By Adebayo Obajemu
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is again in the news, and as always, the idea is to paint him in negative light; even for offences committed by others.
There is always a tendency by Tinubu haters, and they are legion to make him bear vicariously the sins of others. This is about politics, politics of chicanery and hatred.
Yesterday, the National Union of Road Transport Workers allegedly suspended its Lagos State chapter’s Chairman, Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo, indefinitely.
By a strange mix of deft political mischief and callous anti -Tinubu sentiment, his name is now reverberating currently in the social media as protector of MC Oluomo, and one that provides him with cover and protection from facing the consequences of his actions.
Tinubu on his part should publicly come out to distance himself from such unhelpful association with non political actors with credibility baggage as seen in Oluomo. If he fails to do that it will surely affect his electoral fortune. Social media is awash with this kind of thinking that Jagaban of Borgu is in bed with Oluomo, and that his presidency will be to foist gangsterism and thuggery to soil political culture. This is an uncanny remark that Tinubu needs to distance himself from for the sake of his political ambition and reputation.
According to the National Public Relations Officer of the union, Chukwudi Asogwa, Oluomo is under suspension. Confirming the suspension to Punch, Asogwa said:
“Yes, it is true. The letter you saw in circulation is from the national headquarters,” he said.
The suspension letter was signed by NURTW’s General Secretary, Kabiru Yau, and dated March 9th, 2022.
In the letter, the union leader was suspended over alleged misconduct, insubordination, and inciting members of the state chapter against its national body.
Following this development, the NURTW directed Akinsanya to hand over to his deputy chairman and release all property belonging to the union in his possession.
The letter read, “This is to convey to you that in line with Article 42 section 5, subsection I, II, III, IV, V, and VIII of the union’s constitution, you have been placed on indefinite suspension from office as State Chairman of Lagos State Council of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) with effect from March 9th, 2021.
“Your suspension is sequel to sustained acts of insubordination and gross misconduct coupled with your clandestine plans to instigate crisis and unleash mayhem on any branch or branches of the union in Lagos state that refuses to obey your order or instructions not to accept directives from the national headquarters of the Union.
“Your orchestrated plan to attack branches that may disobey your orders aforesaid will ultimately endanger public peace and order in Lagos state. It is also very likely to threaten and/or affect the lives and property of the peace-loving people of Lagos state, particularly those doing their legitimate businesses within motor parks, hence the urgent need to take drastic actions against him.
“It is on record that you were earlier issued with queries on 25th of February 2022 and 3rd of March, 2022 respectively in which you were directed to explain the circumstances surrounding your untoward actions and to also show cause why disciplinary actions should not be taken against you for such acts of insubordination. You bluntly neglected/refuse to respond to the second query, while your response to the first query was unsatisfactory.
“In view of your suspension, you are hereby directed to hand over the mantle of leadership of the Lagos State Council to the State Deputy Chairman and also surrender all Union properties in your possession to the State Secretary of the Union .
Already, there is high level of anxiety and apprehension in Lagos over possible outcome of this apprehension.
The general uncertainty is justified given that such development can turn a tinderbox that can set the peace of Lagos on fire, if not we’ll handled.
Oluomo is said to have advised Babajide Sanwoolu to disband the union and set up a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the union. If it is true that will sound preposterous and smacks of blatant ignorance.The suspension letter was from National Body of the union, so what leverage is Sanwoolu’s in the crisis other than to maintain law and order and ensure that the peace of Lagos is maintained in synergy with the law enforcement.
Strangely enough, Thursday night, Gbenga Omotosho, Lagos commissioner of information announced the disbanding of the union in Lagos, adding that they have been barred from operating in the motor parks .
Earlier, Oluomo said he is pulling out Lagos branch of the national body.
The action of Lagos State would seem to have given credence to hushed talks in some circles that Sanwoolu may be out to act the script of the Oluomo.
What the Lagos ought to have done was to uphold the decision of the national body by prevailing on Oluomo to handover to his deputy as directed by the national headquarters of the union.
The action of the Lagos State government raises the stakes of suspicion, and seems to reinforce the feeling that the government is in cahoots with Oluomo. To erase doubts, the government needs to restore confidence by affirming the decision of the national headquarters.
