Re: Chi­doka is dis­robed

Daily Trust - - VIEWS - By Jonas Agwu

The Daily Trust opin­ion ar­ti­cle of Tues­day, 1st April, 2014 en­ti­tled by Dr Eu­gene Ena­horo, is a very sad com­men­tary on jour­nal­ism in Nigeria. Most ap­palling was his de­vo­tion of a whole space ceded to him on trust to dish out mis­lead­ing state­ments and cast un­war­ranted as­per­sions on the per­son of a pub­lic of­fi­cer with­out any sense of de­cency. One would have loved to ig­nore the vi­tu­per­a­tions of Ena­horo ex­cept for the fact that do­ing so will amount to al­low­ing false­hood to have a field day through ma­nip­u­la­tion ofob­vi­ous­factswith­thede­vi­ous aim of mis­lead­ing ob­jec­tive­minded Nige­ri­ans.

For the avoid­ance of doubt, and for the sake of pos­ter­ity, let the facts speak for them­selves. First is the ob­vi­ous envy of the high achiev­ing tra­jec­tory of the Corps Mar­shal. We can ap­pre­ci­ate the frus­tra­tion of those who be­lieve that age should be a de­ter­mi­nant of out­comes. Talk­ing about Osita Chi­doka’s ca­reer path as a po­lit­i­cal ap­pointee with­out any ex­pe­ri­ence was de­signed to mis­chie­vously cre­ate the ba­sis for Dr Ena­horo’s evil in­ten­tions of a per­sonal at­tack on Chi­doka. For the ben­e­fit of un­sus­pect­ing read­ers, Osita Chi­doka was an NYSC FCT award win­ner and was of­fered au­to­matic em­ploy­ment in the Min­istry of FCT, where he served as a Pro­to­col Of­fi­cer to the min­is­ter at the time, Gen­eral Jeremia Useni.In1997,hewas­ap­pointed Per­sonal As­sis­tant to the HonourableMin­is­terofS­tate­for Work­sandHous­ing.In 2000,he be­came the Per­sonal As­sis­tant to the Hon­ourable Min­is­ter of Trans­port and Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Spe­cial Ad­viser to the Pres­i­dent on Le­gal Mat­ters in 2003. That was seven years of ex­em­plary and ex­tra­or­di­nary pub­lic ser­vice.

Dur­ing those years, he left in­deli­ble foot­prints in the var­i­ous ar­eas of na­tional ser­vice such as mem­ber of the Com­mit­tee that re­viewed the Abuja mas­ter plan and team leader of the Com­mit­tee for the draft­ing of a na­tion­alpol­i­cy­on­non-mo­tor­ized form of trans­porta­tion in Nigeria. Af­ter his grad­u­ate stud­ies from Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore and Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity Vir­ginia, USA, he was re­cruited in the USA by Exxon Mo­bil and re­lo­cated to Nigeria where he worked as Se­nior Ad­viser on Govern­ment and Busi­ness Re­la­tions for Mo­bil Pro­duc­ing Nigeria, be­fore his ap­point­ment as Corps Mar­shal and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Federal Road Safety Corps.

Since his as­sump­tion in 2007, Chi­doka has demon­strated such a vi­sion and com­mit­ment to in­sti­tu­tional de­vel­op­men­twhich­has­no­tonly im­pacted on the op­er­a­tional and ad­min­is­tra­tive ef­fi­ciency of the Corps to en­hance its strate­gic­ca­pac­i­tieson­res­cue­and en­force­ment,thuse­l­e­vat­in­groad safety ad­vo­cacy to in­ter­na­tional level, as af­firmed by the World Bank, when it de­clared the or­gan­i­sa­tion as the best ex­am­ple of a road safety lead agency in Africa. The world class sta­tus of FRSC un­der Chi­doka was re­cently af­firmed with the ISO 9001: QMS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Itis­cu­ri­ousthatDrE­na­horo’s ven­omous at­tack failed to ac­knowl­edge the pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions of Chi­doka’s lead­er­ship, which var­i­ous stake­hold­er­sath­ome­andabroad have con­tin­ued to ap­plaud.

