OYO NURTW PROSCRIPTION: AKALA WAS RIGHT
Expectedly, the proscription of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), in Oyo State, by the state government has elicited reactions from the body and others. Instructively, the vociferous criticisms, coming from some so-called eminent politicians leave a sour taste in the mouth.
Given the criticism in a democratic setting is an important ingredient for the growth of our body polity, yet such criticisms should be in good faith, public interest and devoid of any political coloration. This should be so because the safety of life and property should not and cannot be compromised as doing so is detrimental to the survival of democracy.
The National Industrial Court (NIC) in its judgement reinstated the erstwhile chairman of NURTW, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola, a.k.a. Tokyo. As an advocate and supporter of the rule of law, the state government willingly accepted the verdict following which Tokyo, accompanied by the court officials and the officers and men of the state Police Command took over as the chairman of the NURTW.
The NIC obviously based on available facts before it, arrived at its decision which naturally is binding on all parties involved in the case. Unfortunately, the members of NURTW, probably because of their antecedents, backgrounds, and habitual disrespect to constituted authority failed to abide by the decision and resorted to violence, which is not only unacceptable but equally condemnable by all peace-loving people in the state.
Experience has shown that the NURTW is known for its violence and indeed anytime there is a clash amongst them on any issue, no matter how inconsequential, the aftermath of such clash is not palatable as this tends to lead to wanton destruction of property and loss of lives. The governor of the state as the Chief Security Officer will therefore not fold his arms and watch the lives of innocent citizens in danger.
It is rather unfortunate that the critics have closed their eyes to the reign of terror by the NURTW and have shamefully come out to criticize this laudable step of the governor to ensure that peace reigns in the state.
While government is not averse to criticism over any of its policies, yet such criticism should be based on charting a way forward for the enhancement of peaceful co-existence and harmonious living. Critics have missed the point as the governor took this decisive step in consonance with the existing laws of the land.
When the court delivered its judgment, it never encouraged the NURTW to take laws into their hands. It is unheard of for an organization to unleash terror, violence and engage in the disruption of the peace of the land as an aftermath of a judgement of a court of competent jurisdiction. The governor of a state as the Chief Security Officer will not fold his arms and watch the lives of innocent citizens to be in jeopardy.
Yes there is the freedom of association, yet it is not absolute, hence where the freedom to associate will threaten the lives of others in a given society, then it is incumbent on the Chief Security Officer to take a decisive step so as to protect the lives of its citizens and ensure that peace reigns in the society.
Consequently, the governor in his wisdom naturally took the most appropriate step to ensure that the lives of the citizens are well secured and protected. Indeed the governor acted in accordance with the laws of the land as contained in the relevant section of Criminal Code which expressly gives the governor the power and authority to declare any association or union considered inimical to the society as unlawful.
To those ignoramuses who claim that the governor acted ultra vires, it is advisable that they apprise themselves of the relevant law which gives the governor the authority to so declare the existence of such society/association/union illegal.
It is thereofore laughable, absurd and indeed inconceivable that an ordinary citizen can boldly state that he will disregard the governor's action of proscribing the NURTW, an act which was carried out in good faith, in the interest of the people and indeed strict compliance of the law as contained in Section 62 (a) of the Criminal Code. Is anybody above the law? Time will tell.
• Abraham Ojo is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Oyo State.