The former Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Sambo CON, has described the civil service as contributing immensely to the nation’s developmental efforts.
Sambo who rated the civil servants in his former ministry high said they played a prominent role in his successes while he was the Minister of Transportation.
Speaking on the occasion of the appreciation dinner organized in his honour and that of his former Minister of State, Prince Ademola Adegoroye by members of the League of Maritime Editors (LOME), Sambo said civil servants remain the benchmark to be used in assessing the success and failure of the transport industry.
In his commendation of the Permanent Secretary, Dr. (Mrs.) Magdalene Ajani, Directors and other officials in the Ministry of Transportation, the former Minister said they would not have recorded so much success without the support from the civil servants.
According to Sambo, “No matter how good the Minister of State for Transportation, Ademola Adegoroye and I were; we wouldn’t have achieved anything if not for the Permanent Secretary, Magdalene Ajani. Nigerian civil servants will respect you to the letter if you’re their boss, but they would still refuse to do your bidding if they are not interested in it.
“If there should be any accolade for whatever we achieved during a short period, the accolade should go to the head of the bureaucracy at the Ministry and that is the Permanent Secretary. A nation can only be as good as the quality of the civil service it has. The professionalism and penchant for excellence displayed by Magdalene is worth commending; but I didn’t expect less because we come from the same background where there is an unwritten code to deliver excellence.”
Sambo was also full of commendation for the chief executives of the various agencies under the Transport Ministry as well as maritime stakeholders for their support.
The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha who was Chairman of the occasion described Sambo as an epitome of humility.
Mustapha who was represented on the occasion by the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Tolu Odebiy said Sambo remains one of Nigeria’s finest statesmen.
He said that while as Minister Sambo worked with the Presidency, legislature , heads of agencies and other stakeholders harmoniously, adding that he carried out lots of projects during his short tenure in the transport sector.
Odebiyi said, “We are celebrating one of our finest in Mu’azu Sambo and I mean that with all sense of humility. I worked closely with him and I found him to be a focused and goal-oriented personality. He worked assiduously with the Presidency and legislature to achieve numerous projects and there were lots of projects accomplished under Sambo. The trains, boats flagged off, among others are worthy of commendation. I pray and hope that your work will be recognized in the new administration and you’ll be rewarded accordingly.”
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime, in his statement said his Council as the ports economic regulator was the biggest beneficiaries during Sambo’s tenure.
Jime for instance pointed the approval for the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note as imperative, adding that the Council cannot forget.
The NSC ES also said the fact that Sambo and Adegoroye were being celebrated by stakeholders was a proof that they made impact in their public career.
Jime said, “If you haven’t been anywhere as impactful as you were, the hall would have been empty because it would have been good riddance to bad rubbish. Nevertheless, you have left your legacies that will be remembered as long as the history of Transportation Ministry is told.”
Similarly, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko also said the Lekki Deep Seaport was among the biggest achievements the authority recorded under the tenure of Sambo as Minister.
Bello-Koko said that he learnt a lot from Sambo as Minister, adding that he was a good listener and very thorough..
He said, “I learnt perseverance from Sambo and I learnt that when issues come up, we say our mind and let it go. In the heat of the moment, the Minister of State is someone who always gives advice just as freely as he asks questions. At times, I go to him before going to see Sambo and he always inspires me.”
Jamoh discussing with Sambo..
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, in his remarks described Sambo as an industry player who was fully prepared for the task.
He said that Sambo came to the Transport industry already aware of what to do, adding that this was among the reasons he accomplished so much within a short space of time.
Jamoh said, “My big brother, Alhaji Sambo already knew; the good, the bad and the ugly of the maritime sector before becoming the Minister. He is also a patriot that thinks about the interest of the nation at all times, according to Shipping Day Live.
“At NIMASA, we were renting offices all over the country apart from our headquarters but today we own numerous zonal offices. We have operational boats, clinics, and several accomplishments too numerous to mention,”
The Ag. Acting Registrar of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Mrs. Chinyere Uromta also described Sambo and Adegoryoye as people who had much love for the transport sector’s development.
