•103 chairmen head branches, pursue amendment of traffic law…
THOUSANDS of tricycle riders in Lagos State, came under one body at the weekend, setting the stage for an end to years of strife that often left many of their members dead as rival associations repeatedly clashed for supremacy.
The new association will now be known as TWAN, an acronym for Tricycle Workers Association of Nigeria.
“Today is historic. We have now unified. We have amalgamated our associations,” said Comrade Abiodun Akin Shoda, Chairman of the 31-member committee set up to ease the unification process.
With the association’s first general assembly’s meeting on Thursday in Lagos, Shoda said TWAN had successfully unified the Keke Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria, KORAN, and the three-wheelers Beneficiaries and Operators Association in Lagos State. “The Lagos State Government wants us to be one. We are one now,” he said.
The new association now has 103 chairpersons across the state, said Comrade Daodu Adesoji, Secretary of the caretaker committee.
Adesoji explained that each branch of the association has at least seven units or motor parks under its control.
“We have unified because there have been a lot of crises in the last seven years between both associations and some hooligans were allowed to join us to victimise our members and we discovered that the only solution to this is to bring both associations together,” Adesoji said.
He said the caretaker committee had been working with the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, to modify Section 3 of the Lagos Traffic Law which banned tricycles and motorcycles on 457 roads across the state.
“Lagos State has understood that tricycles are not prone to accidents and they are not used to commit crimes,” Adesoji added.
Dagunduro Bose, chairperson of Ojodu Berger branch and the only female leader of tricycle operators in the state said she was happy about the amalgamation. “It takes a lot of boldness to be in the midst of men. But I am bold enough to be in their midst,” she said.
Both associations have been at loggerheads since 2004 when KORAN was registered. The three-wheelers Beneficiaries and Operators Association in Lagos State had been registered since 1998. Attempts to unify them collapsed many times and clashes among them left many people dead every year.
The new association still has one final hurdle to cross.
Two months ago in April, Three-wheelers Beneficiaries/Operators Association sued the state government to stop the amalgamation of both associations.
The association, along with a member of its Board of Trustees (BOT), Tunji Oyeniyi, its Chairman and Vice-Chairman in the state, Messrs Moses Buhari and Dauda Ganiyu filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Lagos, accusing the Lagos State Government of using its officials and members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers to force them to join Keke Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria.
Apart from the state government, others joined as respondents in the suit were the state’s commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, and the state’s chapter of NURTW.
However, Adesoji said the suit would be withdrawn in the next two weeks. “We have agreed that in the next two weeks, we will withdraw all the suits,” he said.