Re: Chidoka is disrobed
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