By Bisi Kazeem
When in 1988, the Federal Government of Nigeria established the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to curb the menace of road crashes in the country, with Professor Wole Soyinka as the first Chairman of the government established institution, the present day Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi MFR, mni, NPoM, was a pioneer member of the group who blazed the trail to set up what is today known as the Lead Agency on road safety in the whole of Africa.
Apparently a believer in success who goes the stretch to achieve it, the Corps Marshal has no specific closing time, and works from the house when he should be sleeping or relaxing. In this way, many have perceived him a workaholic, but in his words, “failure is an orphan that nobody wants to associate with”.
The trajectory of his career as a road safety pioneer member from the day of the Agency’s conception till this present date are the very factors that have shaped him as an all-rounder in road safety management and administration with a firm and fair handling of goal-oriented affairs as the Corps Marshal of the FRSC today.
The Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi began his career from the rank of a Superintendent Route Commander (SRC), and has over the course of 26 years, exactly on Wednesday the 23rd of July 2014, risen to the position of the Corps Marshal and Chief Executive (COMACE), a position that was later changed to the “Corps Marshal”.
He has since proven to be a leader who leads by example, and with all the qualities of leadership. His leadership cuts across tribes, religion and cultural boundaries, and he does not discriminate between Muslims and Christians.
With no other pioneer member in the frame, some either retired or called to Glory by God Almighty, he is fondly referred to as the “Last Man Standing” by members of the Corps, a moniker he is not averse about.
Humility always coming to the fore, when asked about his meteoric rise to the position of the Corps Marshal in a system that, until his regime, has never appointed the Head of the agency from the inside, he constantly attributes his rise to the exalted position as Almighty God’s making.
EARLY LIFE OF CORPS MARSHAL BOBOYE OYEYEMI
In less than a month after Nigeria gained her independence from the hands of her colonial master, the Great Britain, a rare gem in the person of the Corps Marshal Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, to the family of Reverend Michael Babalola Oyeyemi, indigene of Odo Owa, Oke Ero Local Government Area Council of Kwara State.
The Corps Marshal started his primary school at First Baptist Primary School, Ibadan, Oyo State, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC).
With the best of grades, young Boboye Oyeyemi proceeded to Christ High School Ibadan, Oyo State, where he obtained his West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) as one of the most distinguished performers at that level.
In no time, after he had performed excellently at the Senior Secondary School level, he gained admission into The Polytechnic Ibadan, Oyo state, where he studied Electrical Engineering and obtained his National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma.
Apparently unknown to him that he was ever going to become an administrator of the road transport sector as a road safety personnel, the universe sort of propelled and prepared him in line with what became his future endeavours when he proceeded to the University of Lagos, Lagos State, for his Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Transport Management and obtained his Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from the same University.
The craving for knowledge in the transportation sector did not end at the Masters Level; he proceeded to the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in Enugu State to obtain his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Transport Administration.
With the hunger for knowledge proving unquenchable, he attended the following Institutions: Harvard University School of Government, Royal Institute for Public Administration (RIPA), London, the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at Kuru, Plateau State, Nigeria, Police Training Division, Suffern, New York for the Glock Armorer’s and Firearms Safety Course, Region VI Police Driving School, Wilshire County, Devices, England; Sleep Research Laboratory, Loughborough University, UK, Glock, John R Wald Inc; NY, USA, Shot gun Instructors Course, NY, USA and John R Wald Inc, USA (Number Plates Admin).
THE MAKING OF THE MARSHAL LEGEND
The Corps Marshal’s experience on the job as a road safety traffic management administrator in Nigeria cuts across different departments as a Field Operative and at the National Headquarters level.
Before he became the Corps Marshal in 2014, he had hitherto served in the following capacity: Officer in Charge of Communication; Corps Marshal Office; Area Commander (Plant and Production) National Uniform Licencing Scheme (NULS); Deputy Director, Operations; Acting Director Operations; Director Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA); HOD Policy Research and Statistics (PRS); HOD Training Standards and Certification (TSC); HOD Operations, HOD Motor Vehicle and Administration; Corps Marshal.
It is instructive to note at this point that before he became the Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi has served as the Head of all departments in the Corps except the Administration and Human Resource department (AHR).
MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTIONS
It is when a man rests on his laurels and does not fellowship with his kind that his problem solving ability diminishes. The Corps Marshal Oyeyemi, being a man who favours self development to foster the overall growth of the Corps is a member of different professional bodies, and they include but not limited to Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR); Member National Institute (mni); Recipient of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPoM); American Medal of Honour, American Biographical Institute, USA; Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON) where he has risen to the position of a Fellow; Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administration (FCAI) Abuja; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (FCILT), London; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (FCIPM); and Fellow, Chartered Institute of Administration (FCIA).
Others are Member, Institute of Management Consultants (MIMC), Lagos; Member, International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (MIIRSM), London; Member, American Society of Safety Engineers (MASSE), USA; Member, Institute of Road Safety Officers (MIRSO), London; Member, International Association of Chiefs of Police (MIACP), USA; Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (MIEEE), USA; Member, Institute of Transportation Engineers (MITE), USA; Member Institute of Engineering and Technology (MIET), London; Member International Road Federation (MIRF); Member Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA); Member, World Road Association and Member National Association of Road Professionals.
His membership in the foregoing professional bodies is one that has broadened his knowledge and scope of administration in the Federal Road Safety Corps, and has made him an astute achiever who redeems departments that are lagging behind to an envious one.
