The Oyo State Government on Monday described the seven-day ultimatum given to it by the South West leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers(NURTW) over the introduction of the Park Management System and ban placed on the union’s activities in the state as an empty threat.
Speaking on Television Continental’s breakfast show, Your View, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa said
the State Government does not have any ultimatum on the table, adding that South West NURTW are not stakeholders in Oyo State and therefore can’t dictate to that government.
“They are stakeholders in their different states, let them have dealings with their governors. The NURTW of Oyo State is banned and if they want to have relationship with Oyo state Governor, they know the channel through which they can reach the governor,” Adisa said.
Adisa stated that the ban on NURTW activities in the state was not something that came as a surprise to the people of Oyo State in may last year, saying “before the inauguration of Governor Seyi Makinde, the story all over Oyo State was that the state will burn, there will not be peace.”
He continued: ‘People fled the state ahead of the inauguration, it was as if hell will be let loose immediately Governor Seyi Makinde was sworn in because they said NURTW people will strike. That was the story all over the place.
“Because of the history of NURTW and to practicalise it, right in the morning of day when Governor Seyi Makinde was being inaugurated at Liberty stadium, they clashed and guests inside the stadium were hearing that some people were macheted, some people sustained cuts . Before Governor Makinde read his speech, he has already got wind of it.”
Speaking on the new Park Management System introduced by the state government, the CPS described the system as a unique policy that will enhance peace and increase the state’s Internally Generated Revenue(IGR).
He said: ” The Park Managers is a unique policy that was inaugurated by this government of Engr. Seyi Makinde. The story around the parks is always that local governments and state government will put up parks and they will not get anything from it. It’s been like that over the years and some people will stay as leaders of those parks and will be feeding fat on everybody.
“We now said it shouldn’t continue like that , let the government that put up these parks, let it also benefit from the parks. Thats the idea behind park managers . Apart from that, because of money that comes out from the parks, control has also been an issue whereby every government that comes in, they have to see machetes and guns from people who controls the parks. One faction fighting another trying to take over parks. We say this should not continue.
“Immediately Governor Makinde put a ban on NURTW and that brought a lot of peace because people commended the initiative. These park managers have a lot of clauses in it, one is indeed a way of mopping up of funds and increasing the IGR.”
When asked if the Oyo State Government will follow the protoype in Lagos State, where the government will buy its buses and partner with the private sector to invest in transport system as an alternative to NURTW , Adisa said: “Ajise bi oyo lari ,oyo o kin se egbe baba enikan. We can’t just copy what they are doing in Lagos, we do what is right for Oyo State.”
He added that union in the state should find solutions to its own problems, noting that if they can guarantee that there will be peace in the state, the governor will lift the ban placed on it.
However, a representative of the union, Mr. Kayode Agbeyangi , insisted that there was no crisis in the union and that the union did not engage in violence before the governor placed a ban on its activities.
He said the union has harmonised all the factions in the state to one, adding that it was it was Mukaila Lamidi, popularly known as Auxiliary that is perpetrating violence in the state.
He said” The government placed a ban on our members in the state. One will now wonder what happened and why they did that. Up till now, no reason was given by the governor.”
” There was no crisis in the union. We lost our former chairman, Alh. Taofeek Oyerinde, aka Fele. Ever since the man died, the union at the headquarters is very much in control of activities of the union in Oyo State.
“Somebody is claiming he has worked for the governor and went without any fracas to take over the administrative office of the union in the state at 1am in the dead of the night and that was what they calculated as being something on ground and that was what happened on the day of swearing in as well . It is the same person that equally attacked people. He was one time a caretaker chairman but he is no longer our member.
The violence was perpetrated by people that thought they have worked for the governor and they are not in the system. This person, Mukaila Lamidi has been expelled from the union for his past activities and he has never shown a sign of remorse.”
Agbeyangi said the union was not involved in the Park Management System introduced by the governor.
“We were not involved in the Park Management System introduced by the state government.We don’t know the people that were inaugurated, probably their party men that are not members of our union because if it is going to be on the organisation of the NURTW, the leadership of the union at the headquarters would have even adviced us to bring all our members together,” he added.
He said the governor sealed off the union’s office despite telling the government that the six factional groups within the union has been harmonised into one in the presence of all the stakeholders and representatives of the Department of State Services and Commissioner of Police.
Also speaking, another representative of the union, Sulaiman Musa, said the government was aware of every moves by the union but still went ahead to introduce motor park system.
” We identified six groups including Auxiliary’s group and harmonised them into one and they have agreed to work together . This was done in the presence of the representatives of the CP and DSS at the office provided for us at the ministry of works. We met for two weeks.
“Even when we were there , government are collecting their revenue and IGR was never affected. We don’t know if they want to include the issue of membership dues,” Musa said.