By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN – THE relationship between the Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW,  Alhaji Lateef Akinsola, a.k.a Tokyo and Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State can be described as that of two close friends who fell apart so badly that the enmity that eventually developed became lethal.

The two are also scheming to cultivate follower-ship among the political class and the result of next year’s election will determine the victor.

Obviously Governor Akala is gunning for a return to Agodi Government House while Tokyo is doing everything to checkmate the ambition. Before things fell apart between them, the two  used to be as close as siamese twins. In those good old days, they used to attend public functions together.

To demonstrate their closeness,  Tokyo was believed to be  instrumental to the widely publicised invasion of the Governor’s office when Senator Rashidi Ladoja, was controversially impeached in 2005.

Oyo NURTW Chairman Lateef Akinsola (Tokyo) Oyo State Governor, Alao-Akala

Akala incidentally was the Deputy Governor then.

Although, the  union leader, Tokyo was not there personally, for he was already behind bars, with criminal charges filled against him by the Ladoja administration; his union members did a yeoman’s job to oust the democratically elected governor.

When Governor Akala was installed, one of his first assignments was to help Tokyo regain his freedom from detention. When the going was good, Tokyo needed no invitation before strolling  into the governor’s office at the Secretariat.

He used to walk into the governor’s office at will like any very important person. Security agents were not checking his frequent visits to his governor friend because he was well known by all of them.

But, suddenly, the relationship went frosty and things fell apart. No thanks to the alleged connivance of Tokyo with some Ibadan  indigenes to unseat Akala in 2011 through the ballot box.

His trauma started at a time he wanted to see the governor, but was disallowed with the security telling him that the governor was busy.

Latching on the well known disaffection between the former friends, Tokyo’s former deputy, Alhaji Lateef Salako began to curry the favour of the governor.

Before the controversial impeachment of Tokyo, Salako used to frequent  the governor’s office and after that, Tokyo was impeached.

In retaliation and backed up by some opponents of Governor Akala, Tokyo who was not known to have  high  regards for the rule of law instituted an action against the state government at the National Industrial Court where he emerged victorious.

But, the state governor with a second term ambition knew that Tokyo, now a wounded lion sort of, was working against his re-election.

He backed the dismissed former chairman, Salako aka Eleweomo despite failing twice to get the chairmanship seat of the union through legal means. The alleged refusal of the state government to allow Tokyo to return to his former seat and recognition of Salako led to clashes between the two factions which resulted into deaths and vandalism of about 83 vehicles.

The latest killing of a couple by yet to be identified gunmen is just one of numerous killings and avoidable destruction of lives and property across the capital city of Ibadan.
After much pressure by Senator Lekan Balogun and many others who were working underground, Tokyo was reinstated. But, no sooner had he got back to office than another crisis erupted.

Governor Akala announced the ban of the union’s activities, a move many described as suspicious and clear indication that the governor was the drummer behind the proverbial bird dancing in the middle of the road.

Persistent threats to cause mayhem

The Oyo State Government had once said the incessant and persistent threats of Alhaji Lateef Akinsola (Tokyo) to cause mayhem, disorder and the disruption of the peace in the State, following the total proscription of the NURTW by the State Government would not be taken lightly.

The  governor was quoted as saying: “For Alhaji Akinsola to continue to boast that he will foment trouble, cause mayhem and disrupt the peace in the State is not only a total disregard of the laws of the land but an affront to the constituted authority which will be visited with the full wrath of the law.”

Also suspicious is the latest move by the governor to withdraw the union land’s Certificate of Occupancy.

Looking at the union’s spate of crises, it is clear that the union has been hijacked by politicians who are opposed to Akala’s second term bid. The union has been turned to a tool in the hands of politicians to use at will to fulfill their goals and aspiration.

Unless something urgent is done, the 2011 election will never be peaceful in the state. Even  if the election is held under peaceful atmosphere, the factions in the union would clash and cause mayhem when their supposed candidates lose.

Up till now, the Olomi secretariat of the union is a no-go-area for Eleweomo who is believed to be  the staunch supporter of the governor.

It seems there are two governments in the state now, Tokyo is the leader of a lesser government while Akala wields big stick as the state Executive Governor.

Anywhere the faction of the PDP is holding campaign, its loyalists in the union provide security.

Last week, when Ladoja, Yunus Akintunde, Teslim Folarin, were on some political mission, members of the union loyal to Tokyo were there in full force to provide security.


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