– members are unhappy, says beleaguered president
E-HAILING drivers, under the umbrella of the Professional Drivers and Private Owners Association of Nigeria (PEDPAN), have sacked their chairman, Idris Oluwaseun Shonuga, from office over allegations of gross misconduct and fraud.
In a statement received by CIRI on April 2, 2022, PEDPAN National Publicity Secretary Joseph Olawale said that Shonuga had abused his power by suspending the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) in violation of its constitution.
The statement also accuses the sacked president of concealing and converting business deals with partners for personal gain and forgery.
He added that an emergency meeting of the NEC held on March 31, 2022 abolished the previously adopted PEDPAN 2020 constitution and affirmed the impeachment of the embattled president. The meeting would also have adopted the March 2022 constitution and presented the revised document for ratification and approval.
The statement read: “The NEC, in a unanimous decision, upheld the removal of former PEDPAN Chairman, Comrade Idris Oluwaseun Shonuga, for gross misconduct and abuse of office; illegal suspension of NEC members in violation of the PEDPAN constitution; illegal removal of NEC members from across the PEDAN WhatsApp platform; illegal suppression of the PEDPAN Telegram platform with more than 3,000 subscribers; hiding and converting business agreements with partners for personal gain; falsification and impersonation of administrators’ signatures for opening bank accounts.
“Failure to comply with and implement the Solidarity Agreement (MOU) which he voluntarily signed at the TUC office on February 10, 2022; conspiracy and immoral relationship between the President and National Secretary, Comrade Ajani Titilayo Islamiat to perpetrate fraud against the association, misrepresentation and personalization of the association for personal gain; and behave as the Lord of each member and the online driver community.
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The statement stated that Shonuga had no right to exercise any official or unofficial responsibility on behalf of PEDPAN, effective immediately from March 31, 2022.
He also noted that the association had unanimously passed a motion to dismiss Comrade Ajani Titilaye Islamiat as National Secretary of PEDPAN for conspiracy to defraud the association, non-execution of official responsibilities and collusion with the ex-president to bring the association to discredit. He added that Deputy National Secretary Comrade Sam Orji has been unanimously approved to resume his duties as Acting National Secretary.
The statement pointed out that the latest development aims to restructure and reshape the purpose of PEDPAN in favor of its members, the community of online call drivers and its partners.
Olawale alleged, in a telephone interview with ICIR, which Shonuga attempted to hijack the association’s account for his personal gain.
He said: “We have a partnership with Lag rides and helped them refine and test the app. There was an initial agreement between PEDPAN and the rides. Unfortunately, Idris Shonuga has found a way to sideline all the executive members of the association and strike up a unique conversation with the organizer, who is the Lag ride.
“Again, he opened an account with Polaris Bank by forging the signatures of two of our trustees. In fact, it is a criminal offence, and we are discussing this with the police. He forged these guys’ signatures, opened the account in our association’s name, and assigned him to Lag Ride. There are specific dues that the association should receive from the commission of this company.
“He refused the association to obtain this fund and proceeded to open the account without the knowledge of the executive members, while falsifying their signatures. He never revealed it to the association. All these problems go back to last year. He refused to implement one of our Memoranda of Understanding (MoU). He went ahead to suspend members of the executive, which he had no power to do.
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Affirming the impeachment, PEDPAN National Vice President Comrade Jolaiya Seun Moses, also in a phone call, said that Shonuga was removed from office for not being transparent with the association, while refusing to honor a 17-point solidarity agreement signed by all members. from the Association.
Moses said, “It’s not a suspension but an impeachment. He was removed from office for failing to report on the last two years of his term, as well as for abuse of power. The NEC had been trying to warn him since last year, but he chose to fight between himself and the entire NEC membership.
“At one point, it took the intervention of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) which raised 17 points of the memorandum of understanding, which it refused to honour. After the deadline, a unanimous decision led to his dismissal and he ceases to be the president of PEDPAN.
Moses noted that he, the vice president, was intervening in that capacity until the association’s election was held in three months.
TUC Secretary, Lagos State Council Abiodun Aladetan said the PEDPAN union had not been fully structured. He called for peace among NEC members for the benefit of average drivers operating on Uber and Bolt platforms.
Aladetan said: “It is not a properly structured union. It was only a few pioneers who launched it and created offices for themselves. If someone removes someone, the question is what constitutional provisions are they relying on to do so?
“What we did was let them come together. Removal is not a problem as it is not a registered union at this time. The objective is to register the union, and that is a very complex question. We are trying to bring all the drivers who call via email together to be united for the sake of the average driver on the street who continues to experience dehumanizing conditions because of the app company.
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“These guys who suspend, what are they relying on? Even the president can’t suspend people. It is the NEC that has the power to suspend before proceeding to a delegates conference. A would suspend B by the mouth. They all have factions.
The embattled PEDPAN president, Shonuga, maintained that he was still in charge of the association. He did so in a text message he sent to CIRI after being consulted about it.
“I remain the National Chairman of the Professional Association of Drivers and Private Owners of Nigeria, PEDPAN. There are a few disgruntled members who have been disciplined for their gross misconduct. All is well with PEDPAN,” he replied .