E-HAILING drivers, under the umbrella of Professional E-hailing Drivers and Private Owners Association of Nigeria (PEDPAN), have sacked their president, Idris Oluwaseun Shonuga, from office over allegations of gross misconduct and fraud.
In a statement received by The ICIR on April 2, 2022, the National Publicity Secretary of PEDPAN, Joseph Olawale, said that Shonuga abused his power by suspending the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) in contravention of its constitution.
The statement also accused the sacked president of concealing and converting business agreements with partners for personal gains and forgery.
It added that an emergency NEC meeting held on March 31, 2022 abolished the previously adopted 2020 PEDPAN constitution and affirmed the removal of the embattled president. The meeting also supposedly adopted the March 2022 constitution and presented the reviewed document for ratification and approval.
The statement read, “The NEC, in a unanimous decision, affirmed the removal of PEDPAN former president, Comrade Idris Oluwaseun Shonuga, on the grounds of gross misconduct and abuse of office power; unlawful suspension of NEC members in contravention of the PEDPAN constitution; unlawful removal of NEC members across all PEDAN WhatsApp platform; unlawful deletion of PEDPAN Telegram platform with over 3,000 followers; concealment and conversion of business agreements with partners for personal gains; forgery and impersonation of trustees’ signatures for bank account opening.
“Failure to comply and implement the solidarity accord (MOU) he voluntarily signed at the TUC office on 10th February, 2022; conspiracy and immoral relationship between the president and the national secretary, Comrade Ajani Titilayo Islamiat to perpetrate fraud against the association, misrepresentation and personalisation of the association for personal benefits; and conducting self as Lord over every member and the e-hailing drivers community.”
The statement declared that Shonuga had no right to perform any responsibility officially or unofficially on behalf of PEDPAN, with immediate effect from March 31, 2022.
It also noted that the association unanimously voted for a motion seeking to remove Comrade Ajani Titilaye Islamiat as the national secretary of PEDPAN on the grounds of conspiracy to defraud the association, non-performance of official responsibilities, and collusion with the ex-president to bring the association to disrepute. It added that the assistant national secretary, Comrade Sam Orji, was unanimously approved to resume in acting capacity as national secretary.
The statement stressed that the latest development was aimed at restructuring and reshaping PEDPAN’s objective in favour of its members, the e-hailing drivers community at large, and its partners.
Olawale alleged, in a telephone interview with The ICIR, that Shonuga attempted to divert the association’s account for his personal gain.
He said, “We have a partnership with Lag rides and we helped them to fine-tune and test the app. There was an initial arrangement between PEDPAN and the rides. Unfortunately, Idris Shonuga fashioned a way to sideline all the executive members of the association and engage in a sole conversation with the organiser, which is the Lag ride.
“Again, he opened an account with Polaris Bank by forging the signatures of two of our trustees. In fact, that one is a criminal offence, and we are taking that up with the police. He forged the signatures of these guys, opened the account in our association’s name and designated it to Lag Ride. There are some particular dues that the association should be getting from the commission of that business.
“He denied the association in getting this fund and went ahead to open the account without the knowledge of the executive members, while forging their signatures. He never disclosed it to the association. All these issues have been on since last year. He refused to implement any of our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). He went ahead to suspend the executive members, which he had no power to do.”
Affirming the removal, the National Vice President of PEDPAN, Comrade Jolaiya Seun Moses, also in a phone call, said Shonuga was removed from office for not being transparent with the association, while refusing to honour a 17-point solidarity accord signed by all members of the association.
Moses said, “It is not a suspension but a removal. He was removed on failure to give an account for the past two years of being in office, as well as for abuse of office. The NEC had tried to caution him since last year, but he chose to pick fights between himself and the entire NEC members.
“At a point, it took the intervention of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) that brought up 17 points of the MoU, which he refused to honour. After the due date, a unanimous decision led to his removal and he ceases to be the president of PEDPAN.”
Moses noted that he, the Vice President, was stepping in in that capacity until the association’s election takes place in three months’ time.
The Secretary of TUC, Lagos State Council, Abiodun Aladetan, said the PEDPAN union had not been fully structured. He called for peace among the NEC members in the interest of the average drivers operating on Uber and Bolt platforms.
Aladetan said, “It is not a union that is properly structured. It is just a few pioneer people that started it and created offices for themselves. If anybody is removing anybody, the question is what constitutional provisions are they relying upon to do that?
“What we have been doing is to let them come together. The removal is not an issue because it is not a registered trade union for now. The aim is to get the union registered, and that is a very complex issue. We are trying to bring all the e-hailing drivers together to be united in the interest of the average driver on the street who continues to go through dehumanizing conditions as a result of the app company.
“Those guys who are suspending, what are they relying on? Even the president cannot suspend people. It is the NEC that has the power to suspend before moving to a delegate conference. A would suspend B by mouth. They all have factions.”
The embattled PEDPAN president, Shonuga, maintained he was still in charge of the association. He did this in a text message he sent to The ICIR after he was consulted on the matter.
“I remain the National President of Professional E-hailing Drivers and Private-Owners Association of Nigeria, PEDPAN. There are a few disgruntled members who were disciplined for their gross misconduct. Everything is okay with PEDPAN,” he responded.