The Rough Tunnels Before Oyetola:  The Pieces Of Advice

The Rough Tunnels Before Oyetola:  The Pieces Of Advice

 The confusion associated with President Bola Tinubu’s regime since assumption of office May 29, found its way in the transport sector, where it showed in change of ministerial positions earlier made.  Before now keen observers of his person and interest had said he would make his kinsman minister of transportation, especially when Lagos is involved.  The difference in their postulation however is the names projected.  But he did not disappoint the people with the appointment of his cousin brother and former Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola as the Minister of Marine & Blue Economy, a position earlier given to Hon Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who has been reassigned to the Ministry of Interior.  Oyetola was assigned Ministry of Transportation without a definitive adjunct as Land or Railway transportation.

What could have called for the change overnight? Someone argued that they suddenly realized that the juicy or money spinning agencies will be domiciled under the new Ministry. And so reassigning his cousin brother there is to secure his interest. Any validity?

This bouts of Tinubu’s mistakes has raised concerns on the quality of men he has around him as advisers and ministers.  But the one that has left many faces moody is the conceptual misunderstanding in the new ministry of marine and blue economy, making stakeholders to ask again: Where is Hadiza Bala-Usman, President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Policy Coordination?  This decision is a policy inclined one capable of driving a sustainable change in the economy if well managed.  Hadiza’s exposure at the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) equipped her to understand how the maritime industry functions and the potentials therein.  That exposure is needed here.

There is a difference between the Marine and Maritime concepts and definitions but the capacity to create a workable meeting point between the two guarantees success.  When Transportation Ministry is left without the adjunct one is made to believe that the new Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy was created  to be preoccupied with only the aquatic content of the ocean and the environment as well as the emerging extractive and creative industry  it offers. In this you have underwater mining, tourism, fishery and the biodiversity in the marine ecosystem, among others.

Maritime is essentially shipping, navigation, seafaring with their supporting super-structures, ancillary services, among others.

With the potentials of the new ministry being an estimated worth of more than $!.5trillion annually, it is advisable for Oyetola to concentrate on developing the industry than getting enmeshed in the murky waters of the daily revenue streams of the agencies met in the sector. Without this, Oyetola will be working on a dicey opportunity cost, sacrificing his core brief under marine and blue economy for shadows by annexing the traditional agencies, whose operational liabilities create no movement but motion.  

My advice to Oyetola  is not to be in a hurry to make moves. Don’t hit the ground running and run out of relevance. The Ministry requires planning and understanding of its integral parts before launching out. It seems amorphous but articulation and definition of contents and context will give direction for success.

What some stakeholders see as a challenge here could be an advantage to the Minister and the maritime transport industry. His back ground as an insurance guru is to be leveraged to expand the operation scope of the insurance industry. However, it is painful that beginners always are sent to the transport sector.

Oyetola has a rough road ahead, no doubt. But stakeholders pray not to have new ministry yet end up with old or worse experiences.

Lastly, don’t be quick to make changes in the parastatals, no matter the push. Try to understand the workings of the agencies and the relevance or otherwise of the leaders before taking a decision.  You need a flight on cruise to make initial marks and impact to gain the confidence of the stakeholders not a flight at the tarmac awaiting checks for take-off.

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