Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The South West Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde, fondly called ‘Fele’ is dead.
Oyerinde was also the chairman of the union in Oyo State.
He was said to have died, on Tuesday afternoon, at the Zenith Medical Kidney Hospital, Abuja, and he will be buried in his house at Elebu, Ibadan, on Wednesday morning according to Islamic rites.
But the circumstances that surrounded his death were still sketchy at the time of filing this reports.
Oyerinde, who became the state chairman of the union in 2011, started transport business from being a bus conductor in 1975, got his first driver’s license in 1979, became a full-fledged member of NURTW from 1983 till date.
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National President of NURTW, Alhaji Najeem Yasin, who broke the news in a special release from Saudi Arabia, directed that vice chairman of the union in the state, Alhaji Abideen Olajide (also known as Ejiogbe), should replace Oyerinde as chairman of the union in acting capacity with immediate effect.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi, however, has agreed with the national body of NURTW that Olajide should fill the vacuum created by Oyerinde’s death in acting capacity saying, “I urge our drivers to respect this decision and go about their lawful activities without rancour.”
The national NURTW boss, who made the announcement, monitored on a private radio station in Ibadan, Petals FM 102.3, described Oyerinde’s death as unfortunate, saying he was a man of peace.
Yasin, who spoke in Yoruba at some minutes past 7:00p.m, stated: “With a heavy heart, I announce the death of one of the leaders of this union, who was the Oyo State chairman and also the chairman for the South West of the union, Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde, popularly known as Fele, died this afternoon (Tuesday) at Zenith Medical Kidney Hospital, Abuja.
“We have made arrangements to bring his corpse to Ibadan and the corpse is on transit to Ibadan now. The corpse will get to Ibadan tomorrow morning (today).
“He will be buried between 9am and 10am tomorrow by God’s grace at his house at Elebu, Ibadan. May God forgive his sins. May God be with everything he left behind. May God stem the tide of such unfortunate occurrence among us.
“I am talking to you from Saudi Arabia. I am in Minna. When he died, I was the first person the hospital called and informed about his death.
“According to the law of our union, we have approved the appointment of Alhaji Bideen Ejiogbe, who is the deputy chairman in Oyo State, to be the acting chairman. We urge all members of the union to cooperate with him. May God uphold the union.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ajimobi, has described the death of Oyorinde as very ‘depressing and tragic’.
In a statement issued by Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy to the governor, Mr. Bolaji Tunji, on Tuesday, Ajimobi said he received the news with heavy a heart and utter disbelief, describing the death as a huge loss to the family, the state and the South West. The governor said he was particularly pained because he had lost a dependable ally and purveyor of peace.
“I enjoin the good people of Oyo State to be vigilant around the motor parks and report any act capable of breaching the public peace without delay. May Allah repose the gentle soul of the deceased and grant him the highest place in Jannah,” he said.
The governor sued for calm and admonished the NURTW leadership in the state to eschew violence or leadership tussle at this time when he said they should maintain sobriety in honour of the deceased.