Amalgamated association dogged by internal wranglings
BY DOTUN IBIWOYE
THE furore that led to the merger of the splinter associations of Lagos tricycle operators has refused to abate.
With the issues confronting the operations of tricycles in Lagos, thousands of its riders had to unionise last July, thus setting the stage for an end to years of rivalry that led to clashes for supremacy.
After series of meeting, the warring factions and unions eventually merged to form Tricycle Workers Association of Nigeria TWAN, an affiliate of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW.
However, disgruntled elements that are not in support of the merger of the associations, have alleged that they are not being carried along by the central body.
When Vanguard probed into issues confronting TWAN, it was discovered that the Lagos State government only intervened at the peak of the crisis urging the factions to come together. The state also showed no interest in the affairs of the association but only for maintenance of peace and sanity in the amalgamated association.
It was also discovered that the tricycle has created over 2,000 jobs for both graduates and non-graduates that are within the system thereby alleviating poverty. Even though there are disgruntled people, both parties have attested to the huge number of jobs being created by the tricycle business.
With this ability to provide meal tickets for thousands of Lagosians, no one can really claim that the tricycle have been a menance to the society.
The present Chairman of TWAN, Comrade Joseph Olu Odusanya who was the founding father of the tricycle operators in Nigeria 15 years ago and his executive members allege that the few people making false claims against the organization are not genuine members of TWAN.
According to Odusanya; “Any individual who feels he is not satisfied with the executive committee should come out openly and state his unit or branch.” He also stated that people that benefited from the several factions of the association will never support a union.
According to him: “Can a non-journalist challenge NUJ (Nigerian Union of Journalist)? When the ministry came into the affairs, the crisis was so tough, it was a terrible one where guns and cutlasses were freely used and the state government was forced to come into the issue, asking us to come together.
“We started this association in 1998 during Col. Buba Marwa’s era. We got it registered in the year 2000. “I am a member of the board and at the same time an active member. When I say an active member, it is not just staying at home, I am a part and parcel of this association from day one. When the association was in disarray in 2006, I rebuilt it.
“As at the time I resumed office, I set up a committee to harmonize everybody within the rank and file of the association. The next thing we did was that we wanted to know how many tricycles we have in Lagos. We went to the streets of Lagos to count them. These are part of the things that never happened before.
Opposing voice speaks
However, factional leaders disagree with Odusanya’s claim to his achievement.
According to Mulaila Adeola who belongs to the opposing faction, the present executive has not convinced him and others that the TWAN is progressing.
“We are not trying to remove anybody, but we want to have a sense of belonging. The process of governance should be clear to all of us. Is it a crime for someone to be unhappy about how his association is governed?
“I want the EXCO to come out and brief us how the association can have a strong hold in Lagos. Can you imagine members being harassed by police, local government officials and other just because there is not clear direction. The EXCO should make sure these issues are addressed.