Election: NURTW Faction Set For Showdown

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A faction of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Ogun State Chapter, in their hundreds embarked on a protest march to the Governor’s Office, Oke–Mosan yesterday and threatened a showdown over tomorrow’s election in the state.

They called on the state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun and security agencies to suspend the planned election of new executive officers of the union.

Our correspondent gathered that the planned election of new executive officers of the transport union which is slated for Wednesday is causing serious tension in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, southwest Nigeria.

The protesting transporters who besieged the entrance to the Governor’s Office warned that there could be an outbreak of violence and needles loss of lives and properties should the election be allowed to take place.

The protesters who carried placards with various inscriptions all expressing their fears and worries, said a powerful interest group and individuals within and outside the union have hijacked the election process to achieve their selfish agenda.

The Secretary to the State Government [SSG], Mr. Taiwo Abiodun Adeoluwa, who addressed the protesters, urged them to “eschew violence and pursue peace” in the way they go about effecting change of leadership within the union.

Adeoluwa said government would bring all the parties together to resolve their differences as well as allay fears where any exists.

The spokesman for the group, Mr Adewale Adegboyega, said NURTW urges the state government, the security agencies and the National President of NURTW to restrain the outgoing Chairman, Prof. Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa, from foisting his stooges on the union.

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Adegboyega who is the Secretary, NURTW, Odeda Local Government chapter, accused Baruwa of perfecting plans to “scuttle democracy and representative leadership” by compromising the election process in a manner that would ensure that his stooges, Moruf Yekini, Lukmon Ajunwon and Shina Adegbenro, emerge winners.

Leaflets were distributed to members of the public and security agencies to the effect that the election be placed on hold.

The protesters said “any election is war, we want government to come to our rescue the election must be postponed indefinitely.”

Speaking with our correspondent on phone yesterday evening, the former state chairman who is now the National Treasurer, Alhaji Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa, said he has got the information that some group of people had protested.

According to Baruwa, “my brother, I heard the information, but that will show that our union is now getting better than before. The protest is normal and it was different from what some people used to do in the past when expressing their anger. There was no weapons displayed today and credit should go to our people for that.

“On the election coming up on Wednesday, the National Council has met and hass fixed the day for the state election throughout the country. Why would that of Ogun state be different? The allegation of imposing somebody is far from the truth. The election will definitely be held and I can assure everybody that there will not be any breakdown of law and order in the state.

“NURTW is not a group of miscreants as some people believe, but we will sanitise the union and educate our members.”

—Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta