MC Oluomo you didn’t know | Dailytrust

MC Oluomo you didn’t know

  Musiliu Akinsanya (Oluomo)
Musiliu Akinsanya (Oluomo)

Many probably did not know that the Lagos State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has been enmeshed in crisis until this week when the man in the centre of the controversy, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo, was suspended.

His suspension was the culmination of weeks of tension that has trailed his disagreement with the national body of the NURTW under the leadership of Alhaji Tajudeen Baruwa.

Oluomo had earlier been queried by the union over insubordination and failure to carry out instructions handed to him by the national leadership of the union.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the disagreement between the state chapter and the national body was a fall-out of the emergence of Alhaji Azeez Abiola as the state chairman of the Tricycle Owners and Operators’ Association of Nigeria (TOOAN), an affiliate of the NURTW. The Baruwa-led NURTW had directed Oluomo to inaugurate Abiola as the TOOAN Chairman and hand over the secretariat of the association to him, which he allegedly objected to.

In the widely publicised reply of Oluomo to the query, he said the legality of TOOAN is currently being contested in court, saying he had not done anything ultra vires.

But Akinsanya’s suspension was the climax of the protracted battle between the state chapter and the national body.

As soon as his suspension was announced, Oluomo quickly convened a meeting of other branch leaders who make up the State Administrative Council of the NURTW to announce that they have decided to pull out of the union. Oluomo also directed the state government to immediately take over the management of parks and garages by appointing a committee that would run the affairs of the parks.

Though it was an advisory he issued to the state government, his admonition was swiftly implemented as the state banned activities of NURTW in the state.

“After considering the provisions of the law, the government hereby suspends the activities of NURTW, which must cease to operate in all parks and garages in Lagos State. The government will set up a committee to immediately take control of the parks and garages. Members of the committee will be key stakeholders in the sector.

“The government’s position is premised on its responsibility to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order in all parks and garages in Lagos State,” said the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho.

By implication, no NURTW leader can collect the normal dues from parks and garages in the hiatus period which implies that all the charges and remittances to the national body would stop forthwith which represents the whims and caprices of Oluomo and his loyalists and supporters.

According to analysts, the events of the last 48 hours have proved how powerful Oluomo is in the state’s political firmament. 

Who is MC Oluomo?

The name MC Oluomo rings a bell in Lagos. It connotes different things to different people. But the dominant is his membership of the NURTW which was what gave him prominence and shot him to limelight.

Born on 14th March 1975 in Oshodi, Lagos State, he has been a leader of NURTW, controlling his territory in Oshodi, one of the highly densely populated communities in Lagos State and a major transport interchange. Going by the population of the state, heading a unit of NURTW alone is a passport to stupendous riches.

With over 200 branches and hundreds of units, the union generates billions of naira on a daily basis from various motor parks and garages, as well as statutory dues by the operators.

Having been very popular in his domain, his ascension into the position of Treasurer in the previous NURTW executive headed by Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede further shot him into limelight and he became known as the richest Agbero in Lagos State.

In addition, he is also popular within the ruling oligarchy in the state which has fueled insinuation that he was always mobilizing thugs for the political leadership in the state during electioneering. But beyond the insinuation about Oluomo, he is largely known for his philanthropic activities in his domain. In the entertainment industry, he is also very popular through the massive support he offers for artists to produce movies.

Married to three wives, Oluomo has his children schooling abroad and his twins in December last year graduated from two United States universities.

With his rising fame and popularity in the state and the tenure of the former Chairman coming to a halt, it was expected that assuming the leadership of the union in the state would be a life-long ambition. This did not however come on a platter of gold as he almost lost his life in a bid to take over the leadership of the union that has given him huge opportunities and popularity.

Prior to his election, the NURTW in the state has always been divided into factions with members pledging allegiance to different factions. The factional crisis has often caused tension and anxiety in the state due to occasional skirmishes at motor parks and garages in the state.

It would be recalled that on January 2019 during one of the APC rallies ahead of the 2019 governorship election, there was a pandemonium when rival groups of the NURTW attacked each other, leading to the death of one Ismaila Azeez Ibrahim, popularly known as Legacy, while MC Oluomo who was then treasurer was shot.

Sources said Oluomo was then a target of the assailants and the plot was to silence him and prevent him from taking over as the NURTW Chairman in the state.

As fate would have it, he took over as the Chairman in September 2019 promising to take the NURTW to a higher pedestal. He is also aspiring to be the monarch of Oshodi which is presently generating controversy.

However, there have been mixed feelings over his decision to pull out of the union which shot him into limelight and gave him the platform which he has leveraged to attain wealth and prominence.

Considering that NURTW is a national union with presence across the country, will Oluomo now operate in isolation? At a time the 2023 election is taking shape, will Oluomo’s exit affect the political fortunes of his benefactor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who has declared interest in the 2023 Presidency?

Oluomo has over the years been an Asiwaju’s disciple. He is an ardent believer and adherent of the Asiwaju’s political ideology. Even before the APC leader declared for Presidency, NURTW banners have dotted the nooks and crannies of the state campaigning for the former governor. And other observers say the decision of the state government to ban the NURTW activities in the state after Oluomo pulled out had proved that the popular transporter enjoys the support of the state government.

Also on Friday, reports emerged that the state government had appointed him the Managing Director of the State Transport Parks and Garages Committee which was immediately debunked. But from all indications, there was no way such a committee would be constituted without the imprimatur of Oluomo as a major stakeholder in the state transportation landscape and “a member of the ruling class in the state.”

However, an aide to Oluomo, Jimoh Buhari, said contrary to the impression people have about NURTW, the union is not synonymous to thuggery, adding, it is this impression that Oluomo has tried to correct.

“People say we are being used by Tinubu as thugs but this is not true. Yes, most members belong to the APC but MC Oluomo is a member of APC as Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, not as NURTW Chairman,” he once told Daily Trust prior to the present crisis.

Weighing in on the NURTW controversy, an opposition party leader, Dr. Pearse Adetokunbo, said the NURTW issue has become “a real nose around the neck” in the state, saying there must be a federal law to guide their activities.

He said, “I think this whole issue of the Transport workers has become a real nose around the neck of the state. Every election, they are used as thugs to manipulate. Before elections, they are used as a source of collecting funds for the party.

“So, until there is a law, a federal law guiding the activities of such unions; if you know the history of unions in America, it was a war between the Federal government and the unions. But the unions became so powerful because they had access to so much money. They also have so much political power in America that they became a government of their own and they were very violent. They stepped up and abolished them.”

He stated that the state government cannot on its own address the problems of NURTW except there is a federal law guiding the union’s activities.

He said, “The state government will only do what is in his own interest, not in the interest of the citizens or the country. They are the ones that have been encouraging the unions, they are the ones that take sides to decide who gets what. They have been using the union to keep everybody in check. Whenever there is an election, they are the ones who snatch the ballot boxes, harass voters, Igbo people’s stalls are demolished and so on.

“Lagos State cannot solve the problem by itself. It has to be a federal intervention. Lagos State is only using the union as it suits the state government. Today they support Tinubu, tomorrow they support somebody else. You see them pushing for some of these people to become traditional rulers in Lagos.”

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