- Posted by Editor
- On January 28, 2020
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Crisis looms in Delta State branch of NURTW
By Barth Ozah
Leadership crisis has engulfed the Delta state branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, since the expiration of the tenure of the state chairman, Chief Ifeanyi Obi in September 2019.
The Urhobo Voice gathered that the union, which had enjoyed relative peace under the immediate past executive, is now in disarray over who becomes the state chairman. However, to avert crisis over the election of the substantive executive necessitated the setting up of a Caretaker Committee by the national body with Chief Dennis Araru as chairman.
The setting up of a caretaker committee, it was learnt, did not go down well with major stakeholders in the state who insisted that Delta central had chaired the union for 24 years, while Delta North has equally served for 8 years hence the needs for Delta South to take their slot.
The State Organizing Secretary of the union, Comrade Tony Igwebuike who spoke to newsmen, said the crisis is being fuelled by a chairmanship aspirant who would not subject himself to the process of election but would wants to be the chairman at all cost, claiming to have the backing of state government.
Comrade Igwebuike said the impending crisis over the election necessitated the setting up of a Caretaker Committee by the national body with Chief Dennis Araru as chairman.
He said after several failed attempts by the central body to get the contestants to agree to either go for the election or produce a consensus candidate, the National President, Professor Ibikunle Baruwa, decided to make Chief Araru the substantive State Chairman, after he was adopted by all branch chairmen in Abuja.
The Organizing Secretary pointed out that, Chief Araru was sworn in at a delegate conference in Asaba on December 17; 2019 after the state government deprived the union the use of the Cenotaph, where the event was earlier scheduled.
He said 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, without any attempt to talk it over with the union officials, describing the action as meddlesomeness and appealed to the state government to allow the new executive to function.
Contradicting the claims of the Organizing Secretary, the Delta State Commissioner for Transport, Hon Oghoore Oviemuno, who spoke on the issue, said the non recognition of Chief Dennis Araru as chairman by government and the setting up of a 21 man management Committee for the union was proactive measures to forestall crisis.
He explained that Chief Araru, who was made Caretaker Committee chairman because of his neutrality, took advantage of the position to install himself as substantive chairman, in connivance with the national body, without recourse to due process, describing the action as a security threat.
He said government had made frantic efforts to invite Chief Araru and his team for talks but to no avail, hence the setting up of a 21 man management committee to run the affairs of the union, with Chief Francis Ariyo as chairman.
The Commissioner said the national body of the union had been notified about the development, and denied an allegation that the state government was avoiding an audience with the National President, Professor Baruwa, on the matter, adding that the management committee would remain in place until normalcy returned to the union.
When contacted, the National President of the NURTW, Professor Ibikunle Baruwa, said the union was not aware of any crisis in its Delta state branch, stressing that Chief Dennis Araru was made substantive chairman in the interest of peace since the major contenders for the seat were on a war path.
He said the union’s constitution had no place for zoning of the chairmanship position