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Published On: Wed, Jan 22nd, 2020

Leadership tussle rocks Delta NURTW as factions emerge

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From Nosa Akenzua, Asaba

Leadership tussle and its related activities have continued to unsettle the Delta state branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), leaving it into various factions.
Unlike other states where members of the union are regularly engaged in flexing muscle over control of motor parks, Delta state members had enjoyed unity among themselves until last year 2019 when some aggressive persons started making troubles to unseat the leadership without elections
It was gathered that the situation subsisted until 2019 when there was a disagreement over the leadership of the union at the state level, leaving tempers to have risen
The Chairmanship position of the state branch of the union became vacant following the expiration of one Chief Ifeanyi Obi in September,2019 who was the state Chairman for eight years of alleged tyrannical rule, especially as it relates to accountability.
Sources said that while the struggle to occupy the position persisted, factions within the union emerged and refused to shift their grounds, thereby forcing the state government to set up a Caretaker Committee as against the Constitutional rights. But the state Commissioner for Transport, Oghooore Oviemuno who spoke to our reporter in Asaba, explained that it was proactive measures to restore sanity to the union hence the Caretaker Committee as the union seemingly has been enjoying relative peaceful coexistence.
It was further gathered that Delta Central had been in the Chairmanship position for twenty four years while Delta North which Chief Ifeanyi Obi represented, served for eight years, a situation that erupted two major factions and Contenders for the Chairmanship seat: Chief Charles Kwode and Francis Ariyo in the race.
Speaking with Journalists in Asaba, the state Administrative Secretary, Comrade Tony Igwebuike alleged that Chief Charles Kwode was prepared for the election, while Francis Ariyo said he would not go for any election but would be the Chairman at all costs, claiming to have the backings of some powerful forces within the union, adding that the impending crisis over election necessitated the setting up of a caretaker Committee by the national body with Chief Dennis Arero as Chairman.
He had several failed attempts by the central body to get the two contestants to agree to either go for election or produce a Consensus Candidate, the National President, Professor Ibikunle Baruwa decided to make Chief Araro the substantive
State Chairman after he was adopted by all branch Chairmen in Abuja, pointing out that Chief Araro was sworn in at a delegates’ Conference in Asaba on December 17, 2019 in a hotel after the state government allegedly deprived the union the use of the Cenotaph Center for the election event
Comrade Igwebuike said that the union was shocked to learn that government did not recognize the new executive but instead set up a management Committee to run the affairs of the union allegedly without any attempt to take it over with the union officials.
The immediate past Chairman, Chief Ifeanyi Obi said that the choice of Chief Araro by the National President to lead the union would have erupted crisis, especially at various motor parks in the state and however appealed to the state government to resolve the differences as the present stance of government on the matter would not help the matters at present
He advised that the management Committee and the NURTW should work hand in hand to keep the motor parks functional, adding that no meaningful development can take place in crisis and rancor.
When Contracted, the National President of the union, Professor Ibikunle Baruwa said that the union was not aware of any crisis in its Delta state branch, stressing that Chief Dennis Araro was made substantive Chairman in the interest of peace since the major contenders for the seat were on the war path adding that the union constitution had no place for zoning of the Chairmanship position.
But the state Commissioner for Transport, Oghooore Oviemuno in a swift reaction said that the non-recognition of Chief Dennis Araro who was made Caretaker Committee Chairman was because of his neutrality, adding that he took advantage of the position to install himself as substantive Chairman allegedly in connivance with the national body of the union without recourse to due process, describing the action as security threats in the state
Oviemuno explained that the state government had made attempt to invite Chief Araro and his team for discussion to no avail, prompting the setting up of a 21- man management Committee to run the affairs of the union with Chief Francis Ariyo as Chairman adding that the national body of the union had been notified about development and denied an allegation that the state government was avoiding an audience with the National President, professor Baruwa on the matter.
The Commissioner stated that the management Committee would remain in place until normalcy returned to the union.

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