Thursday, 15 November 2012
Henry Pender is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Ibadan. Pender graduated in 2000 and has worked as a banker, yet he is among the about 100 graduates undergoing training to become truck drivers; or rather logistics assistants. Pender is also the class governor of this first batch of trainees.
“After my service, I had the privilege of being retained at the Rivers State Primary Education Board where I did my primary assignment.
I was with them for about a year before I joined the All States Trust Bank, which is now defunct. I worked with them for three years before I joined the Ecobank, from there I moved to the Oceanic Bank before joining Ecobank again after the acquisition of Oceanic Bank by Ecobank.
“I had to leave the banking industry when I married my colleague, because the human resource policy then did not allow spouses to work in the same office. I felt that my wife should stay behind while I as a man would look around for something to do. It wasn’t easy, because the job was not forthcoming as I thought. I attended a couple of interviews at different places, but I didn’t get what I was looking for.
“When this opportunity of becoming truck driver with Dangote presented itself, I applied with open mind. I felt that this is an opportunity for a new beginning to move into a new paradigm that is not explored. We have just begun the journey in the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT). I was pleasantly surprised when I came here to see people from different backgrounds and professions.
“We are all getting along very well. I am looking forward for an experience that would improve our larger society. Dangote has put something in place that would turn out to be a revolution in the transport industry in this country. I think this programme would eventually become a model that all organisations of international standard would adopt in no distance future.
“From personal point of view, I like driving. I have driven a lot since when I became a professional driver and I like travelling. But by coming here, I have been exposed to the academic side of driving. I feel that whatever I do as a graduate, there should be a level of expected difference from what a layman would do. I think the objective of employing graduates as drivers is for sanity to be restored on our highways. Most of us are victims of the recklessness of heavy truck drivers and this is what this initiative wants to address. We are being trained here to become complete gentlemen as drivers,” Pender said.
He explained that he has, essentially, decided to join the truck driving profession out of interest not for material reward.
“As at the time we had our interview, there was no mention of any material reward. It is now that we are hearing that after a successful driving for a certain period, or covering of certain mileage that one would own a truck or things like that. No such thing was mentioned; there was no mention of special incentives rather than we would be employed and paid salaries.
“What I would say lured me into joining the truck driving profession is the name Dangote that is known locally and internationally. I bet you that if it were some other companies that came up with this initiative, some of us may not be here but the mention of the name Dangote, one would know that there is quality; there is a personality behind it; there is international recognition; that is what lured most of us here beyond any other material gain.
“We only discovered the entrepreneurial incentive of this programme when we came here; when most of us have completed their registration. Being somebody who had the experience of the banking sector, I would quickly join Dangote, because I know I would have job security and we are enjoying ourselves here in the NITT as the pioneer batch of this training programme. I never knew there is an institute like the NITT in Nigeria. We are grateful to them for the knowledge they are impacting in us.
“I want to also use this medium to urge the youth of Nigeria to work hard. We have to make names for ourselves by working hard as it is not all of us who are children of the privileged, therefore we are here as part of our dignity of labour. I would rather stay here and do this work than apply for visa to go abroad and face all kinds of humiliation by washing toilets or driving taxi while I have a similar option here, which I would do with dignity and leave a good example for the upcoming ones,” Pender explained.
Source: Weekly Trust
Saraki died in a Lagos hospital in the early hours of yesterday, ending a chapter in the political history of the state.
Though the body was scheduled to arrive the city at 3:30p.m., the state government practically relocated to the Ilorin International Airport before 2:00 pm to receive not only the body of the most influential Kwara State indigene in recent history but also the eminent citizens expected at the burial.
The VIP Lounge was filled with the team waiting to receive the body and guests. The team was led by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and Speaker Abdulrazaq Atunwa and his deputy, Yisa Gana. They were joined by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaq Gold, commissioners, state lawmakers, special advisers and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and local government chairmen.
Reporters, photographers, politicians and airport staff also roved up and down on the tarmac to catch a glimpse of guests.
Also at the airport were senators Simeon Ajibola, Shaba Lafiaji and members of the House of Representatives from the state.
First to arrive was Alhaji Yusuf Alli (SAN). He arrived with a member, House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmad Alli aboard a chattered jet.
Chairman of Bicourtney Aviation Services Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), Senator Danjuma Goje and Andy Uba arrived at exactly 3:20 pm aboard another private jet marked: M-ANGA.
At 3:26 pm, a presidential jet marked Nigerian Air Force 5N-FGS conveying the Minister of National Planning Dr. Shamsudeen Usman touched ground. Some other top Federal Government functionaries flew with them.
Two minutes later, Speaker Aminu Tanbuwal, former Imo State Governor Jim Nwobodo and others arrived aboard another chattered jet marked D-AFAC. They were received by the Kwara State Speaker and other state government functionaries.
At 15:40 pm, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, arrived aboard a chattered jet marked: 2S-UBS. He arrived with some aides.
At 4:03 pm, another chattered jet marked: 3B-RGT conveying Kola Abiola and some federal lawmakers also touched the ground.
Senator Bukola Saraki and some family members arrived aboard a Rivers State jet marked: N565RS at 4:09. Decked in white agbada and a white cap to match, the former governor who wore mournful look, was received by his successor and Speaker of the House of Assembly, among others. He was immediately massed by a retinue of aides and politicians. They condoled him.
Security operatives tried in vain to keep people away from the bereaved.
At exactly 4:28 pm, a chattered Overland jet marked 5N-BCR landed with the body. The body tucked in a brown coffin, was moved into a waiting ambulance marked: KW 240 A08 belonging to the Specialist Hospital, Sobi, Ilorin.
The body was received by Bukola and Ahmed among others.
The arrival triggered uncontrollable emotions among sympathizers. Some burst into tears. Many shouted: “Allahu akbar” repeatedly as the coffin was being trasferred into the ambulance.
The crowd of A-list guests left the airport located on Ogbomoso road creating traffic snarl. Their vehicles were joined by the masses who rode on commercial motorcycles along with police escorts leading the body and the dignitaries to the Muslim praying ground on New Yidi Road. Residents who lined the road at both sides shouting: “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar