PROFILE: Osita Chidoka, Corps Marshal and Chief Executive, Federal Road Safety Corps
Mr Ositadinma Benjamin Chidoka, who has just been re-appointed to another four-year term as Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), was born in Obosi, Anambra State, on 18 July 1971.
He obtained his Senior School Certificate at Union Secondary School Awkunanaw, Enugu, in 1988; Bachelor of Science Degree in Management, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 1995; Graduate Diploma in Maritime and Ports Management, National University of Singapore in 2002; Certificate in Global Strategy and Political Economy, from Mansfield College, Oxford University in 2004; and Masters Degree in Transport Policy and Logistics from the School of Public Policy, George Masons University, USA in 2006.
Working Life and Public Service
From 1996 to 1997, and again from 1999 to 2000, he worked with the Federal Capital Development Authority in Abuja. From 1997 to 1998, he was Personal Assistant to the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. He served as Personal Assistant to the Federal Minister of Transport from 2000 to 2003, and then as Special Assistant to Senior Special Adviser to the President on Legal Matters from 2003 to 2004.
From 2006 to 2007, he was Senior Advisor, Government and Business Relations, at Mobil Producing Nigeria, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corporation. It was from that position that he was appointed Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC in 2007.
Through the years leading to his present appointment, Mr Chidoka had shown an enviable record of dedication and excellence in public service. In 1996, he won an award as the most distinguished National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) personnel in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In 1998, he served as Secretary, National Committee for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Nigeria, and earned a Papal Commendation for contribution towards the success of the visit.
In 1999, he served as Assistant Secretary of the Handover Committee that organised the ceremonies for transition from military to civilian rule. He was subsequently a Team Leader for the Federal Government Committee on development of the current Port Policy; and also Member, Committee on drafting the non-motorized transport mode policy to provide infrastructure for safe walking, bicycling and other transport modes that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly. He was also a Member of the Federal Government’s Committee on review of the Abuja Master Plan.
Headship of the Federal Road Safety Corps
Since his appointment as Chief Executive of the FRSC on 11 June 2007 – then the youngest appointee to that office – Chidoka has demonstrated diligence and commitment to moving the organization forward.
He has taken several steps to enhance the operational and rescue capabilities of the FRSC. Some of these initiatives include the establishment of call/data centre; creation of more accident clinics/help areas across major highways in the country; aggressive pursuit of capacity-building programmes for staff both in Nigeria and abroad; and promotion of driver training initiatives through driving school standardization programmes and renewal of the Highway Code.
Since 1 January 2009, the FRSC has sustained the enforcement of the law on use of crash helmets by motorcyclists and the campaign against overloading of passengers by commercial transport operators, as these two factors had contributed prominently to road fatalities.
With these and several other initiatives, the Corps has, within the last four years, made considerable impact on the nation’s highways, achieving a 35 per cent reduction in road traffic accidents countrywide. Also significant, it has successfully attracted global partnership towards improving the nation’s road safety situation, particularly through the recent launch of the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety in Nigeria.
Chidoka is still pushing ahead with other measures towards improving road safety in the country. In February 2011, the Public Education Officer of the FRSC, Mr Nseobong Akpabio, disclosed that, in a bid to develop a new database on drivers’ licences that would conform with international standards, the agency would be upgrading all categories of drivers’ licences issued by authorities across the country. The development of the database, he said, would flush out the avalanche of fake drivers’ licences currently in circulation and restore sanity to the system.
Chidoka’s presentation to the Senate in March this year, at which he insisted that the agency’s priority was not helicopters but patrol vehicles, towing vans, ambulances, modern communication gadgets and other equipment that would enable it control traffic effectively on ground, won him public praise as a chief executive who has a real grasp of the challenges before him. His revelations that the FRSC plans to provide a patrol van and an ambulance at every 50 kilometres on the highway and a towing vehicle at every 75-kilometre interval, were also strongly endorsed by many Nigerians.
Honours and further responsibilities
Chidoka and the FRSC have been variously honoured both in Nigeria and abroad. Under his leadership in 2008, the FRSC won the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for that year. At the award ceremony in London, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who is the patron of the Global Road Safety Commission, noted “the Award is presented to only organizations that have made tremendous contribution to road safety and provided qualitative leadership”. In 2009, he was honoured with a Golden Award for Excellent Performance at that year’s Nigerian Auto Media Awards/Annual Lecture organised by the Guild of Motoring Correspondents in Nigeria.
In May 2008, Chidoka was elected President of the West African Road Safety Organization (WARSO) after facilitating its inauguration. In that capacity, he has positioned the FRSC as a leader in road safety across the entire West African sub-region. He is also the President of the African Group, in the International Road Safety Organisation (PRI).
Mr Chidoka is married and is regarded as a role model by many Nigerian youth.