As initially speculated, the Lagos State government has appointed the sacked stalwart of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State, Musiliu Akinsanya, as the chairman of its newly constituted Parks Management Committee.
Akinsanya, widely known as MC Oluomo, is the former chairperson of the NURTW for Lagos State before the national body suspended and finally sacked him from the office on Wednesday April 7, 2022 over alleged acts of insubordination and abuse of office.
A statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, which went viral today Thursday April 7, 2022 titled, ‘Lagos government sets up Parks Management Committee’, said the new committee would be overseeing the affairs of all motor parks and garages in the state.
An ex-Permanent Secretary, Taiwo Salaam, was appointed the secretary of the committee, while Sulyman Ojora was appointed the deputy chairman.
Also, a former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, was appointed the Liaison Officer between the government and the committee.
The state government said the appointments were a fulfillment of its promise to ensure that events in the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) were not allowed to threaten law and order.
The statement read, “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. This is a duty we owe all Lagosians and visitors.”
Other members of the committee are Olayiwola Lemboye, Mustapha Adekunle, Ganiyu Shittu, Mukaila Runsewe, Sulyman Yusuf, Mufutau Mutiu, Yinka Hassan, Sunday Ogunleye, Moshood Omojowa, Ismaila Aigoro, Ibrahim Yusuf, Akeem Tijani, Mrs Omolabake Adelakun, Kazeem Hassan, Wasiu Amole, Ganiyu Ayinde, Anthony Adeyinka Adeboye, John Victor Owolabi, Saburi Salami, Ibrahim Onitiju and Gbenga Odusanya.
It is not immediately clear if the Ganiyu Ayinde on the list is the same Ganiyu Ayinde Oyedepo, alias Koko Zaria, Akinsanya’s right-hand man and chief enforcer of the dissolved Lagos NURTW dues-collection activities. Both Akinsanya and Oyedepo boast of imposing hotels in Lagos State.
The state government had initially denied the speculation it would be appointing Akinsanya chairman of the Parks Management Committee when it was eventually constituted.
Although Akinsanya’s sack as Lagos NURTW chairman and dissolution of the Lagos executive council was confirmed in a statement yesterday signed by the union’s National President, Tajudeen Baruwa and General Secretary, Kabiru Ado Ya’u, the sacked stalwart had described the decisions as “a joke and laughable.”
The Lagos NURTW seems to have ignored the suspension and sack decisions anyway as, as observed by The ICIR, its enforcers have continued to collect dues from commercial bus drivers and commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders, although they now operate in mufti on the streets, unlike in the green and white NURTW uniform they were donning to operate before the national body’s hammer.
The ICIR last year did an expose on the money-spinning, dues-collection racket run by the Lagos NURTW and ruthlessly supervised by Akinsanya. The investigation estimated the annual collection from the racket to be N123 billion.
Lagos NURTW enforcers were notorious for taking no prisoners in the collection of dues unilaterally imposed on commercial drivers and commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders by the state chapter of the union. The enforcers would callously beat up drivers and riders slow to comply, or damage their vehicles. The police always looked the other way while the harassment lasted.
Akinsanya, who has always been regarded by keen analysts of Lagos politics as very close to the topmost leaders of the ruling party in the state and, therefore, untouchable, was seen conspicuously attired in the All Progressives Congress uniform at the party’s last convention in Abuja on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
By establishing the Parks Management Committee and installing Akinsanya as its chairman, the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is borrowing from the template of his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, who, in February 2020, in dissolving the Oyo State chapter of the NURTW, constituted a Parks Management Committee and made one of the warring lords of the union in the state, Lamidi Mukaila, alias Auxiliary, its chairman.
Both Lagos and Oyo NURTW were notorious for many bloody clashes over leadership tussles and dues collection, resulting in the loss of many lives and destruction of property.