From TUNDE RAHEEM, Akure
Ondo State Commissioner for Transport, Mr Nicolas Tofowomo yesterday threw decorum to the wind as he openly slapped a director in the Ministry of Works, Mr M.J Afeniforo severally over a trivial issue. The commissioner was said to have approached the director for a tractor but Afeniforo was said to have told the commissioner that the tractors were already on various sites.
It was gathered that Afeniforo also told the commissioner that the Commissioner for Works, Gboye Adegbenro was aware of the development and asked him to call to verify. But Tofowomo, howev,er allegedly the commissioner for works and told him that the director of mechanical had diverted the tractors to his home town.
The director, it was learnt cautioned Tofowomo not to lie against him since he was saying the tractors were diverted to Ilara-Mokin. The commissioner was furious and slapped the director several times for arguing with him, an attitude sources in the ministry said had become common with Tofowomo. The development triggered the anger of workers of the ministry, who trooped out to protest injustice meted out on their senior officer and the commissioner, who sensed danger left hurriedly to his office.
The protest was later hijacked by the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), who converged on the premises of the ministry to protest the assault on Afeniforo. But the intervention of the Chairman of the Joint Negotiation Council, Mr. Solomon Adelegan saved the situation, as workers were poised to show the commissioner the way out of the ministry. The aggrieved workers vowed to deal with the commissioner if he did not stop what they called animalistic behaviour.
The Head of Service, Mrs. Kosemani Kolawole, invited the assaulted director and the permanent secretary, probably with a view to resolving the matter . All efforts to get the embattled commissioner to comment on the issue proved abortive as he did not respond to the calls put to him.