The Lagos State Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo, has refuted claims of engaging in acts of insubordination and anti-union activities in the state.
The PUNCH had reported that the national headquarters of the union queried Akinsanya for refusing to carry out instructions given to him in recent times by the national leadership.
Among other allegations in the query dated February 14, 2022, Akinsanya was also accused of resorting to intimidation, harassment, and assault on the newly-appointed Chairman, Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Azeez Abiola, aka Istijabah.
In his response, Akinsanya, who said he had successfully complied with his oath of office, refuted the claim that he instigated members of the union to assault Abiola.
He, however, noted that the legality of the TOOAN operations in the state is a subject of a suit pending before the National Industrial Court.
Akinsanya responded to the query in a letter he personally signed on February 25, 2022, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday.
He wrote, “I vividly recollect that on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at a meeting you held with the Lagos State Administrative Council at the national secretariat, Abuja, you announced the appointment of Alhaji Azeez Abiola, one of the state trustees and Chairman of Zone C TOOAN of NURTW, as the National Coordinator, TOOAN, right in our presence.
“But unfortunately, before we got back to Lagos, Alhaji Azeez Abiola has been parading himself on social media as the new state chairman of TOOAN of NURTW, and posting a letter of appointment to that effect, a letter I was neither aware of nor privy to.
“This is in spite of the fact that the existence and legality of TOOAN is already an issue at the National Industrial Court and the Lagos State Council is presently funding the defence in NICN/LA/308/2021, all in an effort to protect the corporate image of the union.
“I restate that I am not aware of any harassment, intimidation or assault on him or any of his supporters on any day in Lagos. As a trustee, he has the right of entry to the state secretariat and has never been denied that right to my knowledge. It will be demeaning of me to instruct people to beat up his supporters and I never did.”
Akinsanya added that the former state secretariat situated at 360, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Super Bus Stop, Abule-Egba, Lagos, had already been contracted to the Amalgamated Mega-City Transport Limited for the use of BRT buses operations.
He added that the company, which had taken over the place, was paying rent to the state NURTW, adding that income from the said venture is routinely sent to the national headquarters.
“There is, therefore, no former state secretariat to hand over as same is contractually obligated to the Amalgamated Mega-City Transport Limited to his knowledge and our knowledge,” he said.
Reacting to the allegations on forceful takeover of local branches and the illegal splitting of the TOOAN sector in the state, Akinsanya said his administration, which was based on the promotion of peace, opposed forceful takeover of branches.
He said, “If any of the zonal chairmen to whom the branches belong however bring the issue to our attention, it shall be investigated openly and the cause/reason determined.
“The decision to rearrange the tricycle segment of our operations was reached by the entire executive of the state with the knowledge and approval of the President.
“The initial plan was a three-zone arrangement, but we accommodated the wishes of the President for a five-zone arrangement and his nomination of two zonal chairmen.
“The action is neither illegal nor unconstitutional as it is within our constitutional rights as the elected leaders of the state council and it was done with the concurrence of the National President.
“It was never to create rivalry and/or disharmony and until now, the peace that we have in Lagos State, was never experienced by previous administrations.
“I restate that I have faithfully complied with my oath of office and will never do anything to tarnish the image of the union nor bring the union back to the inglorious position of being branded as thugs and disturbers of public peace and space in Lagos State.”