Posted by News Express | 11 October 2020 | 308 times
By RAYMOND OZOJI, Awka
Discordant tunes amongst operators in the tipper industry of Anambra state seems to have approached its apogee as Great Tipper Drivers’ Association declares that it cannot be compelled to surrender to the whims and caprices of Anambra Tippers’ Association inaugurated by the state government.
Great Tipper Drivers’ Association posited that those whom it saw as contractors and no longer driving tippers cannot be in the headship of tipper drivers but those who were still driving tippers.
The association held that non-tipper drivers cannot run the affairs of those who were still behind the wheels neither can they handle the welfare of members.
President-General of Great Tipper Drivers’ Association of Nigeria Anambra State Chapter Nze Chukwuebuka Davidson Unekwe who made the position of tipper drivers known during an interview with our correspondent at the association’s office in Onitsha, maintained that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria granted all and sundry the freedom of association, stressing that everyone has liberty to belong to any association and operate within the ambit of the law.
Unekwe said, “My position as President-General of Great Tipper Drivers’ Association of Nigeria Anambra State Chapter is not self-imposed. We had election at Nkpor Civic Centre in 2018 with all the tipper drivers and I was lucky to be elected as the president-general.”
“Our Union is operating with only drivers on steering not contractors. Once you are not on steering, we will never allow you to be part of us because we have to see you on steering so that you know the challenges on the roads. You cannot stay in your house to answer tipper president without functioning on the road.
“So that is why our association is different from others. Once you are not on steering, you can never be the president of tipper drivers. I am still a driver with a tipper.”
Unekwe further disclosed that he was not informed of the election and subsequent inauguration of some dramatis personae by the state government to run the affairs of tipper drivers in Anambra state.
He said if the governnent was sincere about having an umbrella body to govern the tipper industry, it would have invited all the tipper drivers at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square Awka for a free, fair and credible election that would produce credible leaders for the tipper industry.
According to him, “Those people commissioner inaugurated are contractors not drivers. The person whom they said is their President-General has never driven a tipper for one day. Nobody will force me to join contractors. There is a big difference between contractors and drivers. Contractors are agents while drivers are the ones carrying sands.
“The former commissioner for transport wanted to inaugurate us but these contractors foiled it. They are collecting N700.00 per small tipper. N1500.00 per big tipper on every trip of sand. We said we don’t want it. That government should tell us how much they need so we can pay them monthly.
“All the money they collect does not go straight to government because they ended up in the pockets of agents. We resolved to pay government N39 million every month directly as IGR yet contractors and agents did not agree because of what they are collecting from tipper drivers.”
He also debunked allegations of the leadership of Great Tipper Drivers’ Association conniving with sand miners to collect illegal levies from drivers, saying that sand miners have a contributory scheme it termed welfare, where it raised funds to maintain the beaches so tippers won’t get spoilt while evacuating sands.
The Great Tipper Drivers’Association President-General in the state however pointed out that governnent officials were being economical with the truth and therefore blindfold the governor from the true position of events as evident in the said inauguration of contractors as leaders in the tipper industry instead of the real drivers who were on the roads on daily basis. (Sunday Independent)
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