No fewer than 50,000 members of the Tricycle Owners/Operators Association (TOOA) will join the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), TOOA Chairman in Lagos State Comrade Joseph Odusanya has said.
Odusanya, who addressed reporters yesterday at Magodo, Lagos, said: “We are making history in the transport sector. We are breaking away from TOOA to become full-fledged members of the NURTW. Starting from Wednesday (April 24, 2019), the group will hold its meeting temporarily at Ketu from 12pm. We are no longer members of TOOA. We are now full members of the NURTW and we will start issuing NURTW tickets.”
He said they abandoned TOOA because of lack of decorum, violations of the constitution and utter disrespect for the leadership in the association, adding that the atmosphere at NURTW was more conducive for their operations.
“We want Nigerians to see that democracy is still the best. By virtue of that we will not indulge in thuggery or violence,” Odusanya said.
He urged members to display the highest level of sportsmanship and understanding of the law in their activities, saying they should not resort to violence when resolving disagreement. TOOA legal counsel Kabir Akanbi said the move was backed by the law, adding that Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution allowed the right to freedom of association. He said Article 5 of the NURTW Constitution allowed whoever had the interest to be members of the union.
“What TOOA members have done is within the confines of the law. They’ve once been with TOOA, but now they are saying they’re no longer with TOOA. You’re now full members of the NURTW rightly and constitutionally backed by the law of the land. They’ve not contravened any law and we are ready to challenge anything that poses a threat to our freedom as a people,” Akanbi said.
The Campaign Officer, Civil Liberty Organisation, who is also a TOOA ambassador, Mr. Babatunde Ashafa, described the move as a transition to democratic transformation.
He advised members to cooperate with their leaders, said, we say no to thuggery and undemocratic practices. This is a new dawn. Anything that will cause loss of lives or casualties, we stand to condemn it. We are transforming tricycle operations peacefully in Lagos and Nigeria.
Ashafa enjoined members to emulate the NURTW Chairman in Lagos State, Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede, for his approach in resolving disputes and problems.