| By Sani Abdullahi |
IN the euphoria that greeted his appointment as the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in July 2014, Boboye Oyeyemi announced to the excited staff that his management would be anchored on the principles of Consultation, Reward and Punishment (CRP), which continued to drive his policies. Nearly two years into their implementation, the consensus among staff and generality of road safety stakeholders is that, “he is on course.”
To demonstrate his commitment to the Corps’ ideals, the Corps Marshal has continued to initiate staff capacity development programmes to enhance the role of FRSC as a knowledge-driven organisation in the era of change mantra being driven by President Muhammadu Buahri. In the same vein, there have been regular consultative meetings with transport unions, advocacy visits to relevant institutions and increased tour of field commands with emphasis on the shared nature of road safety.
It was with the same spirit that the Corps Marshal took the campaign to the door steps of the relevant stakeholders in haulage transport when the country was being threatened by incessant cases of tanker-related crashes last year. The meetings culminated in the convening of a national conference on safety of haulage operations in the country, where participants made far reaching recommendations on the way forward. Part of the recommendations was the need for retraining and re-certification of tanker and trailer drivers and their adherence minimum safety standards.
The conference also recommended special operations by the FRSC to ensure compliance with the minimum safety standard by the drivers, which the Corps code-named, “Operation Thunderstorm,” when it was flagged off in Lagos to coincide with the retraining and re-certification programme. It was so massive that over 3,000 tankers and trucks were impounded within three days of its commencement. The Corps Marshal in reviewing it attributed the success recorded in the operations to adequate consultation with relevant stakeholders prior to commencement of enforcement, saying that was why despite the massive arrests made, none of the drivers protested or contemplated blocking the road.
It was in the same spirit that FRSC rose to the occasion recently when the nation came under threat from the menace of tyre-related crashes when the Management convened a Stakeholders’ Forum on Tyres at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre Abuja, on Monday, 10 My 2016. Part of the resolutions reached after exhaustive deliberations by the participants was the need for the FRSC to embark on aggressive public enlightenment programmes on tyres and for government to encourage the return of tyre manufacturing companies to the country, while the Nigerian Customs Service and Standards Oragnisation of Nigeria (SON) were enjoined to guide against importation and sale of fake and expired tyres in the nation’s markets.
Within the short period of his management of the FRSC, Oyeyemi has taken road safety campaigns to far more commands across the country than any staff could have contemplated. Either at the North-Western states of the federation where he took this year’s Easter special patrol monitoring to, or in the Southern commands where he surprised the staff with his impromptu visits, there is the general feeling of alertness among staff across the country. Moreover, while such visits afforded the Corps Marshal opportunity to see some of the challenges facing the Commands at first hands, it gave staff sense of belonging, boosted their morale and enhanced their commitment to duties, especially as he promptly addressed some of the challenges, while giving assurances of his commitment to their welfare.
Even as some observers were quick to point to the increasing level of activities in the FRSC to the determination by the Corps Marshal to restore the past glorious days of the Corps of which he was one of the foundation officers, others pointed to the harmony that exists between what the FRSC stands for and the values of change mantra being driven by President Muhammedu Buhari at the national level. According to such observers, being an organisation that was built on the values of hard work, commitment, transparency and selfless service, there was no way FRSC would not have enjoyed natural attraction from the President who is promoting change.
They further contended that it was this harmony in values that must have made the President to perceive FRSC as a reliable institution that government could utilise to implement some of its ideals of change which revolve around safety and security of the people, coupled with restoration of travellers’ confidence in the use of the road, even as government is committed to exploring other means of transportation, transparency and commitment to hard work.
The consensus, is therefore, that Mr President has created the image of a road safety-friendly leader, judging from his administration’s policies on road safety. For instance, he not only gave approval for use of speed limiters in the country on his assumption of office, but gave 1st of April as the effective date for the commencement of enforcement of the law on compulsory usage by drivers. Furthermore, Mr President okayed the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy Document (NRSS) which members of the National Economic Council (NEC) recently endorsed at their last meeting.
The President also approved the release of the FRSC’s capital budgetary provisions which paved the way for the procurement of 283 patrol vehicles that were commissioned on Monday, 16 May, 2016, where he gave assurances of his sustained support for the FRSC. further to his commitment for safety of convoy driving in the country, President Buhari approved the retraining of convoy drivers as well as drivers of public office holders, consequent upon the presentation of the report of the fatal crash involving the convoy of the former Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, James Ocholi, SAN by the Corps Marshal before the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The support which FRSC continues to enjoy from the present administration is already eliciting feelings of motivation, confidence and enhanced productivity among the staff, most of who have vowed to sustain the tempo of activities. This was confirmed recently by Corps Marshal Oyeyemi when he stated that: “The Presidential support for our safer road campaigns is an added impetus to reposition the FRSC for improved service delivery and a source of motivation for the generality of the staff who are now working harder to meet the goals of the UN Decade of Action For Road Safety: 2011-2020, which Nigeria is playing leading roles.”
Sani Abdullahi is the Media Assistant to the Corps Marshal of FRSC
— May 19, 2016 @ 16:30 GMT