The immediate past Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo has disclosed that the successes recorded during his short stint in office was due to the immense support he enjoyed from stakeholders in the sector and a competent workforce in the Ministry.
He made the disclosure while speaking at an appreciation dinner organised by the League of Maritime Editors (LOME) to honour him and the immediate past Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye yesterday in Lagos.
Sambo explained that the support and collaboration of transport industry stakeholders and heads of agencies under the Ministry was instrumental in achieving the positive results.
Speaking further, the ex-minister noted that the accomplishments would also not have been possible without the input of an efficient team of civil servants led by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani.
According to him, their performance goes a long way in determining the success or failure of a country.
He said: “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 also thanked former President, Mohammadu Buhari for giving him the opportunity to serve the country, describing him as a leader who loves Nigeria and wants the best for the country.
Earlier, the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the occasion, Boss Mustapha described Sambo as one of the country’s finest statesmen who epitomises humility.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Tolu Odebiyi noted that Sambo was able to work harmoniously with the presidency, legislature, heads of agencies and the transport industry stakeholders.
“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,” he said.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime pointed out that is the biggest beneficiary of Sambo’s leadership, citing the approval to implement Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) as a development that the Council will never forget.
According to the NSC boss, the impact both Ministers have made in their public career is proof that they excel in all their endeavours, adding that the quality of transport industry stakeholders at the Appreciation Dinner was also a testament to their impact in the sector.
“If you haven’t been anywhere as impactful as you were, the hall would have been empty. You have left your legacies that will be remembered as long as the history of Transportation Ministry is told”, he added.
On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko highlighted the Lekki Deep Seaport as the Authority’s biggest win under Sambo, even as he recalled that his first visit to the former Minister was for a condolence visit when he lost his brother.
“I had a pressing issue about something at the NPA and the banker in me succeeded in getting me to discuss the issue about NPA with the Minister eventhough he was mourning. He listened and gave his input despite the fact that he was mourning.’
“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, ” Bello-Koko recalled.
Also, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, pointed out that unlike former Ministers, Sambo was an insider who came prepared with a good understanding of the sector.
He explained that the Minister’s ability to remain focus on the goal, despite challenges was why he achieved so much within a short period of time.
“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. He achieved tremendous successes within one year that would have taken four years.
“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 NIMASA boss said.
The Acting Registrar of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Mrs. Chinyere Uromta described both Ministers and the Permanent Secretary as people she admired from a distance before having an opportunity to work closely with them.
“I’m barely three months old as Acting CEO and my experience working with them came close to the end of their administration. 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,” she said.
Uromta urged the administration of president Bola Tinubu to reappoint them as Transport Ministers in order to continue the job they have done.
In his welcome address, President of LOME, Timothy Okorocha stated that Sambo raised the bar in improved governance system, industry capacity building and growth through hard work and uncommon commitment.
He stated that the former Minister performed excellently and attended to the task of driving transformational change in the industry; moving from mere talks of successive administrations to implementation and execution.
“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.
“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”, he remarked.