By Richard Romanus
I like to first and foremost commend the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade for the Redeployment of Ntufam Gabe Okulaja from Special Adviser, department of Public Transportation (DOPT) to Coordinator/desk officer, Home grown School feeding programme.
This action is particularly commendable because, this is a development that has been long overdue considering the unnecessary controversies that has been generated over which Agency of Government in charge of Transportation is to do what, when and how.
His Redeployment is what I have stood and been calling for long before now. The re-appointment of Barr Edem Ekong as SA DOPT is one of the best decisions that has been taken by the Ben Ayade administration especially when you take into consideration the sanity he brought to the Transport sub sector during is four years stint as head of DOPT in the last adminstration.
Those familiar with the activities of department of Public Transportation (DOPT) in recent times, will agree with me that, it has been a clear deviation from its core mandate of traffic regulation. It will be recalled that, I had earlier this year, written an article titled ‘ DOPT;TRAFFIC REGULATOR OR REVENUE COLLECTING AGENT OF GOVERNMENT’ were in the said piece I expressed concern over the high level of taxation on commercial Road users.
The Department of Public Transportation under Gabe Okulaja was to say the least, one of the most confused government agency in this administration. His penchant to make money for his pocket in the name of revenue drive for Government had no limits as virtually all the road sides sellers along Watt and Marian market were compelled to pay a certain fee on a daily basis to enable them continue to maintain their selling spot on the road.
Being a leading state in terms of tourism in Nigeria and the Governors desire to transform the sector better than he met it, I expected the former DOPT boss to immediately swing into action in collaboration with other Government agencies in charge of Transportation to immediately swing into action by introducing breathtaking innovations in the sector that will add colour and beauty to the state tourism credentials rather, the activities of DOPT under his watch were de marketing the state instead of marketing it.
For Barr Edem Ekong, His second coming can only be attributed to his sterling performance in the previous administration. It means, Governor Ayade recognises excellence and does not shy away from bringing on board, Cross Riverians who have been proven and tested in various capacities towards helping him deliver on his promises to the people of the state. Therefore, I expect Barr Ekong to immediately set the ball rolling by ensuring that, DOPT resumes it’s core functions while making concerted efforts towards reconciling all aggrieved parties in the sector that are disenchanted in on one way or the other for the greater good of the sector.
Governor Ben Ayade on his part must as a matter of urgency beam it’s searchlight on other MDAs of Government towards doing same to its various heads as there are still many of his aides in his Government who deserve a Redeployment or an outright sack.
Richard Romanus is a public Affairs Commentator from Oderegha in Obubra LGA, Cross River State.