterday.
The endorsement, which took place during a get together organised by the executives of the association also coincided with the two years in office of the current leadership of the chapel, led by Comrade Flora Bossey.
At the event, the Chairperson described Ijeoma Umeh as a brilliant goal getter and assured her of the association’s support towards the forthcoming election, even as she tasked members on financial support for the campaign.
In attendance at the epochal event was the Zonal Secretary of NAWOJ, South-South, and current Chairperson of NLC Women Committee, Edo state, Comrade Daisy Osunde who described Umeh as a pacesetter who deserved all the support she is getting. She also assured of her support in mobilising members and resources during the campaign.
Also in attendance were leaders of the association from various chapels of NUJ, including former Press Secretary to erstwhile Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly who was also Chairman of NUJ, EBS Chapel, Comrade Ivy Adodo Ebojele,
the Chief Scribe of Edo NUJ, Alemma Aliu represented the Chairman of the State Council, Sir Rolland Osakue. They all urged women journalists to sustain the bond of unity that exists among them for the overall growth of the union.
In her response, Comrade Umeh expressed her appreciations for the support by members of the association, describing it as overwhelming.
She noted that the endorsement wouldn’t have been possible if she did not maintain the bonds of friendship and mutual respect which she is known for even in the challenging period of her leadership of the association. She enjoined members to remain committed to the values of sisterhood which, she said, resonates beyond unionism.
Umeh was Chairperson of the NAWOJ from 2009 to 2011 when she recorded several remarkable feats, including lunch of digital journalism which attracted 40 units of brand new laptops distributed free of charge to members, launch of Benchmark magazine, a periodical which was a mouthpiece for women journalists used in addressing hydra headed challenges militating against the progress of women, launch of the association’s social responsibility movement, tagged “Feeding the Orphans Rally” which identified with children in the orphanage homes, among other worthwhile initiatives. Her administration also successfully hosted Zonal and NEC meetings within a year in office.
Until her aspiration, she was Chairman, NUJ, Observer Chapel.
She holds Diplomas in Social Work, Mass communication, a Law degree and a post graduate diploma in journalism of the International Institute of Journalism. She is married with children.
By Gboyega Adeoye