- By Theodore Opara
- Mr. Frank Nneji, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of ABC Transport recently told the story of how the company grew its fleet from just six mini buses to over 500 vehicles as the company marked its 25th anniversary in Owerri recently. According to Nneji whose company revolutionalised the transport industry in Nigeria, the dream started 26 years ago when he boarded a bus from Owerri to Lagos and had to undergo difficult times during the journey.
Hear his story: “Our 25th anniversary is very unique in the sense that it marks about 26 years when a young man left his house in the Ikenegbu Layout area and dropped off at a bus station along Old Market Road, Owerri, on his way to Lagos. The journey was characterised by crude practices which included customer abuse, discomfort caused by over loading and the use of ‘attachment seats’ as well as insolence by bus crew to mention but a few. After hours of time wasting, the bus finally proceeded on the journey but by this time, it was carrying more than twice its passenger capacity.
“The bus finally broke down at Ore at about 5pm. My fellow passengers and I including my friend, Basil Uzoma, were left to our fate. You can only imagine what kind of fate befell us as we tried to find an alternative transport in a strange place along the Benin-Lagos highway at that time of the day. During this bitter ordeal, I realised that there was an opportunity to create better value for the travelling public and improve the sector and this marked the birth of ABC Transport.
“ABC Transport’s success story is one we can all connect with, a story of inspiration and motivation, a true testimony of what we can achieve if we decide to improve our way of doing things. We all have the capacity to add value to our environment and this can only be done through collaboration, innovation and a sincere dedication to excellence. On February 13, 1993, when ABC Transport commenced operations from 21 Mbaise Road, Owerri, then known as Associated Bus Company, many industry watchers wrote us off. We were often referred to as ‘dreamers’ because the model we adopted to run our operations were widely seen as naïve and unrealistic.
Quality of service
“A renowned American inventor once said ‘don’t give up your dreams, the beginning is always the hardest’. So, in those early days of ABC Transport, we tried to build a reputation for ourselves by paying close attention to customer needs: comfort, convenience, class and safety. As a matter of policy, we adopted an uncompromising focus on the quality of service rendered and gradually began resetting the standards for road transport operations in Nigeria by providing a suitable alternative road travel means for the discerning traveller who would have otherwise gone by air. From then onwards, everything else is history.
“Today, after 25 years, ABC Transport operates from over 35 locations and travels to more than 1200 locations daily within and outside Nigeria and has over 500 vehicles in its fleet. The ABC Group has three subsidiaries and boasts of staff strength of more than 2,000. Its business holding spans passenger operations, consolidated cargo and haulage services, hospitality and tourism. It also carries out vehicle assembly through its subsidiary Transit Support Services.
“ABC Transport was first and remains the only public quoted transport company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. You can see from the above account that ABC Transport is a typical Imo State business expanded to the rest of Nigeria and West Africa.Today, we have, therefore, come back to the cradle of ABC Transport to celebrate with you the success of our endeavour which would not have been possible without your support, cooperation and encouragement.”