When a solider inserts his finger gingerly into a sling…what comes out is deadly and must be avoided. The deadly virus tagged COVID-19 has subside the smoldering conflict between the State Government and the factions of Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
Why was this misapprehension?
It was as a result of the introduction of Park Management System (PMS) and the appointment of a former factional leader of NURTW, Muikala Lamidi (a.k.a Auxiliary) as Chairman, Park Managers Disciplinary Committee.
The coming of the Park Management System (PMS) by the state government was a move intended to put an end to the mayhem but instead it has caused serious controversy among the various factions of the NURTW, and had since cooked up the polity in the state.
The party against the appointment of Auxiliary (Mukaila Lamidi), the head of PMS are threatening to ferment trouble. They alleged that Lamidi has since been expelled from the union as a result of bad image and alleged criminal record which goes against the constitution of the union.
It will be recalled that the past Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi intervened when he set out a committee to probe the fracas. Subsequently, the likes of Lamidi Mukaila and Alhaji Lateef Akinsola, among others believed were the cause of the crisis within the union. He then ordered the union to organize a fresh election where Late Taofeek Oyerinde emerged as Chairman. During his second time in office, he died shortly after a protracted illness and in line with union rule and regulation; Alhaji Bideen Olajide assumed the leadership mantle.
Recalled before this time, there was incessant clashes between opposition camps of the union at Iwo Road Motor Park, the combatants dangled guns, sharp objects and other dangerous objects some who had no weapon twirled their sticks like the herdsmen of old, mayhem was unleashed and the President of the medical students was among those killed. A reverent hush fell over as people mourn the untimely pass away of the medical student. Puffy red tears leaked out of the corners of mourner’s eyes.
In a hurried response, Senator Ajimobi directed the investigation of the matter and again, Lamidi Mukaila and few others were accused as suspects. The case was subsequently taken to court and Mukaila was found guilty of manslaughter and gun running and he was sentenced to jail. Muikala’s jail term ended few months to the end of Ajimobi’s tenure, no sooner was he released from the prison, than he allegedly featured during 2019 electioneering on the side of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a spout of flame, current Govenor Seyi Makinde proscribed the activities of the NURTW and normalcy returned to the state. After eight months of banning of the NURTW, Governor Makinde has now introduced the PMS to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.
A day to the official announcement of the PMS, the leadership of various factions of the NURTW went against the introduction, calling on the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and other traditional rulers in the state to caution Governor Makinde against appointing park managers in replacement of the union at motor parks across the state and vowed that they would oppose it. The traditional rulers could see mild flames in the dark swiftly growing into a burning ember and would do anything to douse it.
The union members made the vow at a meeting held in Ibadan to intimate all the traditional rulers, leaders of various religious bodies, opinion leaders and well meaning indigenes of the state on the plan of the governor to announce the names of the park managers.
They claimed that the NURTW is an entity under the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which is absolutely different from a government parastatal, adding that the motor park management system introduced by the government is illegal and uncalled for. Most of them towed the same line while others are ready to sting like venom.
In a quick reaction, the government denied appointing Mukaila as member or chairman of the PMS and threatened to jail anyone that foments trouble.
The Chairman, Oyo State Road Transport System (OYRTMA), Mogaji Akin Fagbemi in Ibadan warned anyone who plans to foment trouble. According to him, “Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority (OYRTMA) hereby strongly warns individuals or groups planning to run parallel and illegal parks in the state. Anyone found culpable would be prosecuted and made to face the full wrath of the law.
“However, we implore all commercial vehicle operators across the state to corporate fully with the new park managers in a bid to ensure free flow of human and vehicular traffic in the state. We equally enjoin the good people of Oyo State to go about their legitimate businesses as there is no cause for alarm.”
On Monday, February 17, 2020, despite numerous denials that PMS has no connection with Mukaila, the Oyo State Government announced his name as the Chairman, Park Managers Disciplinary Committee.
Before the oscillating coronavirus, people are apprehensive, heart beating with wild fears as some people who have their shops close to the parks felt thugs and bandits might use this conflict as an opportunity to strike. This is why the State Government must take certain steps to nip the crisis in the bud. Now is right time for the state government to pick the ladle and turn the urn before the broth is burnt.
As it is now, time seems poised in uncertainty; the Oyo State Government must handle the situation like a cracked egg. It is said that: “The voices of true arbiter will continue to roar into the whine of virtuous recrimination until every thread entangled is disentangled” and when that happens, we shall not witness another chaotic moment soon again.
Anjorin contributes this piece from Lagos. He is an Inspirational Speaker, Columnist and Entrepreneur