Sani Abdullahi writes on FRSC and the change manta, pointing out that the procedures themselves are not new inclusion to our statue books but foundations for our nation’s emergence as an entity.
The Buhari phenomenon which has become the parlance in our national discourse is no doubt catching up with everyone in the saddle at all federal establishments across Nigeria. The new order of doing things is anchored on strict compliance with the laid down procedure; the sanctity of the rule of law.
And it is not that the procedures themselves are new inclusion to our statue books but are foundations for our nation’s emergence as an entity. But what are rules without a strong leader to invoke same for the benefit of all? And so it was that the nation gropes through centuries of darkness.
However, the rainbow is crystal in the sky; it is morning again here and everybody is falling into line. The new order is further entrenched in our ministries and departments, where corruption clad bottlenecks clog the wheel of our national progress. But in our dark, starless past, there were some twinkles even if few between the lines, especially in some departments, where Buhari phenomenon had held sway.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) would also hold its head high, where others tip-toe through the crowd in this respect. Since its creation the Corps’ has been headed by personalities who, like our dear president, are people of high moral standing within our immediate society and beyond.
From the world renowned literary scholar, Professor Wole Soyinka to Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi, the Corps has distinguished itself as one of the public institutions, which has thrived on law and order. It is today an example of a high performing public set up, which has not only provided leadership to other such institutions across Africa but its headships have become role models in safety matters the world over.
It was the former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida who had referred to the Corps at one of the many conferences he chaired across Africa, as “a world class public institution,” describing it in the process as “a pride of the nation.”
Leaders who have ruled our dear country since then have different endearment terms for the organisation, which has become a shining example of how a public intuition should function. And with a moralist at the saddle as president, the Corps would only be a reference point of change in the way a public institution should be run.
The situation is no doubt made easy with someone who has come to personify the Corps in the saddle. Unlike in the past when its leadership was entrusted to those referred within the establishment as “outsiders”, Oyeyemi was one of the foundation officers of the FRSC when the Corps was established some 27 years ago.
His was a symbolic appointment that drew accolades from across the country, as “well deserving.” Prior to his appointment as the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC on 23 July 2014, Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi had headed all the departments and most strategic Zonal Commands in the FRSC with distinct results.
This is more enhanced with several courses at home and abroad in world class security institutions including the Police Training Division, Suffern, New York; Glock Armourers and Fire Arms Course and Sleep Research Laboratory, Loughborough University, UK as well as Shotgun Instructors Course, New York, USA, among others.
His excellent performances in the FRSC saw him becoming the “Best Performing Head of Department” for five consecutive years. And the Kwarra-born road safety administrator not only possess the requisite experience to take the Corps through the new route, but has required educational qualifications to be able to do so with ease.
A holder of master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Lagos, Oyeyemi obtained certificates in Strategic Management from Harvard University, USA; Royal Institute for Public Administration UK, and membership of the Institute (mni) from the prestigious National Institute for policy and strategic studies, Kuru, where he was a course participant.
His first policy decision after his appointment, which earned him a standing ovation from generality of the staff was his enunciation of the principles of Consultation, Reward and Punishment (CRP) as the tripod upon which his Management vision was anchored.
“I will consult widely within and outside the FRSC for excellent results; recognise and reward excellent performances by staff; but I would not condone indolence, corruption and indiscipline which would I punish sternly,” he stated at his first Management retreat.
Thus, within a month of his assumption of office, he had succeeded in removing the existing dichotomy between regular and converted officers to pave the way for unrestricted career growth for all officers.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Management has removed forthwith the dichotomy between regular and converted officers with bachelor degree or its equivalent to make it possible for all officers to reach the peak of the rank guaranteed by age and performances,” he announced, to a standing ovation from participants at the World Bank staff capacity development course at the FRSC Academy Udi, Anambra state.
And when he launched the “One Staff, One House” Scheme, to create opportunity of house ownership for all staff, he stated: “We would work hard to ensure that every staff of FRSC owns a house he can retire to.”
Oyeyemi sustained his aggressive pursuit of staff welfare policies with the launch of the “post service scheme,” which ensures compulsory savings by staff to prepare them for post service life. “I hate to see staff retiring into helplessness.
I therefore, vouch on my integrity, that nothing would happen to any staff’s contribution which he will collect intact as he retires,” he assures staff during a parley with them.
An experienced operational strategist, Oyeyemi engages staff in Field Commands whenever he visited a state to meet with the Governors to discuss on road safety matters. “Road Safety is a shared responsibility and requires political will of government to succeed,” he always told them.
As the Corps Marshal, Oyeyemi demonstrated his capacity for proactive actions and expertise in operational matters when he proactively initiated the idea of meeting with the critical stakeholders in road transport business to collaborate against road traffic crashes from the earliest part of the year.
It was in the course of the visits that the idea of organising Mega Rallies in major motor parks across the country to sensitise drivers and members of the public on road safety matters was conceived and flagged off in agos in March with all relevant stakeholders in attendance.
Ironically, while the campaign was going on, the nation witnessed the first fatal tanker crash in the year on 31st May 2015 at Onitsha, Anambra state claiming about 46 lives and several houses and vehicles.
Worried by the Onitsha tragedy and other subsequent fatal crashes in parts of the country, Oyeyemi’s Management convened the National Summit on Haulage Operations where a plan of action against tanker crashes was drawn up.
“It was unprecedented in the history of Nigeria that the nation witnessed the number of crashes and fatalities involving trailers and tankers as we did in the month of June this year. That was why we have to re-strategise in our operations,” he told participants during an interactive session.
Consequently, the Corps embarked on retraining and recertification of tankertrailer drivers at nine centres across the country, after it was flagged off at the Orile area of Lagos state on 4 July 2015.
In the same vein, “Operation Scorpion,” involving aggressive enforcement of minimum safety standards on trailer and truck drivers had commenced a week earlier.
“We have made adequate preparation for this year’s special ember months operations following the studies we conducted at the identified spots and counter measures we are putting in place to ensure resounding success during the yuletide season,” he told the media during the review of the operation.
FRSC under Oyeyemi’s leadership has been recognised as a high performance organisation with robust stakeholders’ commitment including the World Bank’s safe corridor project in the country, which boosted the Corps’ operations through the presentation some heavy tow trucks, ambulances and other patrol and rescue equipment. Moreover, it continues to expand its scope of partnership to other hitherto passive stakeholders as they demonstration their confidence in the leadership.
That was why it was not surprising to those that had been following the activities of the FRSC under Oyeyemi’s leadership in the last one year, when he was nominated and subsequently conferred with the 2015 “National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM)” by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on 20 August 2015.
The award which was an acknowledgement of his contributions to national development would no doubt, ginger him up for more productivity. “This award represents our modest contributions to national development; but with it Nigerians should expect even improved productivity from the FRSC,” he stated after receiving the award.
As Nigerians look forward to sustained excellent service delivery by the FRSC under Oyeyemi leadership as he promised,, the hope of the staff is buoyed by his successes which point to the possibilities that exist in the road safety lead agency for the country, especially with its commitment to supporting the nation building efforts of the present administration of President Muhammad Buhari.
– Sani Abdullahi, a Superintendent Route Commander (RC) is the Media Assistant to the Corps Marshal Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC, National Headquarters