By Assistant Corps Marshal Bisi Kazeem, fsi
When Dr Boboye Oyeyemi was appointed Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) six years ago, precisely on 24th July 2014, by President Goodluck Jonathan, he attested to his qualitative contributions to the development of the Corps which was established 26 years earlier as the nation’s road safety lead agency. Reputed as the last man standing out of the pioneering staff that oversaw the foundation of the FRSC, Oyeyemi had served in all the major departments and Zonal Commands of the Corps prior to his appointment into the exalted office.
From whatever perspective you choose to look at him, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi is a voyage in the transportation industry with a touch of class. One of the most outstanding professionals whose efficiency, knowledge, diligence and professionalism have become another definition of standard in transport. Men of unique achievement are celebrated anywhere in the world, and when their values are appreciated they are not only spurred to do more, but also encourage to inspire the younger generation. Apparently a believer in success who goes the stretch to achieve it, the Corps Marshal has no specific closing time, and works from the house when he should be sleeping or relaxing. In this way, many have perceived him a workaholic, but in his words, “failure is an orphan that nobody wants to associate with”.
With his Humility always coming to the fore, when asked about his meteoric rise to the position of the Corps Marshal in a system that, until his regime, has never appointed the Head of the agency from the inside, he constantly attributes his rise to the exalted position as the making of the Almighty God.
The trajectory of his career as a road safety pioneer member from the day of the Agency’s conception till this present date are the very factors that have shaped him as an all-rounder in road safety management and administration with a firm and fair handling of goal-oriented affairs as the Corps Marshal of the FRSC today. Little wonder he assumed the office as someone in familiar terrain, thus hitting the ground running.
The first action he took was to streamline his vision through the tripod of Consultation, Reward and Punishment (CRP). Through this, stakeholders’ collaboration for improved relationship necessary for smooth enforcement was enhanced, while hardworking staff were regularly rewarded, yearly promotion exercise to address the challenges of backlog was instituted. Meanwhile those staff that engage in acts of indiscipline including corrupt practices are being tried in accordance with the FRSC disciplinary codes.
Having stated the vision that would guide the course of action under his administration, the Corps Marshal with his management team formulated and implemented programmes of action that led to the advancement of the Corps in all ramifications. Being a pioneer staff himself whose career took off at a point when road traffic crashes was bedeviling human existence with fatality rate amounting to over 40,000 in Nigeria, making the country rank second only to Ethiopia among nations with the most dangerous roads to drive on; the Corps Marshal immediately set up an initiative to drastically reduce the worrisome rate of road mishaps occasioned by recklessness on the road.
He set the ball rolling by introducing policies, reforms and digitalization that have produced a sophisticated fleet system, through the Road Transport Safety Standardization Scheme to regulate and coordinate the fleet operation in the country and strengthened Driving School Standardization Programme. The following are not limited to the achievements recorded from 2014 to date: the Corps under his leadership has continually trended down road crashes and fatality rates on yearly bases; the signage plants in Gwagwalada, Awka and for road furniture were established within the space of 2014 till date, under his leadership; the Corps set up an initiative to curb the rate of road crashes occasioned by articulated vehicles in a programme titled, “Safe to Load”; rapid expansion of Commands through creation of Outposts, more Unit Commands, additional Drivers Licence Centres, and Ambulance points were established under the leadership of the Corps Marshal; the Corps established a National Road Safety Advisory Council (NaRSAC) which is directly under the Office of the Vice President with a Secretariat at the FRSC National Headquarters.
The Federal Road Safety Corps partnered other West African Countries to replicate the Corps’ experience in the sub-region and to establish a road safety agency in those places, an instance is that of Sierra Leone Government who sent representatives to understudy the Corps and request that the Corps send its operatives to help their government grow a road safety agency.
He has, within the period, initiated various measures aimed at trending down the rate and fatalities in road traffic crashes particularly with the introduction of the speed limiting devices in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, the numbers of outposts and ambulance points were increased under his leadership to reduce FRSC’s response time to emergencies while making the services of the Corps accessible to the motoring public for freer and safer roads. The Corps Marshal has also strengthened inter-agency cooperation which relevant stakeholders such as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and Banks in Nigeria with evident success in interagency collaboration and harmonization of data for national development. Concerned with crashes involving government drivers, Oyeyemi vigorously pursued the programme of training of Federal Government drivers across MDAs as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR in 2016.
In pursuit of aggressive public enlightenment programme, the FRSC Management under him established the National Traffic Radio 107.1 FM in October, 2019 as a medium for educating mass members of the public on traffic matters and updating them of road conditions across the country.
In furtherance of the strategic partnership between the FRSC and tanker drivers to curb incessant cases of tanker crashes across the country, the FRSC Management under Oyeyemi initiated the programme of recertification nationwide to ensure training and retraining of the drivers with the same training extended to mechanics as well as vulcanizers to teach them on the inflation and deflation of tyres. Towards ensuring a happier and more productive post service life for staff, the Oyeyemi-led Management unveiled project 20,000 staff Housing Scheme to make house ownership easier for all staff of the Corps while the Board of FRSC Post-Service Scheme (PSS) to help members of the Corps save for retirement before the retirement benefit/pension are paid.
According to some insiders who expressed their views on the six years under Corps Marshal Oyeyemi, FRSC has earned notable recognitions and achievements including The Best MDA in Nation-building, e-Governance, 2015; Excellence in Humanitarian Service Award in Nigeria, 2015; Service Delivery Award as one of the Outstanding Public Institutions in Nigeria by Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG), 2014-2015.
Concerned with the need for conducive working environment for staff of the Corps across the country, Oyeyemi’s Management has so far constructed and inaugurated 14 permanent structures in various Sector commands, with other two awaiting inauguration. Meanwhile, massive infrastructural development is ongoing at the FRSC Academy Udi, Enugu state, where Clinic, Administrative block, Information and Communication Centre, Multi-purpose hall and lecture hall were recently inaugurated by the Representative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation who was assisted by some Governors of South Estern states including the host Governor, Chief Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
In order to ensure that the health and welfare of the entire workforce is substantially improved, the Corps Marshal initiated and completed the establishment of Road Safety Officers’ Wives Association Health Centre, Kuchikau, Nasarawa State as well as Staff Cooperative Clinic, Lokogoma, FCT.
In furtherance of his commitment to the social life of the personnel, the Corps Marshal inaugurated for the first time, the FRSC Retired Officers Association.
As most staff of the Corps have attested, the FRSC in the last six years under Boboye Oyeyemi has gained momentum and is prepared to sustain the tempo in facing the challenges of increased motorization in the COVID-19 era.
A group of CIVIL SOCIETIES under the Forum of Unity of Nigeria’s Ethnics commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the second term four-year tenure.They described Buhari as a leader that recognizes merit as a yardstick for appointment. The group also described those peddling rumour of tenure expiration as enemies of merit.