Protesters Block Adigun, Factional Chairman PTD Lagos Zone, From Entering Ejigbo Depot As Osesua-Led PTD Gains Legitimacy
Protesters on Thursday blocked the entrance to the NNPC depot in Lagos State, preventing the factional Chairman of Lagos Zone of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) Branch of NUPENG, Saheed Gbolahan Adigun, and his entourage from gaining access to the facility.
The protesters, who were said to be loyal to the Comrade Lucky Osesua and Comrade Dayyabu Yusuf Garga faction of PTD, said they could no longer subject themselves to the leadership of Augustine Egbon who they claimed had betrayed them and turned them into slaves in the hands of their parent body (NUPENG).
The angry PTD members also decried the manner with which armed security agents came to the facility, noting that if there was any case of accidental discharge on Thursday or pulling of the trigger by an impulsive operative, the situation could have made the depot go up in flames.
They further alleged that Adigun intended to impose a caretaker committee on them on Thursday while also refusing to conduct a fresh election that would usher in fresh leadership at the unit in line with the Branch’s guidelines.
They also said should he succeed, revenue generated at the depot would be siphoned with no one having the courage to ask questions.
The protesters shouting in the Yoruba language “Ole” “Ole” (meaning thief, thief) were not deterred by the heavy presence of armed military operatives that came in with the convoy of the zonal Chairman to provide cover for him and those who rode in the white PTD branded Toyota Hiace bus with Lagos number plate, AP542VP.
Members of PTD at the NNPC Ejigbo unit, as gathered, were unhappy with how the union was being managed by the current leadership of both PTD Lagos Zone and the National leadership of NUPENG.
They were reported to have claimed that since Gbolahan attained office as Chairman of the Zone, there had been no record of transparency or accountability on all the resources being generated by the tanker drivers in the Zone.
“Our protest is going on peacefully today on Thursday. We don’t want Gbolahan and his people here in Ejigbo Depot; he has betrayed us; he should explain to us where he takes our money being generated every week. We can’t be working here under the sun and rain, and you will be taking our money to Ibadan every week. He can’t impose a caretaker committee here, we won’t allow them, we want an election, we want to freely choose those who will lead us without rancour. Enough is enough.
“See them bringing soldiers with arms and ammunition to silence, intimidate, harass, victimize, and bully us. The same thing we see at the Lagos Zone every day, we have Naval officers with ammunition manning the secretariat. How many of us can they kill? Is this the way the union is run? They have lost their legitimacy; that is why they are bringing soldiers to foist their leadership on us, and that can never work. This is not the same union that the late Frank Kokori, Akinlaja, Okuogbo, Akpatason, and Igwe Achese built. I wonder why EFCC, ICPC, NFIU, etc haven’t come to look at NUPENG’s shoddy financial records all this while.
“How on earth can you bring armed security agents to a petrol depot that houses highly inflammable products? What if there was a case of accidental discharge on Thursday or that a trigger-happy personnel pulled his trigger? The whole depot could have gone up in flames and lives and properties in the depot, and its environs could have been jeopardized.
“This is not the type of union that should be running our affairs; all they do is loot our resources, impoverish our members, and make them look like slaves and beggars, while they are building filing stations, mansions, hotels, parks, and buying cars for their women and sending their children abroad to school. Comrade Lucky Osesua and Comrade Dayyabu Yusuf Garga are leaders who mean well for the union. These are the type of people we can trust in the leadership of the Union. Workers inside the tank farm have joined the protest as we speak,” Faleti Taoreed, one of the organizers, said.
“Nobody is going in and out of the facility, we cannot support leaders who can’t protect our interests. We are the foot soldiers, yet they don’t reward our hard work. They are thieves. Akporeha, Afolabi, and Otunba should leave us alone and retire from the union immediately,” he said.
The crisis rocking NUPENG has been in the news since November 2023 as the Lucky Osesua-led faction has consistently condemned the posture of its parent union, which they said had been hijacked by the General Secretary, Afolabi Olawale, who they claimed is engaged in forum shopping, blackmail, contempt of Court and using sentiments to foist on Tanker Drivers, Federal Government and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry the leadership of Augustine Egbon, which is against the wishes of PTD members.