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Chidoka’s three years of ‘road safety’

According to the line of arguments then, the young man was “not known to have served in any of the military or paramilitary services or…

According to the line of arguments then, the young man was “not known to have served in any of the military or paramilitary services or was he a retired bureaucrat who could understand the workings of government”. Worse still, he was coming in as an “outsider”. However, there were other Nigerians who saw beyond the surface of the water and believed that government might have seen certain sterling qualities in him that were not apparent to ordinary citizens, and that his appointment must have been a demonstration of the fact that “strategy has gone beyond the realm of military campaigns”. Such people were therefore ready to show patience and give him the benefit of the doubt.

In less than 100 days of his assumption of office, the new Corps Marshal identified the policy on Road Transport Safety Standardization Scheme (RTSS) which had been lying in the cooler at the Corps’ national headquarters as “a low hanging fruit”. And as one well versed in the area of transport policy and logistics, which in fact, he has a master’s degree in, he decided to pluck it by putting final touches to the document and launching the scheme with fanfare at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.

While critics were busy hiding under different shades with volumes of petitions cataloguing his alleged wrongdoings to pressurise the president into taking rash decisions, the president, in line with his rule of law mantra, instead set up a probe panel, which after exhaustive work, returned a verdict of “not guilty” on him.

Chidoka, has identified information communication technology (ICT) as his management tool. He has  pioneered the Call Centre technology in the country and taken the name of Nigeria to the nooks and crannies of the globe in pursuit of road safety matters, the latest of which was his invitation by Pope Benedict xvi to the Vatican for a presentation on road safety during the recent International Conference on the challenges of human interaction through mobility organised by the Pontifical Council for Immigrants and Itinerant People at the Vatican city.

As a young Nigerian, he has always operated with the consciousness that “the post- civil war generation has come of age”. He identifies this generation as “Oguebie” which he says “are unencumbered by events of our violent past as a nation, unfazed by cries of marginalization and propelled by the spirit of a new age”. His pan-Nigerian spirit, some analysts say, is fired by his winning of the FCT/NYSC award as a youth corps member on merit, which opened up other federal opportunities for him. That is why he could relate smoothly with people of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds without exhibiting the traits of a religious or ethnic bigot.

In demonstration of his international reach, he was the only non-Minister invited to make a presentation at the last Ministerial Conference on Road Safety held in Moscow, Russia last year August with the Russian President in attendance. His leadership success at the West African Road Safety Organisation (WARSO) where he is the president of the organisation, has been recognised by the ECOWAS Commission, which regards the organisation as a veritable platform for the implementation of ECOWAS protocol on free movement of citizens and goods within the sub-region. Furthermore, the World Bank grant to the country upon which the Country Capacity Review of road safety management in the country is being carried out, is no mean feat, as it demonstrates his doggedness in matters of road safety..

With his establishment of the Call/Data Centre, introduction of Closed User Group (CUG) and tracking device for the monitoring, facilitation and management of operational and rescue activities of the Corps while building credible database on drivers in the country towards the restoration of the integrity of the driver’s license, Chidoka has achieved harmony through the backward linkages in the Corps’ management system. Several of the visitors to the Centre including the former Garrison Commander of the Nigerian Army, Major General Donatus Edi, were full of commendations for him for the initiative, describing it as “a Resource Centre”.

The Number One Road Marshal in the country is fondly called by the FRSC staff as, “The Digital Corps Marshal.”

Sani Abdullahi, Route Commander, is the Media Assistant to the Corps Marshal: [email protected]

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