The leadership of the Tricycles Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) and principal officers of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), in a press conference held on Thursday, said the Union and all its affiliates, under Lagos State chapter, are fiercely loyal to the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu presidential bid and the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu as Lagos State Governor.
The leaders who gathered to offer their solidarity for Asiwaju for 2023 include, Alhaji Rafiu Akanni Olohunwa, former Chairman NURTW, Lagos Council, Comrd. Seyi Bankole, Secretary NURTW, Lagos State , Alh. Muritala Lawal(Epo) former Chairman TOOAN Lagos Council, BOT TOOAN other top NURTW leaders, all promising to mobilise their grassroot support base for the realisation of the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2023 General Election and that of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu’s second term bid come 2023.
They also restated their commitment to the continued existence of the NURTW in Lagos state, insisting that they are never part of any body or group calling for the dissolution of NURTW in the state.
The leaders used the occasion to offer their support for Chairmanship of Alh. Abiola Azeez, Istijabah as the TOOAN Lagos State Chairman.
According to them Asiwaju Tinubu more than any other candidate deserves the support of Nigerians because of his sterling contribution to national development, his modernisation policies while he was Lagos State Governor;and his perspicacity and nose for picking his successors in the state.
Speaking to all the members of the association across Lagos state, Alh. Abiola Azeez, Istijabah, Lagos State Chairman TOOAN, stated that the association under his administration has pledged total support to the administration of Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State, adding that the tricycles association would back his second term bid , declaring that their support for Tinubu, Sanwoolu was not negotiable.
He further reiterated that the association was doing well in the state, saying “We are doing a Union job and we will continue to do the union job.
“If you don’t know about the value of the union then you are not part of us . Nobody can drive us away from the job.
Alhaji Istijabah assured members to be calm, saying that the current crisis would soon be resolved, while pledging his loyalty to Alhaji Ibikunle Baruwa, National President of the National Union of Road Transport Association of Nigeria.
He said that those behind the contrived crisis in the state are not God , adding that those who God can not arrest, He has not created. Nobody can take away our job. He urged everyone to be calm. He said some people have decided to pull out of the union, “having eaten too much, and are not ready to abide by the regulation of the national body; but on our own at TOOAN, we are still with the national body.
Istijabah while stating reasons why TOOAN and NURTW are offering support for the reelection of Sanwoolu in Lagos State disclosed that the administration’s commitment to road rehabilitation and construction, improved welfare of the people in the state, containment of the Covid-19 in Lagos state as well as the recent release of over 500 mini buses and 1000 new GAC cars to ensure efficient intra-city transportation and employment creations in the state , are some of the reasons why he should be considered for reelection in the state.
He said, “Sanwoolu has done well, his administration is a good one, he has done well in road construction. I heard recently that some unions said they will not support Sanwoolu’s second term, but TOOAN and NURTW are ready to support him. He has done well.
Lagos Alhaji Rafiu Olorunwa also at the press briefing called for calm, while tracing the genesis of the crisis to Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya’s unwillingness to abide by the arbitration of the national headquarters of the NURTW, and instead declared that he had pulled out Lagos chapter from the national body.
Comrade Bankole Oluwaseni, the state secretary of NURTW further shed light on the position of Olorunwa, he stated that the whole issue was between Alhaji Akinsanya and the Board of Trustees of TOOAN.
According to him, Akinsanya was imposing his own people who were not members of the tricycles association on TOOAN, while the authentic members and founding members were shut out of the affairs.
It was the intervention of the national headquarters that weighed in, according to the Lagos State NURTW Secretary , the directive from Baruwa ordered Akinsanya to allow Alhaji Istijabah to run the Lagos chapter of TOOAN, but Akinsanya refused, an action that informed his suspension by the national headquarters.
Many who spoke at the press conference said the appointment of the new state chairman of TOAN was the problem. Oluomo, they said was not ready to countenance Alhaji Istijabah and series of meetings convened by Baruwa -led national body to iron out the differences failed as a result of the alleged intransigence of Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, MC Oluomo.
”Before the administration of Akinsanya, it was learnt that the Board of Trustees of TOOAN normally nominated their chairman. He said, “We have the state chairman of NURTW, and also there’s the state chairman of TOOAN.
“It is the Board of Trustees of TOOAN that was always in charge of the nomination of chairman, and not even the headquarters. It was when Akinsanya was imposing his will on us that we decided to petition the national headquarters”, Oluwaseyi said.
On his part, Comrade Muritala Lawal, Epo, former Lagos State Chairman of TOOAN, said that, as the pioneer Chairman of TOOAN in Lagos state, the leadership of the association as an affiliate of NURTW stands with authentic leadership of the NURTW in Lagos state.
He noted that the Association is never in support of anyone or group who would want to destroy the success of the association since it was created. He further said that since such a person had been suspended there is no need for the state government to continue to take him seriously.
He said TOOAN joined NURTW after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the NURTW. He noted that this coordination was prompted by the policy of the government to encourage cohesion among road transport unions in the state.