By Okey Muogbo
Chairman, Board of Directors, G. U. Okeke (GUO) Transport Services Company Limited, Chief Godwin Ubaka Okeke has appealed to older politicians to allow youths to take over the leadership of the country in many spheres to enable them drive the economy.
Chief Okeke said this is obtainable in other climes hence we still hear about Coca Cola, and other big companies whose founders have long gone and lamented that it is not so in Nigeria hence many businesses have collapsed shortly after the person with the vision passed away.
Chief Okeke who spoke during a press conference to herald his 70th birthday celebration appealed to industrialists and all Chief Executives Officers to hand over their businesses to their children and other Nigerian youths to drive as they would do it better.
His words: ‘’…before we move into agriculture let us talk about how to empower our youths, because I just talked about that in passing, let me give you an idea, I am celebrating my 70th birthday. At the age of 70, I believe I have done more than enough for myself. I need to rest, my children, my relations, my workers, they are all coming of age, why don’t we start planning on how to hand over to our children.
‘’The problem we have in Nigeria is not trusting our children and not giving them the opportunity to grow. In America, we talk about Rothmans, Lemon, Coca-Cola, Guinness, the people that initiated these companies are far gone. It is their children, their relations, their dedicated workers that are making the company grow, and these companies are now a family business.
‘’We as private people, we as a government, we as a country, must copy from this, we have to equip our youths, and give them the opportunity. I am now telling everybody, I have done that experiment and it is working, my children are the ones controlling all the business I established. I am there as the Chairman, giving them fatherly advice.
“They are controlling the businesses. They have moved my businesses from where I left them to the next stage. They are brilliant. They have gone far, they are highly educated, let’s make use of their intelligence.
On the challenges associated with transportation, Chief Okeke who is also the Chairman, Board of Directors, ANAMMCO LTD said: ‘’What we are suffering in Nigeria today is; a lot of people moving into business especially transportation business without proper calculation, without endurance, without experience, you see money flowing in, if you don’t know how to control that money, the money will come in and will disappear again.
“The transport business in Nigeria gave a lot of contact opportunity because banks were seeing us doing good turn over and they were giving us facilities and unfortunately for us, some of us were not doing proper calculation until the money fizzled away, the money was misused, they used the money in buying properties, taking so many titles, some married three to four wives. So the money was lost, and they were carried away with the money flowing. So, it is one problem people suffered not only in transportation business but in every other business. It misled people without proper foundation, and without education also.
‘’Coming into what we are seeing, one of the greatest problem we are facing is bad road and insecurity ,because these criminals block the road, search everybody, destroy your vehicle, blow all the glasses, collect the money that is available and even kill people.
The roads are so bad, so that they (criminals) will mount their checking point, their blockages along the bad areas of the road all over the country, so that is why a lot of transporters is losing their money, and losing their passengers up till today.
“Another problem is high cost of borrowing which is also what every business man is suffering.
His words: ‘’The government should start with the security, making sure that the people are not killed. You hear the government crying over Abuja- Kaduna-Kano road, you hear police and the press talking about Onitsha-Benin bypass, it is one of worst road you can talk of. Then, from Benin to Ijebuode is so bad, road kidnappers everywhere, then you talk of Okene-Abuja, it is also so bad. Criminals are now messing everybody up along all these route, then from Makurdi to Jos, it is another terrible area, so every corner of our highway is in trouble.
He concluded: ‘’The government must do something security wise, if they invite some of us in the field, we can give them ideas on how to solve some of these problems ,by the grace of God Anambra state Governor Willie Obiano is doing a lot of good job and some of us is giving him ideas and he is making use of it ,if the federal government can invite some of us who are in the field who can also give them ideas on how to solve some of these problems’’.