This Saturday, the country home of the immediate-past governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, Iragbiji, in Boripe Local Government, will be agog as dignitaries from all walks of life gather to celebrate a cerebral political icon, Honourable Minister of the newly created ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
Based on what I know as someone from the Minister’s immediate Community, what is being celebrated today is not just his ministerial appointment by the President, but the appointee’s capacity, exceptional sterling qualities and technocratic expertise which allay apprehension and fear of uncertainty ordinarily associated with such a newly created ministry.
Truth be told, there are challenges and huge tasks before the Minister. Generally, there are problems in Nigeria, especially in the area of political leadership, priority misplacement, lack of coherent policy framework and implementation, ineptitude of those in power, corruption and fiscal indiscipline as well as high-handedness. The newness of Oyetola’s ministry, and the heavy loads it carries in terms of departments and high-profile agencies under it, coupled with the fact that people are fast becoming aware of the economic fortune and potency of the Ministry as a veritable source of income and humongous revenue generation which precipitates their high expectations of the ministry to provide economic well-being and prosperity for the nation, make his responsibility highly tasking.
With the combination of six big, high-profile agencies namely the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, and the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding of Nigeria (CRFFN), all under Oyetola’s Marine and Blue Economy, apart from many departments and various units within it, the former governor’s portfolio could be described as an umbrella ministry having other ministries wearing “agency nomenclature” under it.
To whom much is given, much is expected in return. Similarly, so much is given to Oyetola in the allocation of this heavily-loaded Ministry to him, and therefore, so much is expected from the minister in terms of excellent performance in his administration and management of the ministry. Since our crude oil has turned to a vampire, consuming oil money instead of generating revenues for the nation, and it’s obviously now more of a bane than boon, it’s expected that revenues from Oyetola’s ministry will suffice in its stead.
President Bola Tinubu must have been well-convinced that Oyetola, given his antecedents as Osun former Governor and his exploits as an ace administrator in the private sector for thirty years, has the capacity to sail and navigate the marine ministry and turn it truly to a blue economy for the nation. The minister’s clear focus and sound vision is expected to redirect policy misplacement. His fiscal discipline is expected to prevent financial recklessness, loss, corruption and lack of project implementation in the ministry’s agencies.
It’s never an exaggeration that the task of managing this loaded ministry is enormous. The minister himself knows this and confirmed it during his maiden visit to Apapa and Tin Can Ports in Lagos on Monday. It takes someone highly efficient in administration like Oyetola to take the helm of agencies as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), which is the apex regulatory and promotional maritime agency in this sector, and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which, on its own, has six major Ports in different locations; Lagos (having two), Calabar, Rivers, Onne and Delta. You don’t assign this kind of task to a neophyte, and that’s why the President’s cabinet membership selection, inclusive of technocrats among Democrats, is commendable.
Also, taking the helm of an agency like the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) established with the primary responsibility of improving and developing Nigeria’s inland waterways for navigation thereby enhancing ease of operations which would lead to increase in revenue generation, requires someone with expertise and experience. As former governor of Osun, a state characteristic of fund paucity, Oyetola ‘navigated the state’s muddy treasury’ rendered financially weak and incapacitated with humongous loans incurred by his predecessor, by fulfilling and maintaining recurrent expenditure obligations of his government without recourse to borrowing.
For efficiency and productivity, to best manage the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), yet another agency in the ministry, which serves as an agent for economic development through interventions in cost moderation and cargo transport issues, Nigeria needs someone with prudent and frugal financial mind-set. This, known to many, is one of Oyetola’s sterling qualities which might have made him fit the bill in the President’s assessment for his appointment.
Nigeria needs someone not only with sound education, but also with discipline, premium and high value for excellence in academics like the appointed Minister of Marine to helm the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, the premier maritime institution charged with the responsibility of training all level of manpower to man the nation’s ports, merchant Navy ships, maritime engineering workshops, pilotage, shipyards and other marine related industries.
The Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CFFN) with its overlapping functions in relation to other ministries like Transportation and Aviation, could not be better managed than someone like Oyetola whose tranquility, equanimity, modesty and positive disposition to conflict resolution are second to none. These are the qualities with which the former governor resolved the age-long Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) ownership conflict between Osun and Oyo States.
It’s expected that the minister, with his high level of experience, expertise deposit, managerial efficiency, fiscal discipline and business acumen, would bring the vision of the Council to become Nigeria’s leading transport player committed to the development of a modern globally competitive freight forwarding system in the country, and by extension, the visions of all other agencies and the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy in relation to the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda to fruition, just as I join my fellow Indigenes of Iragbiji, Oyetola’s friends and associates, and indeed, dignitaries in attendance, to celebrate this finance-wizard, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, CON, the Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dr. Olorede (email@example.com/ 08111841887), Varsity don and media scholar, is Secretary, Media and Publicity Committee for Oyetola’s Reception.