By Haruna Mohammed Salisu
A decent description of technocrats, politicians and top civil servants in the Nigerian political atmosphere is that of corruption; ineptitude, unprofessionalism abuse of office and blatant disregard for truth and patriotism.
This is a fair and honest description of the said category of people. Their worst is still emerging in view of the increasing bane of corruption that is perpetrated daily at the detriment of those who cannot speak and lack the capacity to change the narcissistic behavior.
In a rotten, corrupt and ill-informed society housed with criminals, the failure to recognized and appreciate an honest, decent and detribalized individual, who despite the temptations to join the bandwagon refused to do so is itself a crime.
Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi (MFR) Mni is among the seven people that started the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) with Professor Wole Soyinka, Olu Agunloye, Major Wyse, Engineer Coker, Olubiji –and remains the only one standing with the Organisation. I have never met Oyeyemi in my life, neither do I know any one close to him, but am prompted to write this piece for reasons I will shortly expatiate.
Few days ago, I boarded a car to Jos, the Plateau state capital. And like many Nigerians who are worried about the behaviour of recalcitrant leaders in the country, a lady who was sitting behind me started a conversation about the Nigerian Police, owing to the fact that we just passed a check point where a corrupt officer requested money from the driver.
The discussion veered off for long, and many issues were raised with regards to Para-military. Unknown to us, sitting beside me was an FRSC officer, and the discussion got interested when he started talking about leadership in the organisation. He was keen and hell bent on defending Oyeyemi, whom he admitted he had no personal knowledge of. I waded in with my journalistic inquisitiveness and started asking questions about the FRSC boss.
The officer’s major point of argument was that throughout his 25 years of active service with the corps, there was no time when they had a decent leadership free from all the “Nigerian ills” like now. This short conversation prickles my interest to know who this leader that is so much loved, adored and respected by his followers despite having no close relationship with was.
Digging deep into the personality of this gentleman; I got to realise that as a young writer who is interested in appreciating decent, incorruptible, and honest individuals in a society that doesn’t reward excellence, full of moral delinquents and criminals—not writing about Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi will be the greatest disservice I will do to myself and my fellow compatriots who share the same sentiments.
In an atmosphere where wacky, delusional thieves and pseudo-intellectual scammers are celebrated for their loot, and the media and all the acclaimed analysts turning away and refusing to recognise and appreciate the effort of patriots and decent people who sacrifice their intellectualism, committed their time and resources to nation building, someone may well understand where Nigeria is headed—disastrous end.
Arithmetically it is simple to predict; when excellent and dedicated citizens are not identified and rewarded, and when criminals are appreciated and celebrated, then disaster looms ahead. People get discouraged; crimes and criminality will increase because that is the language everyone understands.
Like I wrote earlier, Oyeyemi was among the seven people that started Federal Road Safety Corps and remains the last man still standing, with pride and fulfilment—for remaining steadfast, compassionate and full of hope to make the institution great. People may be curious to know why the amiable Oyeyemi despite having opportunities to look elsewhere and probably be better off still remains at the FRSC.
Pushed by the same curiosity, I got to realised that the characteristically decent, honest, incorruptible and benevolent Oyeyemi is a man of integrity whose passion and dreams were to build a career where expertise will thrive, honesty will stand and professionalism will be the only way to career success.
Ask any of his colleagues, there are many undisputable facts about this gentleman that made him outstanding and enabled him to achieve career success at the FRSC.
The disciplined Oyeyemi is described by his colleagues as “a workaholic”. He resumes duty at exactly 7am and closed by 9pm every day. He does this at a time people of his status sleep at home and reluctantly resumes work at will as if it were their fathers’ companies or were managing personal entities simply because they are the “big bosses”.
In the midst of retrogressively debauched flippant and ethic chauvinists, cascadingly leading Nigeria to a calamitous end, Yemi as he is fondly called by his peers has distinguished himself as a detribalized Nigerian who believed that the unity of the country is sacrosanct. And he has demonstrated this by refusing to be an ethnic champion.
The God-fearing Yemi, described as intelligent by his teachers, honest by his subordinates, dedicated by his seniors, and professional achiever by his society— has eschewed the urge and no doubt the urging to be a vindictive self-serving demagoguery. He has demonstrated resilience and utmost dedication to serve his country through just and accountable leadership.
The Kwara- born technocrat has attained the apex of his career when his colleagues who started FRSC with him have figuratively run away for probably juicier appointments. He has done this by demonstrating immense leadership qualities—the ongoing reformation at the FRSC is enough evidence to demonstrate this.
The detribalised Oyeyemi was subsumed and sidelined in the midst of inept and archaic zealots, whose driving philosophy in life was to loot public funds, enrich themselves and their families at the detriment of all Nigerians.
The present administration of President Buhari with its change mantra has found him worthy of helping it realised its dreams of sustaining a country for all—where expertise, professionalism and individual talents will drive people to success.
President Buhari and Yemi Osinbanjo are men who are repulsive to corrupt people and attractive to honest folks. I guess that was why they retained him. President Buhari is a strong observer of traffic rules that was why he instructed his convoy to always obey traffic lights, in a country where a ‘mere’ Local Government Chairman violates traffic rules the way he violates his oath of office. I knew Boboye and Buhari share similar ideals.
Encouraged by his exquisite, carefully thought out and well articulated policies, the Buhari administration has allowed Oyeyemi to realise his dreams of reducing Road Traffic Crashes by 50% come 2018.
Yemi has spearheaded numerous innovations in FRSC, from the earning of International Standard Organisation (ISO 9001) certification to electronic booking, from shattering the glass ceiling against HND holders in the Corps to instituting post- retirement benefit that makes any FRSC retiree one of the richest in the country, (courtesy of their savings while in service).
And for the first time ever in the history of the country and under the distinguished leadership of Oyeyemi, FRSC recorded the highest internally generated revenue, more than the Nigeria Customs Service. And for the first time within only six months of his appointment, FRSC recorded the lowest road Carnages, traffic violations and appropriate sanctions within the confines of the law are continuously meted out on offenders —all borne out of the innovative spring of this gentleman.
Among his latest innovation is the introduction of the speed limiting devices which will commence operation by 1st October this year. Yemi discovered that excessive speeding among lawless commercial drivers is the cause of most Road Traffic Crashes (RTCs), he swung into action by leveraging technology, making sure that throttle-happy drivers don’t over speed Nigerians to untimely deaths.
It is only in FRSC that an officer who has put in over twenty years of service can be dismissed for collecting ‘mere’ twenty-naira bribe. Yemi has a no-nonsense anti-corruption posture. Who knows whether he is distantly related to the late Tunde Idiagbon, after all, they are from the same state.
Haruna Mohammed Salisu writes from Bauchi. He can be reach at 08063180608, @haruna_babale or [email protected]