…As Aigbogu’s plea reverberates!***
The first fruit of last week’s Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) organized Stakeholders’ parley showed on Monday as gridlock lifted in Apapa, and stakeholders enjoyed smooth driving.
The major stakeholders at the January 14 Rockview Hotel meeting included the NSC which chaperoned it; the Presidential Tasks Team (PTT) which anchored the solutions- finding meeting; Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which unmasked many of the hidden factors; Terminal Operators, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); Nigeria Customs Service; the Truck drivers, whose activities precipitated the gridlock; and also the Nigerian media, whose view was encapsulated by the Business Day Managing Director, Mr. Frank Aigbogu.
Investigation by the Maritime First showed that not only were the solutions proffered at Stakeholders parley being meticulously worked on, the Nigerian Ports Authority was also now, more willing to collaborate, rather than compete with the PTT, in terms supremacy of relevance, in the battle to tame the gridlock.
“Everybody is sitting tight. The ‘Lily Pond must work’ declaration has now begun!”, a key stakeholder told the Maritime First, in Apapa, stressing that truckers were also now more compliant; all of which percolate into the observed smooth traffic flow.
It would be recalled that Mr. Aigbogu had described the intimidating gridlock as not only being a shame to Apapa, but to all Nigerians, wondering how we managed to get importers into paying N690,000 as transportation for container movements from the Port in Apapa to a destination/ warehouse in Apapa.
Looking at it from the media perspective, Mr Frank Aigbogu, Managing Director of Business Day Newspaper saw the entire scenario as nothing short of shame.
“What is happening in Apapa is a shame to stakeholders, as individuals and Nigerians”, he posited, appealing to all concerned that there should be unity of purpose.
He also stressed the need for unity amongst the armed Forces and Security agents tasked to man the axis, with the organised private sector. Perhaps, Aigbogu’s plea has been adhered to.
A tour which began from the Eko Bridge on Monday at 5pm inward Apapa showed that key stakeholders, particularly the PTT, NPA and NSC deserved a noteworthy commendation. It was remarkably a sweet sailing as the gridlock had lifted!
But whether the new dawn will last or not, may only be confirmed by the three big, government stakeholders.
Monday’s driving experience showed Nigeria can tame the gridlock bull; what however remains unknown is for how long this collaborative spirit will last. Or better still: how soon the old, evil, competitive inclinations for supremacy would be back!