Samsudeen Apelogun is the national president of the Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners, Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN). In this interview with KUNLE OLASANMI, he speaks on welfare packages for members across the country.
How is the relationship of your association with relevant agencies in the transport sector?
Let me start by putting the record straight on some reports that have been going round. As far as ACOMORAN is concerned, there is no crisis at all. We are doing our business lawfully in our office and we have very cordial relationship with all the security agencies in the country. We are also working hand in hand with the federal ministry of transportation for the benefit of all our members across the country. I will seize this opportunity to put the record straight as regards the suit instituted by Alhaji Sani Hassan. Since the suit was filed before a Federal High Court, Abuja, Alhaji Hassan has been going around misrepresenting facts about the case all in a bid to score cheap points. He does not have the statutory powers to file the case because he is no longer our member. The case he instituted before the court has nothing to do with the leadership of ACOMORAN. In the suit, he is challenging the change of name of the association and why we included tricycle owners in the association. He has no statutory power to file the case and that is why our lawyer filed a preliminary objection to challenge the suit.
How did ACOMORAN come into existence as an association?
The five associations or unions went ahead to consult the Federal Ministry of Transportation that they need letter of recognition but the ministry told them that they don’t want to make the mistake they made during the recognition given to NURTW and RTEAN and advised that all the five bodies should form one formidable association. After the advice from the ministry, all the five associations went back and met and had a merger agreement that power will be shared within themselves.
At this point, we need to put the record straight on what transpired in court at the adjourned date.
What were the issues between Hassan and the previous administration?
After the registration of ACOMORAN, Sani Hassan was elected the National Secretary where he served for 10 years. After his tenure as the Secretary he wanted to become the president but the North where the presidency of the association was zoned to said if you are popular, you should not be afraid but he wanted to impose himself on the association but was resisted. They told him that if you want to contest indicate interest but we won’t allow you to impose yourself on us. After the election, Alhaji Shehu Babangida emerged as the president and Hassan immediately went to court. Hassan was never elected as the president of ACOMORAN at any point in time. He went to Abuja high court to challenge the leadership of Babangida and some board of trustees members. He got an order restraining the leadership of Babangida and others at that time about 10 years ago but the order was challenged at the Court of Appeal and the appellate court set aside the order saying that the lower court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the matter. With the judgement of the appellate court, all what we are doing had been authenticated. As we speak today, no appeal has been filed against the decision of the appellate court. The judgement gave us absolute right under the law to continue to do what we are doing. If he has any law or court order stopping us from doing what we have been elected to do, he should provide it.
But there are concerns over the factionalisation of the association…
There is nothing like faction in ACOMORAN. On February 28, 2017 when we had our national convention, we unveiled the new constitution and certificate in the presence of who is who in the transportation sector in Nigeria. Some of those who graced our national convention are the Minister of transport, Honourable Rotimi Amaechi; chairman Senate Committee on Transport, Alhaji Bariu Ashafa; chairman Senate Committee on Marine, Senator Ahmed Yerima; the Clerk of the House, representatives of Ogun State government and representatives of many state governors. On that day, the minister promised that he will ensure that they include us in the 2019 budget so that they will be able to cater for our needs by giving us soft loans so that we can use it to get tricycles for our members.
After our inauguration, a petition was written against us and the minister set up a committee and the committee invited both sides and heard from them and Hassan said if they go to CAC, they cannot see any trace of ACOMORAN and the Chairman of the committee said if you know that there is nothing like ACOMORAN, why are you agitating that you belong to the association. The chairman told him to leave us alone to run our association in peace. After the committee’s investigation, it was found out that they have their own association (NATOMORAS) in Abuja here which they are operating. He doesn’t have members, he is only struggling to survive. In ACOMORAN, there is no leadership crisis at all. We have partners and stakeholders that work with us. They usually come to our office to collaborate with us on many issues. We have so many prominent Nigerians identifying with what we are doing but same can’t be said of their association. When we went to Sokoto for National Council of Transportation meeting, they represented the interest of NATOMORAS and we were called upon to represent the interest of ACOMORAN. The memo they submitted at the meeting indicated NATOMORAS and not ACOMORAN. When we went for the same meeting in Akwa Ibom State, we were the ones that represented ACOMORAN, not them. They are not recognised by any of the state governors in the country. They are only paper tigers. Their operation is only on the pages of newspapers.
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