Sambo and The Samba Dance-Marking Time Or Keeping Pace?
Medical and fitness experts are of the view that the samba dance fills you up with energy, greatly improves your stamina/endurance levels and ensures better heart health. Not only that, they add that samba also improves your cardiovascular strength, heart rate, toned muscles/body and increases overall muscular strength.
Interestingly, they classify a good Samba dancer as sambista-not Sambisa! Unless you want to equate the Nigerian maritime industry to the foreboding, ubiquitous, very ominous Sambisa forest!
From resumption of duty as transport minister to date, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has been on his toes. When he is not visiting the agencies under his ministry, he is likely to be found on the rail tracks-inspecting, reviewing, strategizing or monitoring for improvements and safety elements to introduce.
Like the Samba dancer, once on the dance floor there is no stopping as every beat of the music calls for a corresponding step to be taken rhythmically to accentuate and maintain the tempo, otherwise, synchronization is lost and beauty, harmony and cadence goes awry.
On assumption of duty at the Federal Ministry of Transportation complex in Abuja, Sambo told workers at the ministry “It is a pleasure to be here. I would like to say it’s a pleasure to be back home. I started my life in the maritime industry, NPA precisely in 1984 and I went through other sectors of the economy and ended up in the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA)”.
“I want to tell you that I am here only for a very short time. I don’t want to cause problem for anyone. I don’t want anybody also to cause problem for me. I will not look for your trouble but if you look for mine, I will give you tenfold, that is me but we can live together for 50 years without a quarrel if you know me. So, I am coming with an open mind.”
From Port-Harcourt to Lagos, from Onne to Calabar Sambo has been-to get firsthand information on developments and see the state of transport infrastructure within the purview of his ministry.
While in the East for assessment of the Eastern Ports, the minister declared “Part of the reason why I’m here is to look into why the Rivers Ports are not working. Whatever the challenges are, we will address them. I will discuss with stakeholders and we will come up with short term, medium term and long term plans on how to overcome those challenges and make the ports productive”,
Further to his visitations and discoveries, Sambo told prospective investor that there exist a $35b Investment Window open for investors in transport infrastructure in Nigeria.
“The six seaports were concessioned in 2006 to private investors in order to create efficiencies, increase revenue and the general well-being of the economy. Notwithstanding, the port infrastructure has suffered dilapidation and decay over the years and they now require massive capital investments for upgrade and rehabilitation. Herein lies an opportunity for private capital investments in the face of highly competing demands on the nation’s income flows. This particularly applies to Apapa and Tincan Island ports which account for about seventy per cent (70%) of the nation’s maritime trade”, the minister told his audience and prospective investors” the minister said.
Determined to enthrone efficiency, Sambo told a delegation of the Nigerian Railways Corporation management which visited him that the Federal Government is considering unbundling the Nigerian Railway Corporation to make its services more efficient and effective.
“In Sambo’s words “The Nigerian Railway Corporation cannot be the Owner, Operator and Regulator at the same time. The private sector is the engine of growth. Let someone else operate your lines efficiently. We cannot have an Agency that is Owner, Regulator and Operator at the same time”.
It is our view that Engr. Mu’azu Jaji’s deployment to the Transport ministry is for national development in tandem with the vision of President Mohammadu Buhari. Sambo’s track records must have positioned him for the national assignment- to restore, realign, straighten and improve service delivery by parastatals under the transport ministry.
The Minister has assured and reassured on the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF.
According to him “This is a Fund that was established under the Cabotage Act in order to build domestic capacity”
“I want to say it here, that it is indeed a low hanging fruit, “I will do anything within my power to make sure that fund is disbursed to Nigerians as quickly as possible so that Nigerian Ship Owners can increase capacity as well as generate a welfare instead of patronizing foreign Ships and money from such business is taken out of the hands of Nigerians rendering us jobless”.
Describing the CVFF as a low hanging fruit which could be harvested, the minister said the Fund would support maritime activities.
From all indications, Sambo is fired up and eager to actualize and deliver on his mandate. He is energetic. The maritime dynamics have improved his stamina and altered his endurance level for good.
With improved cardiovascular strength, heart rate, toned body and muscles from on the job exertions, Sambo’s appointment to turnaround Nigeria’s transport sector could be the long awaited stimulant that would leapfrog the sector to enviable heights with available resources as he is definitely not marking time but running a race against time.