Crisis within Nigerian e-hailing drivers union: faction seeks removal of Adedamola Adeniran-led executives

Ejike Kanife
AUATON is now a house divided as factions have emerged within the union
AUATON faction emerges, seeks removal of Adedamola Adeniran’s executives

One short year after its incorporation as a government-approved pressure group, Africa’s only e-hailing union, the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria (AUATON) is now a house divided against itself as factions have emerged within the union. This was disclosed to Technext by the founding General Secretary of the union, Comrade Ayoade Ibrahim.

Speaking with this reporter, Comrade Ibrahim who is a leader of the emerging faction, where he is serving as its Acting Secretary, said that the new faction is led by an executive, David Nosa who was elected during the faction’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting which held on June 25.

For your information, we have two factions within AUATON now. Our faction is led by David Nosa Aigbornan. And, We are presently in court to challenge the current executives because based on our constitution, they are no longer members of AUATON,” Comrade Ibrahim said.

He also insisted that the incumbent President, Comrade Adedamola Adeniran, is a staff of the National Institute of Police Studies. And, this disqualifies him from holding executive positions within the union. He also accused Adedamola of intimidating him (Ibrahim) and other factional executives with the police to strongarm them into dropping their suits.

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Comrade Ibrahim Ayoade

The police invitation letters made available to this reporter were issued on June 28, 2024, over 3 months after the March 8 date on the court documents. The police invite letters also disclose that Comrade Ibrahim is being investigated for alleged criminal conspiracy, impersonation, fraud and conduct likely to cause breach of peace.

They were asked to report to the Force CID Headquarters in Abuja on July 2nd.

The suit challenging Adedamola Adeniran and others as AUATON executives

The new AUATON faction also revealed that it initiated a suit at the Industrial Court challenging the legitimacy of the current AUATON executives. In the court documents seen by this reporter, members of the faction are seeking interpretations of several aspects of the union’s constitution.

In the suit challenging the position of the President, Adedamola Adeniran, the faction is seeking interpretations to sections which provide that persons who are not self-employed app-based workers cannot be members and that a public officer cannot stand for nomination to be elected as an officer of the union.

Particularly, the faction is seeking clarification about the position of Adedamola Adeniran who is a public officer, working at the National Institute of Police Studies. As such, they are arguing that he is not qualified to be a union member and certainly not an executive.

The faction is asking the court to invalidate Comrade Adedamola Adeniran’s membership and nullify his position as an officer of the union. They are also seeking an injunction restraining Adedamola Adeniran from parading himself as president.

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Adedamola Adeniran

Other officers to be affected by the outcome of the judgement include Adedamola Adeniran, Jolaiya Seun, Emeka Emorole, Aleburu Fred, Akolawole Aina, and Joseph Olawale Adaraniwon, the current national Ex-officio.

Reacting to the development, the National Ex-officio of the Adedamola Adeniran-led executives, Joseph Olawale told this reporter that the union is not factionalised or in any crisis. He said Comrade Ibrahim is only trying to divide the union because he was kicked out of office by the Central Working Committee.

He maintained that the former general secretary’s removal followed the due process as prescribed by the union’s constitution and is in conformity with a peaceful co-existence memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by all the national officers of the union with the Federal Ministry of Labour’s Office of the Registrar for Trade Unions in December 2023.

It’s not unexpected if the general secretary is thinking or projecting to factionalise the union because he was dismissed. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) industrial relation and conflict resolution committee is mediating on the matter without undermining the supremacy and integrity of the union’s constitution even though these individuals want to dictate their principles in a bid to subjugate the union’s constitution to project division in the union,” he said.

He further accused the former secretary-general of fraud and nepotism in another app worker’s association, the International App Alliance Transport Workers (IAATW), a situation which he claims has led to his suspension from that association.

But Comrade Ibrahim denied the accusations, insisting he is still a member of IAATW’s board of directors. He asked the Ex-officio to stick to the affairs of AUATON and provide evidence of fraud against him at the AUATON rather than deflecting by dabbling into the matters of the IAATW, an organization that is completely different from the AUATON.

See also: Nigerian drivers’ union may launch taxi-hailing app to rival Uber, Bolt and others

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