The electioneering score is settled. The current business at hand is governance. Though Seyi Makinde has been declared as the Governor of Oyo State, however questions have begun to flow as regards his plans and workable solutions towards the menace of the National Union of Road Transport Workers which has notoriously bedridden the peace of Oyo State in the past.
That this question is coming at a point when Makinde has not been declared speaks a lot about the feeling of people that voted for him, maybe they are unsure of how he would handle the menace of NURTW where his party who once held the helm of affairs in the state failed or the relative peace enjoyed by the people of Oyo State under Abiola Ajimobi is making them want more.
While looking for a solution for the NURTW menace, there might be need to review its journey through the time of Baba Adedibu political dynasty and the use of NURTW thugs led by its field commander as at that time, Tokyo, to influence any political decision in the state and to make everyone do his biddings. We must also remember that there was a point that a leading thug, Eleweomo presided over the impeachment of the then Governor of Oyo State, Chief Rashidi Ladoja over his disobedience to Baba Adedibu. We should also remember that at one point there was the Molete Palace of Baba Adedibu which was once surrounded by these thugs instead of policemen. We should not also forget how Eleweomo was killed at PDP’s congress which interestingly is the party that the incoming governor belongs to. We should remember the early days of Ajimobi’s government and compare it with the past few years, we would acknowledge that there was truly a change in the union.
The problematic questions hoping to see solutions immediately Makinde is sworn in is that is he going to take the union to the past or instead to a greater height? One thing that must be acknowledged is the way the outgoing governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, handled the crisis; it is something to be emulated and improved upon by the incoming governor. Now that arguments have been emerging from different quarters about NURTW being a professional body like NBA, NUT and so on, it’s expected of the governor to treat them as such.
The complexities of NURTW and the politics within it show that Makinde needs well directed process to handle the crisis in it. On one side of the conflict table, we have top NURTW boss, popularly known as Auxiliary who was released from the prison some months ago and has gained visibility to be seen everywhere since the election of Makinde, his recent statement that the current leadership of NURTW should vacate office immediately after the swearing in of Makinde as governor has given credence to this assertion. Beyond and within the political arena, he has always associated with Makinde and it’s expected that he is compensated with the leadership of NURTW.
On the other side of the conflict table is Alhaji Olajide Ejiogbe who became the chairman of the union after the death of Fele who died of protracted illness. It must however be noted that despite his loyalty to Ajimobi, he has efficiently led NURTW to being a progressive union as passed on by his late boss, Fele.
The questions would continue to linger as it could be recalled that upon becoming governor, Ajimobi swore to castrate the NURTW which he did. Ajimobi brought peace and civilization to the NURTW through what people considered as “benevolent dictatorship”. If being a benevolent dictator is what Makinde requires to effectively make NURTW a professional body of transport workers and not a professional body of killers or thugs, the people of Oyo would be pleased. The violence that occurred during the last election shows that there’s a need to consolidate the union and make sure the major players in the former violence filled union don’t see Makinde’s victory as a chance to make a U-turn.
Whether Seyi Makinde fulfills his promise to the people of Oyo State or not, the issue of NURTW is going to be a major factor in determining the success of his administration as he cannot afford to fail where his predecessor has succeeded.
Abass Oyeyemi is a Law student in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He has a passion for Political Activism, and Human Rights. He is the Convener of Reaching Minds Foundation. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.