The Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos State Council, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, has warned the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) against interfering in the union’s activities.
Recall that the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, had called for the release of the NURTW National President, Tajudeen Baruwa, and some of his executive members arrested by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
Following the call in a recent meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, the federal government facilitated the release of the executives of the union.
Reacting to the development in a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday, Akinsanya asked the NLC leadership to allow the union to organise itself without undue interference and bias.
MC Olumo also blamed Baruwa for the crisis in the union, saying that his actions without recourse to the union’s constitution were responsible for the crisis.
He accused the Baruwa faction of trying to create fracas in the Lagos state chapter of the union by appointing another state chairman to handle the tricycle operators (Keke Marwa) in the state.
Akinsanya said having two chairmen of tricycle operators in Lagos state became a panacea for anarchy, adding that he was instrumental in the emergence of Baruwa as President of the union in 2019.
He said: “As Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter, I performed my duties diligently, fulfilling all my constitutional responsibilities and maintaining the hard-won peace in Lagos State. This role was admirably felt all over the Southwest, and I was also elected as the Zonal Vice-Chairman of Zone 2. In all of these, I have conducted myself within the ambit of the law and constitution guiding our operations in NURTW.
“All went well until the illegal and unconstitutional interference in the affairs of the Lagos State Chapter, and by extension, the Southwest by the Baruwa when he decided to appoint another state chairman to handle the tricycle operators (Keke Marwa), thus having two chairmen in one state, which became a panacea for anarchy. This appointment, which was strange to our constitution and a sinister move to destabilize our operations in Lagos State, led to outright panic.
“The intervention of notable Lagosians and unionists did not go down well with Baruwa, who only saw Lagos State as part of a grand design to annihilate the Southwest.”
MC Olumo also said Baruwa suspended him from the union, saying that he had to activate another plan and not allow all he had achieved in terms of peace in Lagos State to go down.
Akinsanya also claimed that during the administration of Baruwa, the activities of NURTW were suspended in six states of the Federation.
He added: “When Baruwa went ahead to purportedly suspend me from the union, I had the option of staying put and allowing all we have achieved in terms of peace in Lagos State to go down or to activate a Plan B. I opted for the latter.
“As a strong believer in the Rule of Law, I caused a suit to be filed at the National Industrial Court challenging the various illegal conducts of Baruwa, I moved to the Lagos State Parks and Garages, and interestingly, the entire union members in Lagos State followed me as they believed in my leadership.
“This Caretaker Committee, in order to move forward, has reached out to all members who were forced out by Baruwa, and we have embraced peace and returned home.
“Let me state that the National Elders are not the first set of people to call for reconciliation. Various Governors in the Southwest had done the same. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), under Comrade Ayuba Wabba as President and Alhaji Najeemdeen Yasin as the deputy president, also made efforts.
”We were invited three different times. While we wasted money on flights to and fro Abuja, Baruwa did not honour any of the NLC invitations.
“The constitution of the NURTW, in order to allow for inclusiveness, has zoned their offices from time to time. The current zoning arrangement has zoned the President, Vice President and Trustee to Zone 2, which is the Southwest, for two terms of four years each.
“For any member to aspire for these posts, the zone must nominate such individuals at a Special Zonal Conference/Delegate Conference for onward ratification by the National body at a special Delegate Conference.
“It is also noteworthy that during the administration of Baruwa, the activities of NURTW were suspended in five of the six states. The only state functioning was Ekiti.
“The legal position is that with the expiration of the term of office of Baruwa, the term of the chairmen of the various states has also expired. With the newfound reconciliation, a Zonal Congress can now be convened where nominees for National Offices will be done.”
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