OYO STATE: The establishment of the new Park Management System (PMS) by Makinde-led govt is undemocratic and unconstitutional
SPN demands the restoration of NURTW under democratic management and control of elected representatives of commercial drivers an operators of motorcycles and tricycles
By Abbey Trotsky, Acting National Chair, SPN
The Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, Oyo State Chapter, faults the decision of the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to impose and force on mass of poor but struggling commercial drivers and operators of motorcycles and tricycles in the state a newly established park management system, PMS and appointed park managers for the control and management of parks, and quarries across the state. This decision is not only undemocratic and but also unlawful. It contravenes section 7(5) of the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended. According to this section, the control of the parks, markets, and abattoirs is stipulated to be the constitutional responsibility of the Local Government Council and not of the state government. It is only expected of the state government through the state house of assembly to enact a law that will enable the local government to effectively perform and carry out the stipulated function.
The appointment of Mr. Mukaila Lamidi as the chairman of the disciplinary committee of the PMS and some other known park thugs with proven records of criminal and violent activities as park managers clearly show that, the PMS in itself is a dubious agenda to return through the back door, the control and management of the motor parks, to the section of the park thugs that are loyal to the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government. Under this kind of arrangement one does not need to be a soothsayer to know that the exploitation, harassment including intimidation often suffered by mass of poor commercial drivers and operators of motorcycles and tricycles under the banned park thugs controlled NURTW will not only continue but deepen in multiple folds especially now that the PMS arrangement has provided an official and legitimate basis for the exploitation and extortion of poor road transport workers.
The SPN frown upon the continuous proscription of NURTW. It is illegal and undemocratic. We therefore demand the return of the NURTW. However the new NURTW must be democratically managed and controlled by transport workers (registered commercial drivers and operators of bicycle and tricycle across the state) with guaranteed right to freedom of association and election of leadership devoid of imposition, violence and thuggery.
While we recognize that the operation of the banned NURTW under the control and management of the park thugs is condemnable in all ramification, we do not believe that dastardly and criminal acts of a few known park thugs should be a strong reason to continue to deny other willing law abiding commercial drivers and operators of tricycles and motorcycles their fundamental right to association and peace assembly for an adequate defense and protection of both their economic and political rights.
NURTW like other trade union organizations such as NUT, NULGE is a registered union by the law and intended to be a union for interested road transport workers for the defense of their interest. As it obtains in other trade unions, members are meant to pay dues and democratically direct the affairs of the union through popular participation such as meetings, congresses etc. Proceeds realized from such dues are meant to be subjected to democratic and open administration of members through the co-ordination of their elected representatives strictly for the purpose of achieving the goal of the union. The proceeds realized from the dues paid by road workers are not meant for the advancement of the self-serving interest of the few individuals as we used to have it under the proscribed thugs controlled NURTW nor a means of generating revenues for the government as being proposed by Engr seyi Makinde-led government that will be largely stolen by the privileged few.
SPN rejects the argument by the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government that the range of levies planned to be imposed on poor commercial drivers and operators of motorcycle and tricycles are meant to boast the IGR of the state. If the transport operators are to be charged levies, such policy will have to be discussed with local government authorities and the transport workers with the aim of arriving at a levy/tax that is progressive and affordable, and such revenue generated are to be democratically transparently managed by government and transport operators for the purpose of developing the state and not to enrich the privileged few. We also demand that all big business owners and billionaires in the state many of who are currently enjoying tax holiday must be progressively taxed in order to raise some fund to finance public utilities.
The SPN therefore charges the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government that if truly it is interested to curb the usual violent activities that often associated with NUTRW, the solution is neither by the proscription of the union nor the establishment of unlawful management system but to sever its relationship with park thugs with known criminal and violent records in the state with a view to arrest them and prosecute them in accordance with the law.
We call on the state leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to initiate discussion with the state government with a motive to request all necessary logistics including provision of security that will be needed to convene a congress of all legitimate road workers in the state to democratically elect a new leadership for the union as a step to begin to reconstitute the union in the state. This we believe is the only step in the right direction!