Uronta was full of commendation for the two Ministers and the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ajani for their contributions to the Transport Ministry.
She said the two Ministers were always harmonious and demonstrated passion for the transport sector.
She said, “The two Ministers talk and reason similarly. I see the passion with which they lead the agencies. The Permanent Secretary, however, is someone I have loved and admired from a long distance”..
In his welcome address, the President of LOME, Chief Timothy Okorocha said the honour given to the two ministers was in recognition of their “peerless accomplishments through hard work and uncommon
commitment to raise the bar, both in improved governance system, industry capacity building and growth”.
Okorocha said , “Let me state very quickly, that we took note with special delight, the uncommon camaraderie that existed between Prince Adegoroye and his boss, Sambo, as a measure of the collective gains recorded by their very eventful but short stint.
“On behalf of The League, l wish to place it on record that Sambo and Adegoroye are the epitome of grace in leadership, which also inspires and promotes respect, chivalry and focus at work place, leading unswervingly to efficiency and productivity. We thank you sirs, you have set a pace and standard that will take many decades to beat.
“And that brings us to the effervescence with which the former Ministers attended to the task of driving transformational change in the industry; moving from mere talks of successive administrations to implementation and execution”.
He added, “Sambo is also on record as the first minster to publicly acknowledge the efforts of his predecessor, and declared he would work to execute whatever was pending, which he did by readily identifying the baskets of opportunities that can be harvested to raise capacity.
“One of such, was in the area of the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), which has stalled repeatedly close to two decades. Sambo said he was going to confront it frontally and ensure he secured the approval to disburse. He accomplished it in less than nine weeks record time; and barring any unforeseen circumstances, the process is already on.
“As media practitioners, it is our duty to have our eyes fixed on the activities and developments of the transport sector and its sub sectors, we hold Alhaji Sambo and his brother minister of state have been exceptional, we are thankful and quite elated to recognize the strategic efforts they deployed to moving the industry forward to its present pedestal.
“Direction has been laid to reintegrate ports outside Lagos into the national system, same for capacity building in NIWA, NITT, Maritime Academy Oron (MAN), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and other critical nexus driven by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); not forgetting the former ministers’ specific emphasis for the establishment of a one-stop-shop port community system to promote inter-connectivity and efficiency.At the nick of time, all these will certainly continue to stand and speak for you as a memorial in your future endeavours.
“I submit that there is nothing as gratifying when one achieves so much within a very short period. Your achievements in the areas of ports infrastructure rehabilitation, indigenous shipping development stand out.
“The League is also unequivocal that the Sambo and Adegoroye’s political dynamism and leadership styles was not only imbued with outstanding successes, they embody and manifest capacities that are awaiting engagements, as they can only represent the needed catalyst for the success of any administration.
“If they achieved the workload of ten years under a ten month duration, it goes without question that they have much more to offer Nigeria, our government only needs to be reminded that in both gentlemen, we have uncommon economic builders and policy drivers.
“Today is not one for recounting their giant strides, the maritime press have kept pace with that and the records are in the public space. What we are here to do today is to fete Sambo and Adegoroye, and to reaffirm our faith in them to make themselves available when called upon, for the building of a better Nigeria.
“We can say without equivocation and with all sense of responsibility that Sambo and Adegoroye came, saw and raised the standards, leaving the transport sector and the maritime domain especially, better than they met it.
“I dare to say that Sambo is not only clinical in execution, the former minister inspires courage, he dispenses moral rectitude and evinces hope for the youth, the productive bracket of this country.
“When you addressed our Seafarers’ Cadets who were set to embark on their foreign training few months ago, you admonished them to be good ambassadors of Nigeria, and cautioned them against shutting the place of God in their lives.
“Your admonition for them to also build their spiritual lives sets you apart as a leader with godly heart. You showed us the essence of humanity. We are grateful to you, sir.
“Our memory of reporting the industry under your inspirational personality will never fade.
“The League is the body of senior and very seasoned maritime journalists, and a bridge in partnership development, sensitive to the collective task of nation building.
“The League remains upbeat about developmental journalism, and is available for critical engagement and in the collective formation of the essential links in moving our national economy forward”.