A frontline freight forwarder, Mr. Tony Anakebe has hailed the reappointment of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday assigned portfolios to Amaechi and 42 others shortly after swearing them in as Ministers in a colourful event at the Aso Rock Villa with Amaechi retaining his former Ministry.
Speaking on the development, Anakebe who is the Managing Director of Goldlink Investment Nigeria Limited described Amaechi as “a young man with a zeal to leave a legacy that will last for a very long time.”
He however stated that Amaechi’s undoing in his first outing as Minister of Transportation was the merger of the aviation sector with the transportation sector which according to him didn’t give him room to prove himself.
He said,” He wanted to make a great impact in the transport sector where he fought tooth and nail to expand the rail and to make sure that it was working even from the ports to other parts of the country because the zeal to achieve was too much on him. He had made an impact actually but I can score him 49% in the Ministry of Transport. But I think his coming back to concentrate fully on transportation Ministry, there is hope.”
Speaking on areas of priorities for the Minister, Anakebe urged him to ensure that Nigerians, goods and services move freely in the country by establishing a well-coordinated rail system as well as establishing a system that would ensure that the Nigerian waterways were safe for shipping industry to thrive.
“We hope that this time around, the President has given him the actual opportunity to prove himself in the transport sector which I know he will do in the next four years by God’s grace. By letting him concentrate on the transport sector, I think he has no other excuse to give to Nigerians.
“So, he now has every opportunity to make all our waterways, all our transport system, all the rail lines he has planned and programmed efficient and effective. If he can connect Lagos to Ibadan, Ibadan to Maiduguri, Maiduguri to Port-Harcourt and Port-Harcourt to Onitsha and to Awka, then he would have succeeded. If those rail lines are working fully and offer optimal services to Nigerians, it will be the greatest achievement by any transport minister since the independence of Nigeria.
“He has already drawn his programme in respect of connecting the inland ports because if ship berths in Apapa here, and through the rail, you can take containers to either Kaduna or Aba, even if the rail line is by the inland ports, from where you offload the cargoes, you can make them use truck to take them to inland ports because it is a very good idea and I believe it is workable as far as this nation is concerned”, he stated.
The freight practitioner advised the Minister to open up the entire seaports in the eastern zone adding that this was very important as the country was fast losing its cargoes to the ports of the neighbouring countries when the capacity of ports like the Onne port had not been utilized up to 30 per cent as there were lots of infrastructure in that port that were lying idle.
“So, all the eastern ports including the Warri port, there is need to open up all these ports and I believe that if he makes it one of his priorities this time, there is a lot of gains for the country if all these ports are dredged and opened up for a lot of goods to come there. So, there is need for the eastern ports, Onitsha River port inclusive to be opened up.
“For instance, the largest ship that comes to Africa doesn’t come to Nigeria. So, there is need for constant dredging of our waterways from River Benue to River Niger, there is need to connect all the towns to the rail system so that people can do their businesses freely and investors will now come into the country”, he concluded.
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