By Frank Kintum
Some stakeholders in the railway sector in the country have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for re-appointing Engr. Fidet Okhiria as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
According to them, the President deserves commendation because Engr Okhiria has done very well in his duties as the MD of the over 100 years old corporation.
Speaking with Transport Day, the first Nigerian Managing Director of NRC, Mr Nath Okoro, stated that “this is what we expect, if a man qualifies for the job, let him do the job. He has done very well.”
In a conversation with Transport Day, the National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR), Comrade Segun Esan, said “it is a welcome development and commendable of the federal government.
“He has been in the system for over three decades, judging from the performance of almost four years, he has done very well in terms of infrastructure build, the Abuja-Kaduna, Ajaokuta-Warri-Itakpe upgrade, Lagos-Ibadan rail lines.”
The however called on the MD to also pay more attention in the area of motivational welfare of the railway workers. Nonetheless, “on a general note, I score him an A.”
In his view, the President of the Barge Operator Association of Nigeria, Mr Edeme Kelikume reasoned that the re-appointment of Engr. Okhiria “is a welcome development, I congratulate him. A lot of activities are happening under his watch and railway has been very vital in evacuating cargo from the ports.”
Engr. Okhiria’s re-appointment was announced via a statement issued by the Director, Press and Public Relations, of the federal ministry of Transportation, Eric Ojiekwe.
According to the statement, the Permanent Secretary, FMT, Magdalene Ajani, disclosed that the re-appointment by the President was conveyed in a letter dated October 5, 2020.
“The permanent secretary disclosed that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, vide letter Ref: No SH/COS/17/A/1698 dated 5th October 2020 has approved the renewal of appointment of Freeborn Edetanlaen Okhiria, as the Managing Director of NRC,” it stated.
The ministry added, “This is in accordance with the relevant section of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act. Cap 129, LFN, 2004.”
It stated that Okhiria, who was first appointed as MD of the corporation on October 24, 2016, would continue his tenure effective October 20, 2020, for a second and final four-year tenure.
A seasoned technocrat, Engr. Okhiria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos. After his National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), he was employed by the NRC where he rose through the ranks to become the MD through hard work and dedication to service.
He has held positions like the Director, Mechanical, Electrical, Signal and Telecommunications, and has also been district manager for Zaria and Lagos at different times.
Engr. Okhiria is a Fellow of the following bodies: Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineering, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. He is also a member of the Council of Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria; Member, Institute of Directors; Fellow, Institute of Strategic Management; Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria; and Member, Nigerian Institute of Management.
He has earned numerous awards and recognitions. In 1996, he received Outstanding Engineer with Significant Impact award from the Minister of Transport, and Gold Merit award by Railways Africa for the Year 2004. He has also bagged awards of excellence in recognition of his contributions to the growth of the Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineering in 2015, Award of Excellent Leadership in 2016by Rotary Club of Lagos Mainland, Award for Excellence in the Rail sector (2019) by Transport Correspondents Association of Nigeria, African Landmark Achiever Merit Award for outstanding leadership in Nigerian Railway Corporation in 2019, among others.