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE FRSC UNDER THE CORPS MARSHAL’S ADMINISTRATION
The Corps under the administration of the present Corps Marshal have earned notable achievements and recognitions, they are: Winner, best MDA in Nation Building: NITDA-NIHILENT e-Governance, 2015; Award for excellence in Humanitarian Service in Nigeria, 2015; Award to exceptional commitment to Road Safety in the 2014 Premier Africa Road Safety Award; Winner, best use of Technology Government Agency organized by Technology Avenue in 2015; Service Delivery Award as one of the Outstanding Public Institutions in Nigeria by Independent Service Delivery monitoring Group (ISDMG), 2014-2015.
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CORPS MARSHAL
Upon his assumption of office as Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi alongside his team of management designed and implemented programmes of action to advance the growth of the Corps in all ramifications, with the aim of trending down road crashes and fatality rate.
The following are not limited to the achievements recorded from 2014 to date: the Corps under his leadership has continually trended down road crashes and fatality rates on yearly bases; the signage plant for road furniture was established within the space of 2014 till date, under his leadership; the Corps set up an initiative to curb the rate of road crashes occasioned by articulated vehicles in a programme titled, “Safe to Load”; more Drivers Licence Centres were established under the leadership of the Corps Marshal; the Corps established more outposts and ambulance points under his leadership; 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 Federal Road Safety Corps partnered other West African Countries to replicate the Corps’ experience in the sub-region and to establish a road safety agency in those places, an instance is that of Sierra Leone Government who sent representatives to understudy the Corps and request that the Corps send its operatives to help their government grow a road safety agency; the Corps strengthened inter-agency cooperation which occasioned data sharing between National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and Banks in Nigeria; the Corps was declared by World Bank as the best example of a lead agency on road safety in Africa; 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; a total of 6,791 operators were expected and 4,456 certified as at 2016; the Corps reviewed the Driving School Standardization Programme where unique codes are generated for applicants in Driving Schools, with the Corps on the know every step of the way, thereby eliminating sharp practices among driving school operators.
Training of Federal Government drivers across MDAs as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR in 2016; Upgrade of the FRSC Academy to a degree awarding institution so the Corps can continually sustain its vibrancy and leadership in Africa and beyond; Commenced the process to establish FRSC Traffic Radio as a means of better outreach to the public on road safety; the Corps reduced response time of FRSC personnel to crash scenes from 40 minutes to 15 minutes, and has since sustained the tempo of performance in this regard; under his leadership as the Corps Marshal, the Corps flagged off Child Restraint campaign; under the leadership of the Corps Marshal the Corps officially flagged off Tyre Campaign to stem the influx of fake and expired tyres into the Country and to sensitize the Nation on how to identify fake tyres; under his leadership as Corps Marshal, the Corps, together with Standards Organization of Nigeria, implemented the use of Speed Limiting Device, with a massive sensitization campaign on the initiative underway before the full implementation.
The Corps organized a recertification programme for tanker/trailer drivers nationwide occasioned by constant crashes; training of tyre mechanics (vulcanizers) on the right amount of inflation for tyres. The training was aimed at eliminating; the Corps unveiled project 20,000 staff Housing Scheme planned for Staff of the Corps across the country to own a house; the Corps inaugurated a board of FRSC Post-Service Scheme (PSS) to help members of the Corps save for retirement even before the retirement benefit/pension arrives; the Corps experienced high International recognition of Nigerian Drivers Licence and reciprocity with several European Nations and the United States of America
THE PERSON OF THE MARSHAL LEGEND
Like every other human walking the surface of the earth, there are many sides to them, and in most cases, the ones who find themselves in positions of authority are often judged by their character.
In this wise, there’s no gainsaying that the Corps Marshal being the head of the Corps has his many sides which has formed the opinion of many members of the Corps and even members of the public, as well as stakeholders. Below are a few personality traits of the Corps Marshal and perceptions held by many:
It is very easy for everyone to see the steadfastness of the Corps Marshal and his commitment to the course of road safety in Nigeria; the Corps Marshal has proven beyond reasonable doubt to be a very religious man possessed by the fear of God, and has a forgiving spirit; he is a people manager with a stick and carrot approach to management, and this is very much inherent in his Consultation, Punishment and Reward initiative. In this manner, he rewards hard work and has punitive measures in place to curb misdemeanours.
He is dogged and resolute in action, especially when he believes in the course of action that is aimed at positive advancement. This was reflected in many initiatives the Corps has introduced which Nigerians were critical about. The Speed Limiting Device initiative is one of such programmes Nigerians were critical about.
The Corps Marshal often pass as a perfectionist for many especially with the fact that you must be well above board to satisfy him. The fact however is, he abhors laziness and corrupt tendencies. He is apparently detribalized as he does not favour one ethnicity over another. This is evident in the composition of his personal staff, from his ADC to Personal Assistant, to his tea girls.
Many see the Corps Marshal as the Last Man standing, considering that among his peers who joined the Corps at the same time as him, he is the only one still remaining in service.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan at one time acknowledged that the Corps Marshal towered above his peers, hence the reason he was appointed to the office.
Under Dr. Olu Agunloye, a former Corps Marshal, the present Corps Marshal has earned accelerated promotion for his exemplary performance.
He never relents, his achievement is enough evidence that he never does. And in the same manner he has surrounded himself with Officers and Men with visions. He is very much aware that to achieve greatness, one needs only those who key into the same visions. These sets of people he sees as believers.
BISI KAZEEM is Corps Commander, Corps Public Education Officer