Sanwo-Olu’s Compensation For MC Oluomo’s Insubordination To NURTW, A Timebomb Waiting To Explode

Posted on April 9, 2022

JIMOH QUADRI 

Walter Lippmann, one of the high priests of journalism once said that “wise men of power, who are given public trust should seek higher end, must be able to look at the picture beyond what comes up at the flash of Thinking”. 

Leaders, who desire to succeed, must not allow themselves to be hostage to narrow interests for in the end they lose out and become irrelevant when the big picture that was once a distant vision becomes the enduring reality.

In returning Musiliu Akinsanya or MC Oluomo, as he is popularly called, through the backdoor to Head the sensitive group of the Lagos State Motor Parks, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, seems to have missed the bigger picture.
But before proceeding into the analysis of that, let us go to the news proper.
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has appointed Musiliu Akinsanya to  head  a committee to oversee the affairs of all motor parks and garages in the state.”
“The appointment came hours after the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) finally announced the sacking of  Mr. Akinsanya (popularly known as MC Oluomo) as the chairman of its Lagos State chapter.”

“According to a statement credited to Gbenga Omotoso, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, the government set up the Parks Management Committee in fulfilment of its promise to ensure that events NURTW are 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 said.

“This is a duty we owe all Lagosians and visitors.”

Last month, the State Government had announced the suspension of NURTW activities in parks and garages across the state. The suspension then was also a reaction to the suspension of Oluomo by the National Headquarters of the NURTW.
The suspension was a sequel to a conflict between Mr. Akinsanya and the NURTW National body, which led the former to withdraw the membership of the Lagos State Council from the union.

On Wednesday,  it was reported that the NURTW National body had dissolved the Lagos State Council because of Mr. Akinsanya’s alleged insubordination and refusal to apologise.

According to the statement from Lagos State, Mr. Akinsanya will serve as the Chairman of the Committee, Hakeem Odumosu, the retired former Police Commissioner in Lagos, will act as the Government Liaison Officer. In rationalising the action, 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.”
“Members of the committee are to report to the Ministry of Transportation, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.”

The Government on March 10 suspended NURTW operations in all parks and garages, following the tension sparked by some events in the union.
Governor Sanwo-Olu has from time to time demonstrated a lack of firmness and consistency in handling of some issues in the state; in spite of his sterling performance.
During the #EndSARS protests, there were a lot of gaps in the way the contentious matter was handled, and till date, the perception of government’s handling is not a good public image model.
The greatest faux pas, which may have deep ramifications for peace, which the Government has committed is returning Akinsanya to power brazenly.  The impression recalls the mafia- cum gangster movies: The Godfather, where some individuals are seen to be more powerful than the state.

The Government should know that when a decision assaults reason it may not be long before it boomerangs.
The 2023 elections are going to be different from the previous elections, and it will be an infantile error on the part of authorities in Lagos to think that one person by virtue of his antecedent can deliver electoral win in any contest on the basis of stealing votes using violence.
The Federal Government is watching, and Lagos will be under surveillance, and whoever is having funny idea may be shocked that the context, time and variables have changed.
Intelligent Lagosians are watching how a government built on the will of the electorate can turn out to be hostage to narrow interest of one individual believed to have the instrument of violence to bring electoral win.
Is Lagos State saying there are no credible and competent individuals within the folds of the union in Lagos who can do the job?
Only last week, there was a rumour that a certain individual in the union on suspension was threatening not to support the Governor’s re-election. The new appointment in this wise, may be seen as panic button reaction to a threat from a non state actor to withdraw support.
Lagos should be spared this kind of absurd chess game that does not show a deep understanding of the game of power.
Leaders should be above any fray, and in acting as arbiter,  in any contentious issue that involves different parties,it should be above board, that is the hallmark of leadership.
The National Body of NURTW in Abuja took action in respect of what it believed was a crisis in Lagos.

According to the National Body of the Union, Comrade Akinsanya refused to abide by the decision of the body, which means he set himself above the highest echelon of the body, the decision-making organ,and even went as far as pulling out the State chapter from the National Body.
In doing this, he has displayed lack of respect for constituted authorities, only for him to be rewarded through this new appointment for disobeying constituted authorities.
The action of the Lagos State government simply tantamount to putting official stamp to Akinsanya’s rebellion.
Through the backdoor, Lagos State has restored to him the control of the parks.Government ought to have initiated resolution mechanism by facilitating a discussion with the National headquarters of the transport union in Abuja; instead of sabotaging its decision.

The action of the state is an invitation to chaos as the National headquarters may decide to appoint their own Chairman in the state.
In case this happens, how will the two drivers function in the state without a recourse to violence and disturbance of public peace?
It is difficult to fathom what the State Government wants to achieve by this action. Lagos State Transport union has long been associated with political patronage, be that as it may, this is not the time to play politics; as the likelihood of its backfiring is high.
The matter, which the government is yet to settle, is how to make the union under Akinsanya to respect the decision of National headquarters of the transport union to allow the leadership of Tricycles Owners and Operators of Nigeria (Lagos chapter) to continue to operate unhindered without interference from Akinsanya or anyone; since tricycles are different from vehicles.It was when Akinsanya came onboard that the crisis erupted.

It should be borne in mind that Lagosians are politically conscious now more than ever before, and the permutations of last election may not work for and in 2023.

The handwriting is on the wall, and the #EndSARs protests were just samplers that Nigerians may have found new way of getting back their power.

So, replying on thugs to win election may not work this time. Only last week, some highly respected voices spoke about the new thinking.
Pastor Adeboye and other Christian leaders, as well as many credible voices have recently spoken about people massively registering and protecting their votes. The Imam of Apo village in Abuja resonated this feeling that Nigerians are being pushed to the wall by the foolish actions of their leaders.
Oluomo only has one vote, and he may contend with a determined Federal might if he wants to subvert the will of Lagosians. 

The political temperature of Lagos under Buhari watch should have been a reminder to authorities in Lagos that it may not be business as usual.

The Lagos State Government should have a rethink, so that it will not be responsible for plunging the state into crisis.

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