December 23, 2020

Boboye Oyeyemi: The lion with a vision for FRSC

FRSC moves to enforce speed limiter use, as speed-related crashes worry Corps Marshal Oyeyemi

Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi

Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi

By Fab Onah

Established in 1988 through Decree No. 45 as amended by Decree No. 35 of 1992 and passed by the National Assembly as FRSC Act 2007, the corps has towered among its contemporaries to become the lead agency in road traffic administration and safety management in Nigeria and World Bank best example of lead agency in road safety management in Africa. This has been made possible by the untiring and ingenious efforts of its leaders, the current being Dr. Boboye O. Oyeyemi MFR, mni, FNIM, NPoM, FCIPM, FCILT.

Starting from Professor Wole Soyinka, the pioneer leader of FRSC, to Osita Chidoka, the FRSC has had the future of having brilliant and focused Chief Executives who have moved the organization to new heights. However, the epitome of brilliance, vision, and focus is found in the current Corps Marshal of FRSC, Dr. Boboye O. Oyeyemi. Trained vastly in law enforcement and general administration within and outside the country, including the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Nigeria and Harvard University, School of Government, United States as well as Royal Institute for Public Administration in the United Kingdom, Boboye is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Fellows and member of 17 professional bodies including Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, London; Nigeria Institute of Management; Chartered Institute of Administration and Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

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In recognition of his immense contribution to the development of Nigeria in the field of engineering and road safety management, Oyeyemi was awarded the national honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR, in 2006; and in 2016, he received the National Productivity Order of Merit Award, NPoM, in testimony to the contribution he has made to national productivity in Nigeria. He holds a doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka which qualifies for the name, a lion. Dr. Oyeyemi is also a researcher and publisher. He has published three books in his profession namely, Productivity in Road Traffic Administration: Issues, Strategies, and Impediments; Strands in Road Traffic Administration in Nigeria and Road Signs and Safety Management in Nigeria. He has also published strong and well-researched road safety-related articles in reputable international journals.

In addition to the above inspiring profile of Oyeyemi which undoubtedly widened the horizon of his mind, he has vicariously applied himself to the job. He began his career from the rank of a superintendent Route Commander, SRC, 29 years ago and rose rapidly through the ranks and became the Corps Marshall on July 23, 2014; thus, becoming the first officer to rise to that position from within the organisation. Oyeyemi deploys tremendous energies to extol and pursue the vision of FRSC which is “To Eradicate Road Traffic Crashes and Create a Safe Motoring Environment.” Beyond this vision he works towards reducing road crashes to a tolerable minimum and achieve zero death in road crashes in Nigeria through the FRSC Mission which is “To Regulate, Enforce and Coordinate all Road Traffic and Safety Management Activities.”

This is why, in keeping with the organisational culture and practice of FRSC, at the beginning of every year the corps sets up corporate strategic goals which it reviews quarterly such that at the end of each year the organisation’s accomplishment is measured against the background of the set goals. This is consistent with Performance Management System, PMS, which Oyeyemi champions. In 2019, under his leadership, the FRSC established four strategic goals for its achievement, namely, reduction of Road Traffic Crash, RTC, by 20 per cent and fatality by 25 per cent; improving road safety programmes and processes; improvement in Corps assets and sustenance of alignment with UN conventions. Thus, for best practices, therefore, the strategic goals minded the five pillars of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020). Considerable strides were made towards achieving the strategic goals. At a glance, records in 2019 Annual Report of FRSC show that seven corridor Commands were created in 2019, 14 unit commands and outposts were established in the same year. An analysis of trend and percentage change in crashes and fatalities (2013-2020) shows also average of 26 per cent and 18 per cent decrease was recorded in the number of crashes and fatalities respectively in the above period.

Remarkably, in the same year, 18 per cent decrease in crashes, which is the lowest so far was recorded. Road traffic administration and safety management in Nigeria have continued to undergo considerable transformation in recent times. 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 NaRSAC is committed to addressing challenges associated with road safety in Nigeria in alignment with UN agenda towards reducing road traffic crashes and associated deaths. The corps marshal also initiated the registration of fleet operators under the Road Transport Safety Standardization Scheme, RTSSS, which regulates the operations of all fleet operators having minimum of five vehicles. Over 6,000 operators are expected to be registered and certified. Before the policy on RTSSS, the fleet operators’ environment had been unregulated. Corporate operators and private individuals operated without control leading to road traffic crashes with its attendant consequences. Since the implementation of Policy on RTSSS activities of both corporate and private individuals in inter and intra state transport service have been coordinated by the FRSC.

It is also gladdening to note that through consistent improvement of the National Drivers Licence, NDL, scheme and number plate regime, FRSC motor vehicle administration has gained both national and international acceptance. The corps also reviewed the Driving School Standardisation Programme where unique codes are generated for applicants in driving schools, with the corps on the know of every step of the way, thereby eliminating sharp practices among driving school operators.

