Tinubu's Cabinet: Oyetola's antecedents preventing 'accidents' in Transport Ministry - Jimoh Olorede


In the newly released portfolios, the Ministry of Transportation was allocated to the immediate past governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola. However, being an expert in insurance and financial administration and fiscal management, one would expect that a related portfolio would be given to the ex-governor. 

Nevertheless, what is always paramount to any serious government in political position allocation is good performance as well as efficient delivery. I'm certain this is the main justification for the allocation of the Transportation Ministry to Oyetola, and others whose allocated ministries are different from their core areas of professionalism.  

Again, any serious ministerial appointee, especially ex-governors who, by statute and constitutionality, were the "principal overseers" of all ministries of government (State Ministry of Transportation inclusive) under their administrations, should not only expect that any ministerial portfolio whatsoever might be given to them, but should also be able to efficiently perform and deliver on the terms of reference of the allocated ministry. 

The rationality of the allocation of the Ministry of Transportation to the immediate past governor of Osun State by the President must be premised on his over three decades of experience as an insurance expert and successful Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in  the private sector coupled with his vantage as former Chief of Staff for eight years and another four years as governor. Not only this, and even more than Oyetola's experience, the President's decision must also have been informed by the newly appointed Minister's exploits and antecedents as Osun ex-governor. 

In Nigeria, there are many "accidents" not only in the Transportation Ministry, but also in almost all other ministries and tiers of government. The "accidents" in form of priority misplacement, lack of coherent policy framework and implementation, leadership ineptitude, corruption and fiscal indiscipline and high-handedness. These are barriers that defiantly stand as a bane against the boon of national development in Nigeria. But with Oyetola as Minister for Transportation, with expected replication of his exploits as an ex-governor, his antecedents will definitely prevent those accidents in the Transportation Ministry. 

A reminiscence about Oyetola's governance in Osun is full of unprecedented achievements. One of his great exploits, which for its intangiblenness and impalpability however remains unknown to uninformed minds was his demystification of what hitherto appeared fearful, complex and complicated in the governance of a state like Osun where some past governors hoodwinked us into believing that maintenance of recurrent expenditure obligations of government was a hard nut to crack and almost impossible. 

If not for Oyetola's managerial acumen, fiscal expertise, prudence and frugality, Osun, till date, would have remained stagnated and incapacitated in the fulfilment of her statutory obligations given the throat-taken humongous debt inherited by Oyetola. It is unbelievable that a governor who met about N154 billion loan debt on assumption of office in 2018 could leave a sum of N14 billion in the coffers of the state by the end of his four-year term in 2022. What marveled a conscious mind was his ability to pay full salaries of workers consistently for four years as well as his regular payment of pensions and maintenance of other statutory obligations of government without resorting to borrowing, while at the same time repaying the humongous loans!

Truth be told, the tasks ahead of the new Honourable Minister are herculean! Apart from the identified 'accidents' which I believe his antecedents will thwart from happening, the Ministry of Transportation is heavily pregnant with tasks and and responsibilities being one of the biggest Ministries in Nigeria in terms of agencies under it. Prominent among the agencies are: The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding of Nigeria (CRFFN), Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), and Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN). 

Others are Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC); Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). 

Again, Mr. President knows that it takes the dexterity of someone like Adegboyega Oyetola to oversee a huge ministry like transportation. In his leadership and management of the Ministry, Oyetola's clear focus and sound vision is expected to prevent the "accident" of priority misplacement. His premium on fiscal discipline will also address the bane of fiscal recklessness, corruption and lack of project implementation in the Ministry, while his expertise and acumen will displace ineptitude. I wish him all the best, God's grace and guidance to vitalize and overhaul the Ministry and deliver on development-driven agenda of President Bola Tinubu.  

*Jimoh Olorede, Ph.D,* varsity don, academic and media scholar writes from Osun via oloredejimoh@gmail.com/08111841887.

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