Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Great Tipper Drivers’ Association and Anambra Tippers’ Association are two associations currently in supremacy battle over who should administer the affairs of tipper operators in Anambra state.
The state government had inaugurated Anambra Tippers’ Association as the umbrella body to oversee the activities of all other affiliate unions recognized by the association but Great Tipper Drivers’ Association seemed not to concur with the development on the grounds that those inaugurated by the state government were not real tipper operators but those allegedly imposed on them by government.
Although the state commissioner for transport Hon. Afam Mbanefo and other government functionaries observed the election of the state executives of the Anambra Tippers’ Association at the secretariat complex Awka where Prince Augustine Akaigwe emerged the President-General alongside other state officials, other tipper drivers carried placards and barricaded the entrance gate to the secretariat with their trucks, saying that they were not in support of the said election.
Mbanefo who performed the inauguration of Anambra Tippers’ Association stated that government had a meeting with tipper drivers and they were given a mandate to put their house in order; which he said they did as evident in the undertaking that they signed to be under one umbrella body.
The commissioner said the association was the first of its kind in the state and that the present administration provided the enabling atmosphere for the association to come to fruition.
He was of the opinion that any other group was at liberty to join the association as government would want to identify with all those in the tipper business under one association.
But other protesting tipper drivers did not agree with the commissioner’s position because they saw the election as subtle means to create confusion and rancour amongst tipper owners and operators in Anambra state.
National Secretary of the Great Tipper Drivers’ Association comrade Jerry Ifejika said those who were inaugurated by government to pilot the affairs of tipper operators were contractors and not tipper drivers.
Ifejika disclosed that tipper drivers had been agitating since last year for government to obey a certain judgement from the Federal High Court prohibiting all forms of illegal collections from tipper drivers but all the pleas according to him fell on deaf ears.
He said their lives had been threatened and equally alleged that government wanted to chase them away so it could inaugurate its own candidates, stressing that the inauguration was not the problem but the illegal collections imposed on them by government officials.
The National Secretary of Great Tipper Drivers’ Association further explained that they were not aware of the election and inauguration. He said what they wanted was for government to obey the judgment of the Federal High Court even as he made it categorically clear that the said inauguration of Anambra Tippers’ Association would cause more road blocks and agitations by tipper drivers.
Meanwhile, President-General of the new Anambra Tippers’ Association Prince Augustine Akaigwe assured government that the association would partner with it to enthrone sanity and orderliness in the operations of tipper drivers and owners in Anambra state.