ON August 29, 2019, the former President of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Najeem Usman Yasin, at a well attended and colourful ceremony, inaugurated Prof. Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa as the 8th president of the union.
Since his assumption of office about two years ago, Prof. Baruwa has not hidden his desire to uplift the union to an enviable height in the comity of trade unions in the country.
Right from day one, Prof Baruwa has left no one in doubt about his love to turn the fortunes of the union around. Speaking at the inauguration of his presidency two years ago, he verbalized his determination to uplift the union when he said, “In fact, I am highly honoured and overwhelmed as l stand before you today as the new and 8th president of our great union. Today marks a turning point and new dawn in the administration of the union.”
And as expected, Prof Baruwa did not waste time in ensuring that the union under his leadership started to enjoy the dividend of good leadership.
However, as it is usually the situation whenever a new administration is beginning to find its roots, certain teething problems usually spring up and Prof Baruwa’s leadership was not an exemption to this.
It confronted some teething or what is known as take off challenges, but Prof Baruwa, being a thoroughbred trade unionist, has been confronting these challenges head on, hence the union is heading toward the right direction.
Apart from the usual challenges , the issue Covid-19 pandemic equally affected the rate of accomplishments one would have expected. Shortly after assuming the union headship, the problems of Corona V irus(Covid19) took the world by the storm. And government at various levels took measures to curb the menace. One of such measures was total lockdown of the country. And one sector that was badly affected by the lockdown is the transport sector. Vehicles were not moving and this really affected the revenues accrued to the union and welfare of members.
And as if that was not enough, hardly had people started settling down from corona virus issue when the ENDSARS riot started. And as expected the economy was equally grounded during this period. Some members of the union also had their vehicles and property destroyed during the pandemonium.
However, despite all these gloomy incidents, the union in the last two years has been able to achieve many landmarks successes.
Under the Baruwa presidency, it has been two years of uninterrupted peace and harmony among members of the union. Unlike in the past when the union was always in the press for bad reasons, there is peace everywhere in all the state councils.
He was able to achieve this by laying good example. As a man of peace, he has been able to convince his followers that peaceful coexistence is the way out as no meaningful achievement could be recorded without peaceful coexistence.
Another plus is that the union under Prof Baruwa was able to conduct peaceful and rancour free state delegate conferences in state councils of the union. This is a big achievement considering the situation before where state delegate conferences were usually bloody and deadly. Under Baruwa presidency, the state conferences of the union went well as members at state level were able to elect their leaders for four years
Another major achievement of the union under his leadership is the fact that the union was able to pay salary of its members and staff despite the challenges of Covid-19 and ENDSARS crisis. This was despite the fact that the revenue and other sources of generating money were badly affected during the period.
This is a big deal if the fact that some state governments and agencies were unable to pay salary is considered. Some agencies even went to the extent of downsizing.
With this, it is very clear that Baruwa has lofty plans to raise the standard of the union. It is hoped that now that the coast is clear, men of the NURTW will now see their action president in action.
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