Lagos State should know that no individual is bigger than the need for peace and order, and government does not exist for the furtherance of the interest of an individual but for public good.
The suspended Chairman according to rumours making the rounds is said to be boasting that he can not be suspended ,adding that he has the backing of Tinubu to do whatever he so wishes.
Jagaban has made his name and reputation as consummate politician with wide contact and amazing influence that is yet to be surpassed in modern Nigerian history.
He has remained one of the main issues in the political evolution of the country in the last two decades, and it would be a great tragedy for anyone, whether Oluomo or somebody’s else to name-drop Tinubu’s name for malevolent activities that can disturb public peace.
Tinubu, should, for the sake of his name, his place in our sociopolitical evolution and his current desire to run for president distance himself from such pedestrian issues as having to buoy up an individual who has refused to abide by the decision of his superiors, in this case, the national headquarters of the road transport workers, NURTW.
Tinubu is quite far more experienced as to allow himself to be dragged into what ordinarily should pass for routine disciplinary measures against errant state chairman who has refused to abide by the decision of the national headquarters all in the name of having a political heavyweight as backer, even when he has run foul of the law.
As chairman , etiquette and decency demanded that he respected the decision of the national body with respect to allowing the state chairman of the Tricycles Riders Association, Alhaji Istijabah to run the affairs of the Tricycles union, but he would have none of this, and reportedly has been encroaching on the duty, role and functions of Alhaji Abiola Istijabah, a man widely described as a peace- loving gentleman.
Now, there’s much apprehension in Lagos over a possible breakdown of law and order as a result of the suspension.
Police officers have moved to strategic areas believed to be prone to violence in Lagos.
The Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwoolu is a gentleman, and definitely would not want his state to be thrown into another round of violence when it has barely recovered from #Endsars protest.
Tinubu as he works all the processes to actualise his presidential ambition should not in anyway allow the little matter of Oluomo’s suspension to affect his reputation. He should not provide political enemies enough ammunition to begin to shoot at him , enough is enough.
The case is straight forward. Alhaji Abiola Istijabah, the current chairman recognized by the national body as chairman of Tricycles association should be allowed to carry out his duty, while whoever is in charge as state chairman of NURTW should be in his own turf and forte, period!
The sad icing of the cake is that
Lagos State government Thursday night said it has suspended the National Union of Road Transport Workers Union (NURTW) from operating at motor parks and garages in the state.
The announcement came after the national leadership of the union earlier on Thursday suspended the chairman of the Lagos State chapter, Musiliu Akinsanya.
Akinsanya, blaming the NURTW national leadership for the protracted crisis in the state chapter, said at a press conference later in the day that he and the state chapter had pulled out of the national union.
“After considering the provisions of the law, the Government hereby suspends the activities of NURTW, which must cease to operate in all parks and garages in Lagos State,” Commissioner for information, Gbenga Omotoso, said in a statement.
“The Government will set up a committee to immediately take control of the parks and garages. Members of the committee will be key stakeholders in the sector.”
Omotoso said the suspension of NURTW from parks and garages in the state was necessary to ensure the safety of lives and property of all Lagosians and visitors.
Members of the union are notorious for employing deadly violence to settle scores, and sometimes, to effect leadership change.
“There is an urgent need to douse the unnecessary tension generated by the leadership tussle in the NURTW and protect the citizenry from the likely fallout of the situation,” Omotoso said.
Sanwoolu’s government should have earlier prevailed on Oluomo to allow Alhaji Abiola Istijabah to operate unfettered as chairman of Tricycles association in the state as directed by national headquarters. This refusal to allow Istijabah to operate is the genesis of the crisis.
What the governor should do is to reach a lasting settlement between Alhaji Baruwa, National President of NURTW and Oluomo with the underhand deal being to give Alhaji Istijabah free hand to operate in Lagos.
The rumours making the rounds that Sanwoolu is bent on acting Oluomo’s script on the ground that he needs him to win reelection is unfortunate and unhelpful. The governor should rise above this primordial sentiment and act by reinforcing the decision of the national headquarters of the union.
The era of using area boys or motor parks boys to win election is over, 2023 is going to shock many a pundit.