Con­scious of the ef­fect of catch­ing them young, and the im­pact of ed­u­ca­tion in road safety cam­paign, Chi­doka’s lead­er­ship has not only re-in­vig­o­rated road safety clubs in schools through his re­forms in Spe­cial Mar­shals and part­ner­ships, but en­sured that road safety study is in­cor­po­rated in pri­mary and sec­ondary school syl­labus as ap­proved by the Federal Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil. Fur­ther­more, he has in pur­suit of stan­dard reg­u­la­tory frame work in road safety man­age­ment, in­tro­duced the stan­dard school bus,whichtheNa­tion­alCoun­cil on Ed­u­ca­tion has adopted, while the in­tro­duc­tion of the driv­ing school stan­dard­iza­tion pro­gram­measan­in­te­gral­partof the new driv­ers’ li­cence re­form, has led to the reg­is­tra­tion of 628 driv­ing schools, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of 395 of them, with about 48,000 learner driv­ers un­der­go­ing driv­ing in­struc­tions.

We wish to use this medium to cor­rect the de­lib­er­ate ig­no­rance of Dr Ena­horo by re­it­er­at­ing that the new mo­tor ve­hi­cle ad­min­is­tra­tion regime re­mains a ne­ces­sity since 1990, when it was im­per­a­tive to har­monise and unify all ex­ist­ing modes of li­cens­ing of driv­ers and ve­hi­cle ad­min­is­tra­tion. The scheme sets out to ad­dress plethora of safety, se­cu­rity and en­force­ment chal­lenges such as the ab­sence of a com­pre­hen­sive data base on ve­hi­cle own­ers and en­hanced ca­pac­ity for en­force­ment of traf­fic rules and reg­u­la­tions when it goes into full oper­a­tion as en­vis­aged.

It is in­struc­tive to note that the new num­ber plate scheme was mid­wifed by cred­i­ble and le­git­i­mate stake­hold­ers. The jour­ney started with advertisement for con­sul­tants, which Price Wa­ter House Coop­ers PWC won and cred­itably per­formed the di­ag­nos­tic and rec­om­mended the so­lu­tion which the Joint Tax Board adopted and ap­proved. The process con­tin­ued to the Fed­er­alEx­ec­u­tiveCoun­cil­which ap­proved the scheme. The fi­nal un­in­tended re­view came from the Na­tional As­sem­bly, where both houses con­ducted pub­lic hear­ing and de­clared the project as good and crit­i­cal for na­tional de­vel­op­ment.

ECOWAS has adopted the new num­ber plate as a model for a com­mon li­cens­ing scheme for pro­mot­ing the ECOWAS pro­to­col on free move­ment of per­sons, goods and ser­vices. It is hoped that Dr Ena­horo’s grouse will al­low him to as­sim­i­late the fact that the US Govern­ment, af­ter study­ing the new scheme, in­tends to use some as­pects of the new li­cens­ing scheme to fur­ther im­prove USA mo­tor ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­cesses. As a mat­ter of fact, some states in the US, un­der the re­ciproc­ity ini­tia­tive, ac­cept the ex­change of the new Nigeria driv­ers’ li­cence forap­pli­cantsap­ply­ing­for­drivers li­cence in places like the State of Mary­land. This is also the same with eight Euro­pean coun­tries, with Aus­tria de­scrib­ing the driv­ers’ li­cence as a higher stan­dard than what ob­tains in some Euro­pean coun­tries.

Dr Ena­horo’s dis­grace­ful ref­er­ence­toChi­doka’sre­tire­ment plans is not one that should be dig­ni­fied with a re­sponse. How­ever, for the sake of the teem­ingNige­ri­an­pub­lic,wewish to state that by virtue of the FRSC Es­tab­lish­ment Act 2007, the statu­tory man­date of the Corps is re­stricted to the de­sign and pro­duc­tion of driver’s li­censes and ve­hi­cle num­ber plates while the pow­ers for fix­ing dead­lines for en­force­ment falls un­der the purview of the states through the Joint Tax Board. We wish to di­rect Colum­nist Ena­horo to the pro­vi­sion of Part 1 of the FRSC (es­tab­lish­ment) Act, 2007 which em­pow­ers the Corps in items ( d, e and g) to de­ter­mine from time to time, the re­quire­ments to be sat­is­fied by any ap­pli­cant for the driv­ers’ li­cense and num­ber plate for ev­ery cat­e­gory of ve­hi­cles through de­sign and pro­duc­tion.

Fi­nally, the cel­e­bra­tion of the at­tacks on law en­force­ment agents by Dr Ena­horo gives us a clue to the an­ar­chi­cal bent of his thought process and a clear pointer to a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the ori­gins of the cur­rent ris­ing vi­o­lent cul­ture in our coun­try. If Doc­tor­ate de­gree hold­ers can cel­e­brate vi­o­lence, then our hu­man­ity as a people stands di­min­ished. His un­war­ranted ver­bal vi­o­lence and moral stone-throw­ing on the Corps Mar­shal puts a ques­tion mark on his pedigree.

Agwu is Corps Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fi­cer, FRSC

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