NURTW Crisis: MC Oluomo cautions NLC

The National Union of Road Transport Workers, Lagos State Council Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya (MC Oluomo) yesterday cautioned the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to stop using the crisis at the union’s national body to blackmail the federal government.

According to him, the union crisis shouldn’t have come up during the negotiation with the government’s representatives on whether or not to embark on strike due to fuel subsidy removal.

It would be recalled that owing to the withdrawal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the Federal Government and the resultant increase in the price of the commodity, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) issued a strike notice billed to commence on Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023.

NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC), however, tabled the NURTW and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) crisis among other issues during the negotiation with the government’s representatives.

The meeting later agreed that “the matters be handled in line with relevant International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions and Nigerian Labour Acts. A resolution of the on-going impasse is expected by or before October 13.”

Akinsanya faulted the inclusion of the NURTW crisis among the issues raised by the labour leaders, stating that it was a ploy to blackmail the government.

He enjoined the labour leaders to allow the transport union to organise themselves in line with their constitution.

NLC, he said, cannot impose the erstwhile president of NURTW, Ibikunle Baruwa, whose tenure elapsed on August 28.

He condemned the undue interference and biased disposition of NLC, noting that such actions “vehemently negate the ideals and principles of the Trade Union Act.”

Akinsanya explained: “As I’ve rightly postulated that Baruwa tenure has elapsed. For there not to be any form of lacuna, the union’s Board of Trustees inaugurated a 24-man Caretaker Committee to steer the ship and conduct a generally acceptable Zonal and National Delegate Conferences to usher in a new leadership at the National level.

“According to our union Constitution, all elective posts are zoned to each of the six zones making up the NURTW. For instance, Zone 2, which comprises the Southwest states, has three elective positions – National President, Vice President and Trustee – zoned to it. Before anyone can aspire for national position, such a person must make recourse to his zone for endorsement or election. After the tenure of Alhaji Usman Yasin, Baruwa and Tajudeen Agbede showed interest in the presidency of the union and Baruwa won the election at zonal level, hence became the National President. Since his (Baruwa’s) tenure expired on August 28, he needs to be re-elected or endorsed by Zone 2 to return to the office. Let him pick a form. As I speak, four persons have indicated interest and purchased forms to contest for the office. They are my humble self, Alhaji Agbede; Alhaji Akeem Adeosun Jango and Ekiti State Council Chairman Omotayo Falope.

“The purported kangaroo election held by Baruwa in Nasarawa is dead on arrival because virtually all states of the federation have aligned with the 24–Man Caretaker Committee to conduct Zonal and National Delegate Conferences slated for 5th and 25th of October respectively. The door of the union is still open to all prospective members of the union to seek and aspire for elective positions. So, Baruwa is free to come down to the zone to contest. The zone can as well endorse those to represent them as President, Vice President and Trustee at the Zonal Delegate Congress.”

Akinsanya appealed to the NLC to allow the union go through peaceful transition without any interference.

This, he said, would enthrone a popular candidate who will serve the interests and aspirations of the members.