The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been making moves to illegally benefit from the agreement between the transport union, National Union of Road Transport Workers and the electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission for efficient logistics of election materials and electoral workers during elections.
Ahead of the 2023 elections, some state governments in the South-West, where the ruling APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu hails from, have suspended NURTW branches in their domains to give the party an unfair advantage.
In the place of NURTW, the state governments introduced a park management system and appointed their loyalists to administer the major parks, SaharaReporters learnt.
“We, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) had a memorandum of understanding with INEC for transportation of ballot boxes and their ad hoc workers as stakeholders.
“But I later found out that Lagos and most of the southwest states are suspending unions to pave the way for their loyalists to take over parks and garages to carry out those works for elections.
“So APC will transport the ballot boxes for the election of Ogun, Lagos, and Ondo states using their loyalists already installed to head the parks,” a source in the NURTW told SaharaReporters on Thursday.
“They have taken over in some states and moving to take over in others. They are using their loyalists as park managers,” another source said.
For instance, in April, Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu appointed Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo, a loyalist of Tinubu, as the head of a committee to oversee the affairs of all motor parks and garages in the state.
His appointment came hours after the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) sacked MC Oluomo as the Chairman of its Lagos State chapter.
The appointment was contained in a statement released by Gbenga Omotoso, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, announcing that the government set up the Parks Management Committee in fulfilment of the government’s promise to ensure that events NURTW were not allowed to threaten law and order.
“The government has, therefore, exercised its constitutional powers to ensure that no vacuum, which can disrupt the peace of our dear state, is allowed to exist in the parks,” the statement had said.
Ahead of the July 16 governorship election in Osun, there was a crisis in many motor parks in Osogbo, the state capital as some members of the NURTW in the state alleged that the leadership of the union was seeking an illegal extension of their tenure, calling on the state government to take over the motor parks and put them under a park management team as it is being done in Lagos, Ondo, Oyo and Ogun states.
In December 2018, INEC signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Abuja with transport unions for efficient logistics ahead of the 2019 general elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission required over 100,000 vehicles to deploy personnel and materials from state offices to 774 local government areas, 8,809 electoral wards and 119,973 polling units, which he said the commission could not undertake alone.
“In order to achieve this commitment, INEC requires over 100,000 vehicles. The logistical requirements are beyond the internal resources of INEC.
“It is for this reason that the Commission has been in partnership with NURTW for which an MOU was first signed with the union in January 2015,” he said.
In September 2021, INEC and the road transport unions met again to review the implementation of the (MoU) jointly signed ahead of the 2019 general elections and other polls.
NURTW and the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NATO) are involved in the agreement.
According to the Chief Technical Assistant to INEC Chairman, Prof. Bolade Ayila, the review of the MoU was necessary ahead of the Anambra governorship election conducted in late 2021 and the 2023 general polls.