A few days ago, President Bola Tinubu gave portfolio assignments to Ministers-Designate. Gboyega Oyetola, the former governor of Osun State, was given responsibility for the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
At a time when Nigeria is in desperate need of a more resilient and integrated transportation infrastructure that can enable the movement of people and products at a reasonable cost in the wake of the fuel subsidy regime, Oyetola will be leading the charge.
If everything goes according to plan, Oyetola will take over the top floor of the Dipchama House, which is now home to Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Transportation, in the Federal Capital Territory’s Central Business District, Abuja.
Currently 69 years old, Oyetola was elected governor of Osun State, Southwest Nigeria, between 2018 and 2022. However, he was defeated by Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on July 16, 2022, and was not able to win reelection. Oyetola has been a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, since 2013.
The former governor graduated from the University of Lagos with a bachelor’s degree in insurance and a master’s degree in business administration in 1990. Before founding his own business in 1991, he served in a variety of capacities at a few insurance businesses.
His foray into the muddy waters of Nigerian politics may have started in 2011 when he was named Chief of Staff to Rauf Aregbesola, the governor of Osun State at the time, a position he subsequently succeeded.
President Tinubu sent the names of nine former governors, including Oyetola, to the Nigerian Senate for review and potential confirmation as ministerial nominations in July 2023.
The former governor was confirmed and given a portfolio. The Ministry of Transportation has faced numerous difficulties in providing services, particularly in the later years of the previous administration, so many feel that the ministry needs purposeful and results-oriented leadership at this time.
Notably, throughout the first six years of the previous President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, the ministry had a notable influence on the improvement of already-existing rail services. Additionally, a daring step was taken to revitalize the country’s blue economy for sustainable development.
But other obstacles, particularly in the management and security domains, nearly overshadowed the accomplishments that were made. A significant setback was also caused by the amount of debt taken on during the construction of the majority of the transportation infrastructure during the previous administration.
Nigeria’s transportation industry has enormous existential issues, which call for a person with tenacity, political will, competence, and excellent managerial and administrative abilities to overcome and propose workable answers.
Industry observers are already urging the individual appointed to the position to get ready and apply his extensive background in both public and private practice to this new role.
Expectations are high that the new Minister won’t hesitate to get things started in order to realign Nigeria’s transportation sector for rapid growth and development in line with what is possible in the majority of the world’s developed nations. Standards have already been set at the Ministry.