Below are snapshots of the remarkable event:
On behalf of the National Executive council (NEC), Management and Staff of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) I am glad to welcome our Special Guest of Honour and all invited guests to our 2nd Quarter NEC meeting and the official Commissioning of our new office complex.
We are humbled by your acceptance to honour our invitation despite the short notices given and inspite of your other equally important engagements. This is a clear demonstration of your co-operation and support to us for which we are immensely grateful.
Mr. Chairman, Sir our NEC meetings are held routinely four (4) times a year and participation at the meeting is usually limited to the only constituted members. However, in our determination to expand Inter-Agency collaboration, we have decided to once in a while invite critical stakeholders to partake in our meetings. This is normally without prejudice to the legal and institutional roles of the collaborating stakeholders but to enrich our discussions and agree on vital policy decisions that affect the sector.
What marked this occasion unique, however, is that today we are commissioning our new office complex after staying in a rented apartment for more than a decade. At this point I would like especially thank Chief Anthony Ezekwesili, the owner and Chairman of 1st Forty Hotels who provided the much needed succor and support during our hour of need. We recall with gratitude how you happily agreed to give us a portion of your hotel floor to use as an office, much to your inconvenience, when you could save all out for higher amounts. For these and many other things you did for us we are highly grateful Sir. We assure you that we would continue to do business with you whenever the need arises.
Mr. Chairman, this apartment was acquired by the Association in 2013 to serve as a permanent building of its National Secretariat in line with government directive to all organizations to relocate to the Federal Capital. However, in view of our operational peculiarities our head office must necessarily remain in Lagos. Consequently, it was decided that the Head Office Annex together with other National Officers including the National President should immediately move to take possession of the building and put it to use. Some of advantages of relocating to the permanent site is that apart from reducing our monthly overheads, all our staff and officers would have offices. This is in addition of the satisfaction and sense of pride the ownership of the building would give to all the members of the Association.
Today’s meeting is so important and unique in the sense that it would afford us the opportunity to review certain government policies as they affect the industry. The condition of our road infrastructure; and the relationship that exist among the various stakeholders operating in the downstream petroleum industry today and how the relationship can be improved and sustained.
We would use the opportunity of this meeting to call for better co-operation and collaboration among stakeholders that would help to guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the interest of our dear nation. A quick reflection over what transpired during the recent fuel scarcity crises would justify the urgent need for closer co-operation between all our stakeholders in order to forestall future occurrence.
Over the past few weeks the nation witnessed some ugly incidences of tanker explosions in Lagos, Onitsha and Calabar that resulted in loss of lives and property. This is unfortunate and we want to use this opportunity to once again condole the families of those who lost their lives and pray to God Almighty to grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable losses.
I want to use this opportunity to emphatically mention that the rate of traffic accidents, particularly tankers, is unbearable and unacceptable. The Association is ready to co-operate with all road safety agencies particularly, the Federal Road Safety Corps in order to stem the tide of road accidents in this country. Countless human lives are lost and properties worth millions of Naira are being destroyed due to accidents. It is important to note that these losses also include those of our Personnel, trucks and cargo which usually result in huge sum being paid in compensation to victims. This meeting must therefore discuss this issue and proffer lasting solutions to the problem.
Mr. Chairman, please permit me to once again congratulate Hajiya Asabe Asma’u Ahmed on her appointment as the new Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) Management Board. We pray that her tenure would bring about improvement in the operations of the fund as well as improved cooperation and understanding with all relevant stakeholders.
Conclusion, I wish to once again congratulate Mr. President on his well-deserved election as the President and commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and pray that his administration would bring about positive development in the nation’s decaying infrastructure and improvement in the standard of living of Nigerians.
Finally, on behalf of the National Executive Council of the Association I congratulate the Special Guest of Honour who is also the chairman of this occasion, the distinguished Senator and former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji (Dr.) Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso on his election to the National Assembly and pray to God to continue to grant him the strength, wisdom and understanding to continue to contribute to the development of the country. The monumental progress, particularly in the development and provision of infrastructure in Kano State is a testimony of your good leadership and foresightedness. We hope you will bring these qualities to bear in your new assignment.
I thank all our invited guest.