By ACC Sani Abdullahi

The year was 2009 and the venue was the conference hall of the FCT Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board Abuja. Personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) who were members of the Cooperative from across the commands had all gathered at the venue for the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

As the participants waited patiently for the arrival of the Corps Marshal who had the prerogative to name the Chairman after all other elective positions had been filled, one thing in their minds was who was going to be the one. It was under such heightened state of anxiety and uncertainty that we arrived at the venue with the former Corps Marshal, Chief Osita Chidoka in his convoy.

While going through the regimental protocols of funfair and Corps Marshal’s salutes before taking his seat at the high table, it was obvious that nothing was more important to the participants than the identity of the officer that would be announced as the Chairman. Thus, as the MC progressed with the items on the Agenda, I could visibly notice the general atmosphere in the hall charged with high expectations of the trustworthy officer who’s identity no one could correctly guess.

That was because, Corps Marshal Chidoka had neither nurtured any group of officers that could be identified as his “boys” from where he could possibly name one as the Chairman, nor had he discussed the matter with anyone who could have leaked the information to other staff. Consequently, he must have been more surprised of the simultaneous reactions to his announcement of the name of the then Deputy Corps Commander Shehu Mohammed as the Chairman which attracted instant jubilation in the hall. In fact, it took long before normalcy could return to the hall as people were dancing around hysterically in appreciation of the announcement.

Curiously as they danced round in search of the man of the moment, they soon realized that the officer was not even at the meeting, even though that did not douse the excitement as the morale of the staff remained high in their affirmation to the choice of the officer they have always referred to as, Oga Shehu.

From the onset, Corps Marshal Shehu has always been known to all as a trustworthy, gentle and friendly officer with impeccable integrity. That’s why since his first announcement as the Chairman of the FRSC Cooperative Society till recently when he was named as the Corps Marshal, no staff could accuse him of betrayal and failure to meet their huge expectations of him: Through the various initiatives of the Cooperative under his leadership, staff at all levels of the Corps continued to benefit from such initiatives and yearned for his sustained leadership.

A devout Muslim who enjoys the trust of Christians without discrimination, his humane nature and robust intellectual background have always stood him out as an outstanding personality among his peers. When he applied to the former Corps Marshal Chidoka for study leave to enable him pursue his Master’s degree in Forensic Accounting from a UK university without pay, Chidoka did not hesitate to approve his request with full pay as a demonstration of the Management’s support for his capacity development. A holder of the traditional title from Zazzau Emirate Council in Kaduna state, he was the FRSC’s representative at the FERMA Board prior to his appointment.

Conscious of the high level of trust that staff of FRSC have always invested in him, Corps Marshal Shehu Mohammed no doubt, stands out as one officer that everyone has always looked forward to the day he would assume the highest office in the Corps. As many staff would put it, “he could have easily won the office were it an elective one.” That was why the announcement of his appointment as the new Corps Marshal attracted massive jubilation by staff from across the commands and National Headquarters, Abuja.

A Chartered Accountant by profession, Corps Marshal Shehu has been able to blend well with regimentation. His participation as a member of the National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, has equally prepared him well for the intellectual rigours associated with the office in the same way that his stewardship as Zonal Commanding Officer which was his last operational assignment in the field command created opportunity for him to appreciate the challenges of FRSC’s field operations.

As he stepped into the exalted office last week with high hopes, everyone believes that a new dimension has been introduced into the leadership of the FRSC with high expectations of succour for the staff and road travellers alike. That public enthusiasm clearly aligns with the vision of former Corps Marshal Chidoka who enthused during his tenure that, “the glorious days of the FRSC were before, and not behind us.”

Assistant Corps Commander Sani Abdullahi is the Unit Commander of Lekki Unit Command, Lagos State.

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