A chieftain of the Ogun State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), who is also gunning for the state chairmanship position of the union, Alhaji Akeem Bodunrin aka Iyeru has reportedly declared a total war against the National President of the union, Alhaji (Professor) Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa.
According to information made available to us, the relationship between Iyeru and Baruwa became frosty, when the latter won the election few months ago as the National President of the union.
A source had told us that Iyeru, who had been eyeing the position of the State Chairmanship of the Ogun State council of the NURTW, had been suspicious that Alhaji Baruwa would not approve of him (Iyeru) getting the enviable state chairmanship slot. Thus, Akeem Bodunrin (Iyeru) allegedly preempted all the actions of the new National President and raced to the court to get an injunction against the conduct of the state election, which was supposed to take place on October 23, 2019, but was postponed till a later date.
Apart from the court action, Iyeru and some members of the Ogun State NURTW wrote a damaging petition against the National President to the Department of State Security Service (DSS) and the Nigeria Police alleging threat to life. The petition to the DSS, which was addressed to the Director of DSS, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State and was obtained by this reporter, was dated 8th October 2019. It was jointly signed by Alhaji Akeem Bodunrin, Comrade Funlayo Odugbose and Alhaji Jamiu Balogun.
The petition was entitled; “Intent To Cause Mayhem In Ogun State By Some Aggrieved Members of NURTW And Group Of Hoodlums Operating Or Parading Themselves As Isolated Members of Prof. Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa, The National President of NURTW.” Iyeru and others stated in the petition that Professor Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa was officially opposing the decision of the state government in regard to the appointment given to Alhaji Akeem Bodunrin (aka Iyeru) to act on behalf of the Ogun State Government Transport Committee organised to collect revenue in Motor Parks in the state.
They alleged in the petition that going through the social media information, Professor Baruwa was now challenging the decision of the Ogun State Government Transport Committee with a threat to cause chaos and bloodshed in Ogun State Motor Parks “being his usual practice during the time he was the Chairman of the NURTW in Ogun State, which claimed many lives, the record can be verified at the Security Agencies Office.”
Iyeru and his team then called on the DSS to take action on the matter, adding that there had been relative peace in Ogun Motor Parks since Iyeru became the Chairman of the State Transport Committee. However, sources revealed that there had been plans by Professor Baruwa to appoint Iyeru as the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Ogun NURTW though the latter was said to be unaware of this.
We gathered that this decision was reached by Baruwa and Governor Dapo Abiodun of the state during a recent meeting between the two, where the Governor reportedly urged Baruwa to carry Iyeru along in the scheme of the things in the state. Professor Baruwa was said to have agreed with the Governor to officially “empower” Iyeru as the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Ogun State NURTW, “only for Iyeru to start approaching the court for injunctions and acting as if the Union is his personal property.”
In a Motion Exparte dated 22nd October, 2019 filed at the High Court, Ogun State in the Abeokuta Judicial Division, Iyeru urged the court to prevent Baruwa from conducting election into the union on 23rd October 2019 or anytime soon and or dissolving the elected executive members of the association in a “manner inconsistent with the provision of the Constitution of the National Union of Road Transport Workers pending the determination of the Motion on Notice in this suit.”
It was stated in the motion exparte that the ban placed on transport unions activities in the state was to allow for peace in the within the state, but that that Professor Baruwa and the Ogun State Council of NURTW amongst others were still “conducting themselves in a manner that could lead to a breach of peace and loss of lives and properties.” Iyeru and his supporters also sworn to an Affidavit of Urgency before the High Court of Ogun State in the Abeokuta Judicial Division Holden at Abeokuta. The affidavit was signed by their counsel, Chief Olusesan A. Bankole (Esq) of Chief Olusesan A. Bankolr & Co.
The Affidavit indicated that Comrade Haruna Adekunjo and Iyeru were bonafide members of the Ogun NURTW. It added that while Adekunjo is the Ogun State Council Assistant Organizing Secretary, Bodunrin (Iyeru) is the Vice Chairman of the Ogun State Council of NURTW and the person appointed by Ogun State Government as the Chairman of the Interim Committee on Transport as Sales Agent in respect of Government Revenue Collected from Transporters.
This was said to be after the ban placed on Transport Union activities in all parks and garages in Ogun State during National Union of Road Transport Workers working week. Unfolding events in the state indicated that Iyeru had been preempting the move of Alhaji Baruwa on the activities and management of the Ogun State NURTW. The matter was traced to the belief of Alhaji Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa that a transport union ought to be independent of the government as against what is happening in the state, where the transport committee was appointed by the state government. The next few weeks would decide what would happen in the Ogun State NURTW, while watchers of events insisted that the Ogun NURTW should be allowed to “control itself and appoint its leaders as it is happening in other states of the federation and at the national level.”