Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, Principal Partner British Standard Nigeria Limited and President of APFFLON.
WE ALL NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THE ELECTRONIC CALL UP SYSTEM WORKS- Frank Ogunojemite.
By Dili Utomi.
The principal partner of the British Standard Nigeria Limited and the President of the African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Otunba Frank Ogunojemite has spoken strongly in support of the electronic call up system with its online portal known as the “eto” . Otunba Ogunojemite in an exclusive interview with www.greatalternativenigerianetwork.com.ng spoke passionately about his desire to see that the call up system works as he enjoined every player in the maritime sector to have an all hand on the deck approach to make the novel idea a great success.
He started by saying that “the call up system is a welcome and fantastic idea, stating that if you want a change, you must make a change”. The Otunba urged the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority to continually engage stakeholders and especially freight forwarders as he stated that the software application, the “eto” should not be scripted in English language alone, but in at least the three major Nigerian languages of Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa for easy understanding by the public. On the probability of challenges cropping up, the APFFLON president insists that the major problem is the understanding and use of the application and of course certain human elements that may tend to negate the principles of the system and this can only be attributed to greed and corruption.
He said that the electronic call up system was instituted to tackle the traffic gridlock in and around Apapa as he asked ” why did the problem emanate? He disclosed that “the problem emanated from certain persons who envisaged that they can make money from the chaos that the gridlock may cause and that they have been feeding fat on this and are unwilling to let go”. He said that the cabal are still bent on sabotaging the call up system, but that every citizen should resist the attempted sabotage and make sure that the system works and get better.
The APFFLON president advocates for constant engagement of all stakeholders by the NPA and the Nigerian Shippers Council in order that the sensitization, education and training agenda for the system be sustained for better understanding and functioning. He said that since in election times government combs all nooks and crannies to look for potential voters and canvass their votes, they should work with the same enthusiasm and vigour for the success of the system through the NPA and NSC. On the institution of a Law and Order task team on traffic by the Lagos State government, he said that ideally governments, groups and individuals should work together to proffer solutions to various societal problems and that the functionality and success of the policy or programme as it relates to the benefit of the larger society should be of paramount interest to all and not about who is doing what, he stated that the Lagos state government owe the public the responsibility to make the roads accessible to all the citizens and so if there are contravention to the traffic rules, the Lagos state government can impound and the offending vehicle and prosecute the person.
Generally, I think that the MD of the NPA got a second term appointment because she has been perceived to have done well, I do also think that the NPA should continue to constantly engage all and sundry within the Maritime space for the success of the call up system and indeed any other policy that they may be bringing on to the people. The government needs to continue to take forensic and intelligent approach in solving the problems within the sector for the success of this system. Again, the new call up system should not be seen as the silver bullet to solving all the problems in the Ports, last year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited our ports and stated the obvious that our ports are in shambles. You see the purpose of their mission was tagged the economic outlook, they pointed that we improvement in infrastructures, have a single window operation in the clearance of goods, removal of obsolete equipment by shipping companies and terminal operators and off course the issue of 24 hours operations, these are factors that should bring a more efficient operations at the ports. So the electronic call up system is not the only factor that will take care of the problems at the ports, the government should look at the port operation more holistically and take care of the various factors that engender efficiency and then the growth of the industry.