The Nobel Laureate and first Chairman of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Board, Professor Wole Soyinka has applauded members of the Corps for working hard to change the mentality of the Nigerian drivers within 30 years of its establishment, saying the journey is only just beginning. He stated this on Saturday while addressing members of staff of the FRSC and participants at the end of the 3 kilometres special walk to mark the 30th-anniversary celebration of the establishment of the FRSC at its National Headquarters, Abuja.
According to the pioneer Chairman of the FRSC Board, the process of changing the mentality of Nigerians from the fatalistic beliefs they had developed toward road traffic crashes to the point where they now drive with safety consciousness was not an easy task. He congratulated the staff for sustaining the momentum of the Corps in creating public education, which has resulted in the present situation where drivers, including those of the military, now accept the rightness of the work of the FRSC.
Tracing the initial challenges of the FRSC, Professor Soyinka expressed satisfaction with the present level of road safety awareness that has been created among drivers and promised to continue to identify with the Corps in its determination to restore sanity on the nation’s roads. He enjoined members of the Corps not to rest on their oars in making FRSC a “preventive medicine” to road traffic crashes as was originally designed to be.
The Nobel Laureate expressed dismay at the recent report of loss of 22 young students of Bauchi state who died from road crash on their way to Kano for their school excursion, describing the incidence as a “national tragedy,” which should serve as a reminder and source of lesson for all. “Incidence like that should serve as a reminder of the challenges before us,” he stated.
The Professor further frowns at the attitude of people who sees death from road crash as a normal occurrence, saying in any tragedy, there is a lesson to be learnt to prevent reoccurrence. He called for a change of national mentality to road traffic crashes.
In his remarks, the Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi while congratulating members of the Corps for covering the designated 3 kilometers walk which was part of activities to mark the 30th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the FRSC, commended staff for their doggedness, support and resoluteness in confronting the menace of road carnage. He expressed satisfaction with the achievements so far recorded by the Corps in creating road safety awareness and restoring sanity on the nation’s roads, describing the presence of the first Chairman of the FRSC Board at the occasion as a high display of solidarity with the Corps.
Oyeyemi urges all members of staff to remain steadfast in their commitment to promoting road safety ideas, noting that the 30th-anniversary celebration provides another opportunity for the Corps to review its past activities and plan well for the next decades in the collective determination to ensure that our roads are made safer for all users.
The special 30th-anniversary special walk, which attracted a large turnout of staff of the FRSC Headquarters and FCT Commands as well as participants from various organizations, also had the President of Road Safety Officers’ Wives Association (ROSOWA), Mrs Bolanle Yemisi Oyeyemi and some members of the Association in attendance.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of Distinguished Service Award to the former FRSC Board Chairman for the dedicated services he has rendered to the nation through the FRSC platform.