The leadership crisis rocking the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, has taken a new dimension, with the expulsion of the National President, Mr Osakpanwan Eriyo, by the National Executive Council, NEC.
The RTEAN’s NEC, which took the decision at an emergency meeting in Lagos on Tuesday, also announced the suspension of the union’s Secretary- General, Mr Ibrahim Yusuf.
It consequently announced the appointment of Alh. Mohammed Musa, the Deputy National President (Administration) and Mr Henry Ejiofor, the Deputy Secretary-General, as replacements for the duo, in acting capacity.
The NEC said that the expulsion of Mr Eriyo and Mr Yusuf followed allegations of fraudulent activities against them and the alleged creation of chaos in some state executive councils of the union.
Addressing newsmen after the emergency meeting, Alhaji Adamu Jalaludeen, the First Assistant National Secretary-General of the union, urged the government and the general public to stop recognising the duo as RTEAN officials.
Mr Jalaludeen alleged that Mr Eriyo, having been suspended and dismissed in 2017 for anti-union activities in Benin, enthroned himself through a coup in September 2018 as the de facto president, in connivance with Mr Yusuf.
“Within the past one year since the unconstitutional take over, our association has witnessed a drastic decadence and erosion of the values which it had stood for,” he said.
According to him, legal steps will be taken to ensure that the expelled national president and secretary-general are not seen close to the association’s secretariat.
Mr Jalaludeen alleged that the expelled members had an expansionist agenda of annexing and personalising various state chapters and enthroning their appendages and surrogates to perpetuate their corrupt practices.
He said that the agenda had seen a disruption in the union’s activities in Kaduna, Ogun, Niger and, more recently, in Lagos State.
Mr Jalaludeen also alleged that the duo had been involved in ticket racketeering, funds diversion and side-tracking of the NEC in decision-making, saying that no NEC meeting was conveyed before the dissolution of the Lagos chapter of the association’s executive committee.
He said that the Lagos executive committee had unanimously resolved to support the second term bid of the state chairman, and that the position was duly communicated to Mr Eriyo, who, he said, approved same.
NAN reports that the expelled national president had, in a statement on Sunday, announced the dissolution of the executive committee of the Lagos State chapter, citing expiration of their tenure on September 13 as reason.
Mr Eriyo announced the inauguration of a caretaker committee, headed by Alh. Suleiman Onigbanjo, to manage the affairs of the branch, pending the emergence of a new executive committee.
The state executive members, however, at a news conference on Monday in Lagos, described the dissolution as illegal, null and void, saying that their tenure would lapse on October 31.
They said that the resolution for the continuity of their executive committee had been passed at the chapel, zonal and state executive levels, adding that it had since been forwarded to the national body.
They said that the branch had also paid its dues to the tune of N60 million to the national body, alleging that Mr Eriyo’s move was to create crisis in the union which had hitherto been peaceful.
The emergency NEC meeting was attended by 28 national executive members of the union, drawn from 17 states of the union.
Reacting to the development on the telephone, Mr Eriyo dismissed his expulsion, saying that it could not stand, as Lagos State was not the National Secretariat to make such a pronouncement.