Emotional expressions and heightened feelings dominated the atmosphere at the Lagos Free Trade Zone arena as the Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zonal Authority (NEPZA), Dr. Adesina Agboluaje commenced his exit process after a glorious 8 year administration.
According to Mr. Richard Obianu, a representative of NEPZA at Agboluaje’s farewell visit to the Lagos Free Trade Zone, the story of the organization will totally be incomplete without making reference to the name and activities of an icon like Agboluaje.
Obianu who delivered a speech at the occasion said, “The story of NEPZA cannot be complete without mentioning the name and activities of Dr. Adesina Agboluaje, the icon on whose honor we are all gathered here today”.
The representative of the management stated that though whatever has a beginning must have an end but the out-going NEPZA boss legacy will forever live in the minds generations after generations to come in the establishment.
“It is commonly said that when a righteous man rules, people rejoice but when a bad ruler mounts the throne, people sigh. We never had it so good in NEPZA. When the history of NEPZA is written, at least a chapter will be devoted to chronicle the activities of a leader who served as Managing Director from 2004 – 2012 during which period, the management and staff worked as a team, a family and there was rejoicing and prosperity.”
Obianu noted that since the establishment of NEPZA in 1992, like most government establishments it was like a rudderless ship sailing without a clear focus and direction but the appointment of Agboluaje as Managing Director in 2004 gave birth to a new NEPZA not through an ACT of National Assembly but through dynamic and purposeful leadership.
“On assumption of office, he identified a clear Vision and Mission for the Authority and mapped out a 21-point Agenda to actualize his dream. You must have heard of 7-point Agenda and some other forms of Agenda that are difficult to comprehend and problematic in implementation. I can tell you that his 21-point Agenda was faithfully implemented within his first tenure in office. How did he perform this feat”.
“As a leader he knew he could not operate in isolation. He knew the organization’s human capital was the most import resource at his disposal in achieving his set goal. He had to dust them as it were, prepare their minds and equip them for the onerous tasks ahead, through massive training, retraining and development, locally and internationally. I remember vividly on his inaugural speech to staff as Managing Director, he advised staff who did not have international passports to go and obtain theirs and those with expired ones to get them renewed as they will be sent on overseas training at one time or the other. Most people thought he was speaking Greek as that was unheard of in the Authority – a privilege that was the exclusive preserve of executive management. I can confidently tell you today that no staff of the Authority who has not benefited from overseas training programme. Some have even lost count of how many times they travelled out. The result of this is the production of the finest staff any organization can boast of and these are the driving force of the present day NEPZA”.
During his tenure as the leader of the establishment the University of Lagos Computer Science graduate completed various projects that even the least employee of NEPZA could have imagine.
Part of his projects include; the completion of two office complexes after which the first one he commissioned was gutted by fire, creating a management-staff relationship for effective communication thereby bridging the gap that had existed for long, adequate staff promotion and increase in the Number of Free Zones just to mention a few.
To all of those that worked with him during his administration filling the gap he would leave behind may be unachievable for whoever will replace him.
But all these achievements many say did not come without challenges.
In all, Richard Obianu urged that the following recommendations should be strongly considered;
a) NEPZA Head Office complex in Abuja which he built should be named ADESINA AGBOLUAJE HOUSE. There is nothing extraordinary about this. Police Officers Complex at Moloney Street, Obalende, Lagos was named after Kam Salem; Police Headquarter in Abuja was named after Lius Edet; University of Ife, Ile-Ife, was named after Chief Obafemi Awolowo, just to mention a few examples. These are federal institutions and these people were so honored because of their significant contributions to these institutions and to the larger society.
b) A street or a structure in every free zone be named after Dr. Sina Agboluaje.
c) I strongly recommend that the various free zones should consider appointing him as member of their Board of Directors to continuously tap from his knowledge, wealth of experience and influence in the industry.
d) He should be able to get anything he wants anytime in any of the free zones. It is not when he leaves today and comes around tomorrow; we start to look at him like a stranger. No, that will be the height of dishonor and ingratitude.