By Babajide Okeowo
The immediate past Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has disclosed that the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) appeared jinxed while charging the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani to unjinx it and get it working before the next cabinet is constituted.
The CTN is an official document or certificate that contains detailed information about cargo and its movement between ports as well as the transit period, this CTN precedes any shipment to a country demanding ECTN before the cargo arrives at the port for clearance through customs or other local authorities.
However, the implementation of the policy has been blighted with allegations of inter-agency rivalry, policies summersault, among other things, as reasons the CTN has not been put to use.
Reacting to this, Sambo, at the Maritime Industry’s Appreciation Dinner organized by the League Of Maritime Editors (LOME) to honour him and the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye.
“I think the Cargo Tracking Note is jinxed. I however trust you to unjinx it. Please before the next cabinet is in place make sure at least the cargo tracking note is working, you are the acting minister now you can take anything to Mr President for approval and get express approval” he stated..
The Minister reserved special appreciation for Ajani positing that the accomplishments he achieved during his 10 months stint at the Ministry wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Perm Sec, Dr. Ajani.
Hear him, “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 equally thanked transport industry stakeholders and heads of agencies under the Ministry, adding that he enjoyed immense support and collaboration in achieving strategic goals for the sector. He described the heads of agencies as the best any minister could have worked with.
Earlier, the immediate-past Secretary to the Federal Government and Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Boss Mustapha described Mu’azu Sambo as one of the country’s finest statesmen who epitomizes 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.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime described NSC as the biggest beneficiaries of Sambo’s leadership, itemizing the approval to implement Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) as a development that the Council will never forget.
Jime also stated that 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 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,” the NSC boss said.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko labeled the Lekki Deep Seaport as NPA’s biggest win under Sambo even as he recalled that his first visit to the former Minister Sambo 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 even though 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.
On her part, 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,” Uromta said.
Similarly, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, appreciated the Ministers of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo and Prince Ademola Adewole Adegoroye for their contribution to the success of the NRC modernization projects
On his part, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, stressed that unlike former Ministers, Sambo was an industry player who became Minister and came prepared.
“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.”
“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,” Jamoh remarked.
In his welcome address, Chief Timothy Okorocha, the President of League of Maritime Editor saluted Sambo and Adegoroye for raising the standards in public service and for leaving the transport sector and 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” he said.