Political parties in Oyo State yesterday rejected attempt by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hire 27,000 vehicles from the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to convey and distribute staff and electoral materials during the forthcoming elections.
Representatives of the Labour Party, Accord Party, Social Democratic Party (SDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Independent Democrat unanimously rejected the use of NURTW’s vehicles and drivers.
But the, representative of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state sat on the fence, neither welcoming it nor disapproving of it.
At a forum with the resident electoral commissioner, Ambassador Rufus Akeju, in Ibadan, they stoutly rose against the pact, alleging that they knew who the union members would work for during the elections.
Chairman of the Labour Party in the state , Gbenga Olayemi, said that Oyo State was peculiar in terms of the activities of the transport union.
“We know who the NURTW members are working for here, so we disagree with the process of partnering with NURTW. Oyo State is peculiar.
If such an agreement works in other states, we know it will not work here because of the way the unionists are handled”, he said.
The publicity secretary of the Accord Party, Dr. Nureni Aderemi, also supported his colleagues from LP, saying that “No serious-minded party that wants to contest will support alliance with the NURTW.
We know who they are and who they are working for. This national decision is not acceptable to us in Accord. Oyo is a very politically-volatile state.”
As an alternative however, Adeniran suggested that security agents should be involved in the handling of the drivers and the vehicles according to the law “So that any driver who works contrary to the laid down procedure can be dealt with according to the law”.
SDP, APGA and Independent Democrat also advanced similar arguments, but Mojeed Olaitan, secretary of the APC said, “We don’t condemn or welcome hiring the NURTW vehicles because we were not part of the agreement. What those who are kicking against the idea are afraid of is their past. It is their past that is haunting them.
“The NURTW members in Oyo are now re-modelled. Some of them now use ipad and they browse. I commend the state governor for this innovation.