By John Iwori
In a bid to drive the nation’s economy, stakeholders in the maritime industry have advocated for an integrated multi-modal transportation system.
The stakeholders who gathered at the inaugural transport leadership lecture organised by Kings Communications Limited in Lagos with the theme “Driving Change with Leadership in Transport Industry identified and address the sector’s challenges, and concluded that the nation needs a transport policy for an effective multi-modal transport system to drive the economy.
Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor David Adamu Baike, who was the guest speaker said Nigeria needs drastic change in a positive direction to drive economic activities.
According to the don, a well organised transport system of a country could easily be the life-wire of that country, as is being experienced in Ethiopia.
He, however, lamented that Nigeria with its multifarious endowments in transportation facilities remained the most disorganised and the most wasteful system in place.
Baike noted that people must be held accountable for actions while the system would require responsible leaders who should be dedicated to the course of the industry for progress.
His words: “No one has been held accountable for the disgraceful demise of the Nigeria Railways, Nigeria Airways and the prestigious shipping lines that plied between Lagos and Southampton and or Liverpool. The crux of the matter is that we do not have an integrated policy on transportation system in the country and these accounts for chaos that is characteristic of our experiences while travelling within the country. The transport industry in Nigeria is in a desperate situation. It will require a committed leadership that will be prepared to make sacrifices that will bail the industry from its present morass”.
The former Vice Chancellor also drew the Federal Government attention to the national conference report with a view to implement the aspects that affect the transport sector of the economy.
THISDAY had reported that confab report recommended that Nigeria should have a policy formulating body which is the Council and the National Transportation Commission (NTC) to handle; create independent economic and safety regulation department for the transport sector under the NTC; promote economic development, expand trade and improve Nigeria’s competitiveness through an efficient and affordable integrated transport network; increase the involvement of the private sector in the provision, maintenance , operations and upgrading of infrastructure.
According to him, the confab report also stressed the need to develop transport infrastructure that ensures environmental sustainability and internationally accepted standard as well as to create a national integrated multimodal transport network. The obvious implication of the confab recommendation was that there was deficiency in nearly all the issues in the sector. Millions of naira were being lost as a result of operating poor transport system.
He said a leader faced with driving the change agenda may have no problem provided he is conversant with what is needed to be changed and given the tools to attain the goals of his/her mission.
The transport industry, he said, needs a new direction, but he noted that a leader cannot on his own make the change happen in the absence of inspiration from those that ‘own’ the industry and willing to make things happen.
“There is a great future for the transportation industry in Nigeria. There is the land mass, our population is increasing in leaps and bounds, our waterways are lying fallow waiting to be put into good economic use, people and agriculture products are waiting to be moved from one end of the country to the other, all that is required is for us to have the blueprint on transport in place and provide there wherewithal that would drive the change agenda. As of now, our transport industry is pedestrian”, he said.
Chairman of the occasion, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, said leadership in the industry should be backed with appropriate legal and regulatory framework that should cause board members to be appointed justifiably.
She said the leadership must show ability to carry out its function with zero tolerance for corruption, which had been a bane of development in the industry.