The FRSC under Oyeyemi has witnessed tremendous visibility as several new commands and permanent office structures for sector commands have been inaugurated across Nigeria. One of the projects that is dear to the corps marshal is the scaling up and standardization of the FRSC Academy Udi, Enugu State. Because the corps marshal puts premium on training and capacity development he has fast-tracked several projects at the Academy. As a matter of fact, part of his dream is to make the Academy to transform to a Centre of Excellence in safety management and traffic administration, serving the sub–Saharan Africa even in the capacity of a diploma and degree awarding institution. This is probably why, on prompting by the corps marshall, the governor of Enugu State graciously completed the administrative block which was inaugurated on October 5, 2020. The administrative block adds to the ultra modern lecture theatre, classrooms and fully furnished ICT block that distinguish the Academy from other establishments with similar mandate. The corps marshal believes in human capital development and building personnel for the future. Consequently, the FRSC invests in its human resource as part of the engine to drive the Corps into the next level. Resources are therefore deployed every year to enable Officers participate in international and national training programmes.

Such training institutions include, but not limited to National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos; Institute of Security Studies and Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON). These are aside workshops and conferences organized regularly for different levels and cadre of Officers and Marshals.

A believer in collaborative endeavour, the CM has caused the FRSC to partner with many national and international organizations for the benefit and visibility of FRSC. These include the Exxon Mobil Unlimited, Nigeria Army, ICPC and first generation universities in Nigeria. The experiences drawn from these organizations help FRSC for best practices towards realizing its mandate.

Dr Oyeyemi is a leader par excellence as he possesses and practically exhibits sterling qualities of a leader.  Leadership is showing the way or direction; influencing or causing to follow by words and deeds; guiding the behaviour of others through ideas strengths or heroic feats, and motivating people. The above summarize Dr Oyeyemi who also believes in teamwork and group cohesion as cogent management strategies. Related to these leadership qualities are his winsome interpersonal relationship and excellent person-perception. He relates well with his contemporaries as well as other ranks including Marshals. He perceives everybody as a major contributor to the success made by FRSC and gives everybody a sense of belonging and dignity by calling everybody by their first name. This is a sharp contrast to the bicyclist personality who only bows to and respects those above him and kicks those below him. A detribalized Nigerian, Oyeyemi’s interpersonal relationship cuts across tribes, religion, and knows no cultural boundaries. His style of leadership is a typical example of humanization of bureaucracy. This is because he has increased involvement on the part of the staff and even the stakeholders which would facilitate moves to restructure and reinvigorate FRSC. His humanistic approach to the individual worker is superlative.

Although he ascribes his ascendance and successes to God Almighty and the willing cooperation of his team, success hardly comes without headwork.  The CM, has no specific working period as he works all through the day and continues tirelessly at home even at odd hours. This spirit as it were has “afflicted” most of his senior management staff that has been influenced by the CM’s work attitude.

CM’s cooperative endeavour and team spirit positively affected the 2019 recruitment by the Corps. The 2019 recruitment exercise is adjudged the best of such exercises among paramilitary organizations. It was rather seamless and acutely transparent, irrespective of what predators and scammers attempted to do to frustrate the exercise. It is a recruitment template that should be copied and replicated by other organizations. Dr. Oyeyemi has transformed FRSC into a self-correcting organization. Roles and role relationships are clear. Merit is the gospel when promotion, placement, and resourcing are at issue.  Punishment and reward administration are based on founded events and this makes the staff believe in the organization. The good practice of regular evaluation and performance management schemes installed in FRSC serves as a gauge for staff and their relationship with the goal achievement of the organization.

There is hardly any chief executive that does not have a headache bordering on the organization. One of the CM’s headache is the hazards faced by FRSC staff extraneous to the organization. Like all professions, FRSC is associated with peculiar operational hazards. The FRSC personnel have suffered high hazards in their daily activities. In some cases there is loss of lives and property as a result of drivers’ attitude who inadvertently refuse to stop or out rightly overrun personnel. There are also issues of irate motorists, recalcitrant drivers, armed attack on FRSC personnel and abduction. Recently, during the #ENDSARS protests the FRSC lost 8 Command offices and 28 operation vehicles to unscrupulous arsonists. These unfortunate events require thinking outside the box for innovative solutions.

Anchorage is the backbone of strength as the saying goes.    We are convinced that Dr. Oyeyemi would not have achieved these unparalleled feats without anchoring himself on God Almighty. As he says in one of his early morning social media broadcasts: “Take time each day to connect to the Divine, trust that there is a plan even if you only see a fraction of it.  Every good thing you do creates ripples that you may not see, do them anyway, seek God first and all you really want will find you.”

Irrespective of some challenges which include the existence of few bad elements in the system, poor road user behaviour, and inadequacy in budgetary provisions. The FRSC under the watch of Dr. Oyeyemi is soaring high. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has long certified FRSC for quality management standards. This ISO certified organization remains the lead agency in traffic administration and safety management in Africa. FRSC has sustained its position and further exploited best practices and new ways to achieve the goal of establishing a nation where road traffic crashes result in zero death in the not too distant future.

Vanguard News Nigeria