Delta state council of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has reacted to the suspension of the activities of the union in Oshimili North local government area of the state, describing the situation as ‘unfortunate.’
State chairman of the union, Chief Ifeanyi Obi, in a statement in Asaba on Thursday, said: “We received with great surprise, the news that the activities of our union have been suspended in Oshimili North local government area by the local government chairman, Hon. Louis Ndukwe, with great surprise.
“There is no crisis in our union in that area, the council chairman did not also reach us and from the tone of his letter of suspension we are still trying to figure out what happened,” Chief Obi said.
He added: “From the letter, they heard about threat to unseat a chairman in the evening and less than 12 hours of receiving such news, he had conveyed a security council meeting and that decision was taken immediately.
“We commend his pro-activeness, but, this is democracy, those working in the union are indigenes of his local government area, stakeholders in the affairs of the government, they were not invited to the meeting. We also doubt if he consulted members of his cabinet before taking such decision unless he got the information in the night and summoned a meeting of his officials and worked throughout the night to enable them execute the suspension in the morning.”
He continued, “while we are not joining issues with the local government chairman, he failed to tell us the branch or unit whose activities were suspended because, we have two branches of our union in the area – Branch A which has Comrade Friday Kpokonor as chairman and Branch B which has Comrade Ifeanyi Mayoko as Chairman with more than 14 units.
“The chairmen were inaugurated last year for a 4-year term, so, there is no fear of ‘an impending factional overthrow, counter-overthrow of leadership within the LGA’ as alleged by the chairman.”
“The state council of the union is aware that there is a court case involving some members of the union and the council chairman billed to come up on Friday, January 19, 2018 and our members in the area see the suspension order 24 hours to the court case as a way of fighting back, but, this is democracy, due process should be followed.
Nobody is above the law, the NURTW is a peace-loving, law-abiding union and we will want the council chairman and his executive to avoid any action that will heat up the polity; the union was peaceful before, during and after the local government elections, so, at what stage was there threat to cause crisis in the area which enabled him to act within 12 hours and less than two weeks after assumption of office?”
Chief Obi disclosed, “Oshimili south has 5 branches of our union, Ika South has 5 branches, Ethiope East has 2 branches, Oshimili North has 2 branches and we believe the local government is ripe for more than two branches, the union sell its tickets, the council has its tickets, everybody is working together in harmony, and we believe that it is just impossible for there to be leadership tussle in the two branches or all the Units of our Union in the local government which could have led to a blanket ban on our activities.
“While we congratulate the chairman for his successful re-election and swearing-in, we plead that everybody should be calm, peaceful and avoid anything that will cause confusion in the area.
“ We will follow due process in line with the SMART agenda of our Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa to ensure that the Council rescinds its decision in the interest of more than 500 persons he wants to render jobless and by extension, cause hunger in their families.
“I can assure you that the right decision will be taken to the benefit of all, but, at the moment, let us be cautious of our actions, especially, our utterances in the interest of peace and democracy,” Chief Obi emphasized.