By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
There is no respite in sight for the Delta State branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) as the leadership crises affecting its activities as split members into two camps.
Unlike other states where members of the union are regularly engaged in flexing muscle over control of motor parks, the Union in Delta state had enjoyed peaceful transition of power.
But in 2019 some aggrieved members of the transport union started making moves to unseat the leadership without elections.
Trouble started when the chairmanship position of the state branch of the union became vacant following the expiration of the tenure of one Chief Ifeanyi Obi in September, 2019.
Sources said that while the struggle to occupy the position persisted, a new factions within the union emerged and refused to shift grounds.
This development forced the state government to set up a Caretaker Committee to oversee the activities of the Union.
The state Commissioner for Transport, Oghooore Oviemuno who spoke to our correspondent in Asaba, explained that the decision was a proactive measures by the government to restore sanity to the union.
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It was further gathered that Delta Central had occupied the Chairmanship position for twenty four years while Delta North which Chief Ifeanyi Obi represented, served for eight years.
The disagreement over whose turn is to produce the next chairman is at the heart of the crisis.
Contenders for the Chairmanship seat are Chief Charles Kwode and Francis Ariyo.
Speaking with Journalists in Asaba, the state Administrative Secretary, Comrade Tony Igwebuike alleged that Chief Charles Kwode was prepared for the election, while Francis Ariyo said he would not go for any election.
He claimed Ariyo said he would be the Chairman of the Union at all costs, claiming to have the backings of some powerful forces.
Kwode added that the current crisis over election necessitated the setting up of a caretaker Committee by the national body with Chief Dennis Arero as Chairman.
He stated that attempts were made by the central body to get the two contestants to agree to either go for election or produce a Consensus Candidate, but the move failed.
Following the development, National President, Professor Ibikunle Baruwa decided to make Chief Araro the substantive State Chairman after he was adopted by all branch Chairmen in Abuja.
He further pointed out that Chief Araro was sworn in at a delegatees’ Conference in Asaba on December 17, 2019 after the state government allegedly deprived the union the use of the Cenotaph Center for the event.
Comrade Igwebuike said that 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 discussion with the union officials.
The immediate Chairman, Chief Ifeanyi Obi said that the Chioce of Chief Araro by the National President to lead the union would have increased the crisis.
He, however, appealed to the state government to resolve the differences as the present position of government on the matter would not help the resolve the crisis.
Obi advised that the management Committee and the NURTW should work to keep the motor parks functional, adding that no meaningful development can take place in a crisis situation.
When Contracted, the National President of the union, Professor Ibikunle Baruwa said that the union was not aware of any crisis in its Delta state branch, stressing that Chief Dennis Araro was made substantive Chairman in the interest of peace since the major contenders for the seat were on the war path.
He added that the union constitution had no place for zonning of the Chairmanship position.