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(OPINION) NURTW: Makinde Should Learn from the Past Mistakes of Predecessors

Hon Adedeji Olajide Odidiomo Ads

From experience, no government has ever survived after intervening into matters that concerns the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Oyo State. Tracing back to the memory lane, during the era of Senator Rasheed Ladoja as the Governor of the state, his interference caused a lot of set back to the government.

Adedibu and Ladoja each supported rival factions of NURTW under two different leaders. The pro-Adedibu faction was led by Lateef Akinsola, commonly known as “Tokyo.” In 2003, Ladoja’s Attorney General charged Tokyo with several counts of murder and kept him in detention without bail for more than two and a half years while trying to convict him. During Tokyo’s detention Ladoja backed a rival named Wasilu Adegboyega, commonly known as “Tawa,” to usurp Tokyo’s role.

Tokyo was released from prison in February 2006 under Akala’s watch, just weeks after Ladoja’s temporary “impeachment.” He immediately moved to reassert his leadership over NURTW in violent fashion. Tokyo’s supporters, along with other thugs loyal to Adedibu, took over the car parks by force after violent clashes with supporters of Tawa’s faction. Several people were injured and at least one killed.

In the months leading up to the 2007 elections, Ladoja and Adedibu’s factions fought each other regularly. On the weekend of February 4, 2007, the two factions at a PDP rally in neighboring Osun state when the party hierarchy formally awarded the ticket to Akala. At least four people were killed.  Adedibu and Ladoja both blamed one another for instigating the clash. Violence and insecurity became the norm in Ibadan and other parts of Oyo in the run-up to the April polls. On several occasions thugs loyal to Adedibu rampaged through the streets of Ibadan, attacking motorists and looting shops along the road.

During the period of Alao Akala, he backed the dismissed former chairman, Salako aka Eleweomo despite failing twice to get the chairmanship seat of the union through legal means. The state government refused to allow Tokyo to return to his former seat and recognition of Salako led to clashes between the two factions which resulted into deaths and vandalism of about 83 vehicles.

One should also remember that the union’s spate of crises, it is clear that the union has been hijacked by politicians who are opposed to Akala’s second term bid. The union has been turned to a tool in the hands of politicians to use at will to fulfill their goals and aspiration. With the action of Governor Seyi Makinde,no doubt he has interest in one faction of the NURTW over the other ones. Instead of the Governor to harmonise the structures and allow peace, he has used his power in crowning Auxiliary.

Should we say the PDP government can’t survive without NURTW as an affiliate? Or the power slogan in response to the party name pave way for the motorists.
Ladoja and Akala both had issues ranging from the affiliation of NURTW and because of their interventions.

Until Ajimobi took over, the state was under the threats of constant violent crisis by feuding NURTW leaders leading to several deaths and injuries.

And if peace is the only achievement people can trace to the administration of Ajimobi, it is enough for the state. Governor Makinde should always remember the word of his predecessor, “He should not at any period shy away from making the leadership of NURTW realise the enormous power reposed in the office by not taking necessary steps at all times to put them in their place.”

Governor Makinde in his style of paying back Auxiliary think it is necessary to make him the Chairman of NURTW tactically. The state has no paper coordinate for Park Manager, it is just a style to silent some people. What qualifies Mukaila Auxiliary to be made the Park Manager,he’s not educated. However, he’s not the only one that supported the Governor during election. And even if he supported, he’s known for violence, his hands are not clean in the state. Someone who has just been released from prison.

It is therefore imperative for the Governor to reverse a modest action before things get out of hand. Am sure he will also be aspiring for second term bid, I doubt if that can work. A lot of people are not satisfied with the way he’s handling his government. We all heard the radio man, Edmund Obilo’s anchored program where a lot of people put calls through and started complaining. The entire transporters in south west are not pleased with the action of GSM on the appointment of Auxiliary and technically silencing the NURTW from action.

As a Governor, one is expected to balance governance and politics,the two work together.

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