Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd), has called for partnership between the public and private sectors in order to come up with innovative ways of resolving the transportation challenge in the country.
Gowon spoke in Abuja at the opening of the Second National Transport Summit organised by the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIoTA).
The summit, which brought together experts and stakeholders from across the sector, had the theme, “Building Sustainable Transport Infrastructure in Nigeria: Opportunities, Innovations and Technologies.”
The former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon who chaired the occasion and addressed the summit virtually, condemned the destruction of public assets in the country during the recent nationwide protests.
Gowon stated, “The nation must embark on a realistic and honest assessment of our national transport system in Nigeria and reposition the transport sector. Unfortunately, the nation has come under the burden of economic challenge of Covid-19 pandemic and the dwindling oil fortunes, which marred critical impact we ought to have made in order to revitatlise our transportation system in the country.”
Gowon called on stakeholders in the sector to join hands to move the transportation industry forward.
“I implore all the critical stakeholders in the transport sector, policymakers and technical experts at this summit to think deeply on how we can evolve and create innovative strategies to advance the transport system in the country,” he stated. “I leave this to the transport experts present at this summit, who will help us to unveil these strategies at this summit for implementation for our transport system,” the former Head of State said.
While commenting on the destruction of public assets following the hijack of the #Endsars protests by hoodlums, Gowon advised that it was in the interest of everyone to support the development of critical sectors, saying people should not resort to destruction in the name of protest.
Yakubu Gowon said, “We all have to be involved in finding ways to improve the transportation sector in our country, and not to destroy what we have, as recently happened in Lagos during the #EndSARs crisis, when over 150 Lagos buses were destroyed. I think the citizenry; the public have really cautioned themselves not to repeat this sort of thing.” He also said, “We must embark on an intensive campaign to make more public and private sectors accountable and performance-oriented, with a view to providing the citizenry with a proficient transport system.”
In his welcome address, President of CIoTA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the body was pursuing a national transport development strategy based on a “Transportation Development Tripod,” comprising professionalism, education, and advocacy.
The CIoTA president, who is also Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said there is need to ensure that transport infrastructure is manned by professionals in the field.
Jamoh stated in the address titled, CIoTA: The Journey Begins, “Professionals are known for standards; they are known for doing things the right way. Professionalism is also about right expertise, even in placement of people in positions in our various MDAs, when it comes to transport departments and management of government fleets.
“We must attract and earn the respect that our transport profession deserves.”