By Suleiman Umaru::
When Bashir Jamoh, President of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration, CIoTA, and other other officials of the Institute settled down for Yakubu Gowon , a retired Major General and former Head of State, to Chair its second annual summit, it was a for a purpose: to ensure that its recommendations on how to boost the nation’s transport sector is taken serious by the government.
This is because the retired Army General is one voice in the country that President Muhammadu Buhari, Administration of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, respects so much. It was not surprising why Jamoh and all the other officials of CIoTA, made all the necessary efforts , using all their contacts to ensure that the former military Head of State, whose regime witnessed tremendous Infrastructural development in the country agree to Chair the summit.
They had their way. This may have informed why the summit attracted people from all walks of life, Captains of Industry and police makers, who want to listen to the retired Army General, who is now academically sound, to speak.
He never disappointed the Organisers of the event as he leaved up to expectation , proffering solutions on how the nation’s Transport sector could be moved forward to compete with what obtains in other parts of the world, particular, the developed economies. He knew that the government could not handle the development of transport sector alone that he has called for a ‘’partnership between the public and the private sectors in order to come up with innovative ways of solving the transportation challenges in the country’’.
The CIoTA, Summit, which had brought in together experts, Captains of Industry and policy makers , from across the private and public sectors, which had as its theme: Building Sustainable Transport Infrastructure in Nigeria, Opportunities, Innovations and Technologies had done justice to the topic.
It is instructive to note that Gowon’s speech may have emboldened Jamoh, the CIoTA, President, to give his words that the Institute is ready to partner with the government this time around ‘’to enthrone Professionalism in the nation’s transport sector, by making sure that only Professionals hold key positions in the sector’’.
He noted that since the passage of the bill which had established the Institute, it has been at the forefront of ensuring Professionalism , to be at par with other Chartered Institutes across the country. Jamoh, who incidentally is also the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, had said that even though the CIoTA is barely new, it has not failed on its mandate as ‘’it has thrived to meet the Professional needs of the sector and would continue to operate under the three –pronged agenda of Professionalism, Education and Advocacy.
He has also given his words that the Institute would partner with the government ‘’ to develop a curriculum which would enable only the recognized Professionals to hold key offices in the transport both at the Federal and state levels. The CIoTA President has a word of advice for Nigerians who are not versed on the knowledge about the transport sector , to seek education as the Institute would be working with Heads of Departments of government agencies , to ensure that only those with the requisite knowledge and Certificates are allowed to hold key offices in the all- important sector of the economy.
He was said to have cited the various government interventions, particular, the Katsina state born Nigerian President, across all the transportation modes, stressing that the Rail lines, Air transport, Roads and shipping operations have all witnessed one intervention or the other in the recent time. Take for instance the shipping sector, where the government ,had set up the Cabotage Finance Fund, CVFF, which currently has over $200 million, to assist indigenous ship Companies procure vessels to Compete with the Foreign shipping line which currently dominate the sector.
Many believe that this ought to have been avoided if the country’s transportation had been fully revived as obtained in other parts of the world which are currently reaping the benefits like Singapore, Argentina and Brazil.
This may have informed why Gowon, who had Chaired the summit, and who spoke virtually had called on the industry stakeholders ‘’to join hands with the government to move the transport industry forward’’. He condemned the recent destruction of public assets in the guise of the End SARS protests, , by hoodlums who jerked the protest .
He may have alluded to the setting ablaze of some floors of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Corporate Head office in Marina, Lagos. As a former Head of State, who knows the cost implication of a public asset, he has advised that ’’it is in the interest of everyone to support the development of critical sectors of the economy’’, noting that people should not resort’’ to destruction of such assets in name of protests’’.
Given his understanding of the nation’s transport sector, he declared, ‘’we must all have to be involved in finding ways to improve the sector and not to destroy what we already have’’. The former Nigerian Head of state who could not hide his feelings said ‘’we must embark on an intensive comprehensive campaign to make public and private sectors accountable and performance –oriented with a view to providing the citizenry with proficient transport system’’.