Before Prince Adebayo Shamsudeen Apelogun came into office as the National President of the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Owners, Repairers and Riders Association of Nigeria ( ACOMORAN), the notion of an average Nigerian about transport union was that of a body of touts and dangerous elements. Little wonder, these elements were allegedly used in some states to perpetuate crimes such that some Governors had to proscribe them in order to give peace a chance. Hence, it was usually a no-go area for whoever is from a noble background.
Having proven his mettle as the Chairman of the Ogun State Chapter of the ACOMORAN and South -West region of the country with a depth of excellent leadership, Alhaji Prince Apelogun without stress won the trust of the majority of the members of the union who elected into the Number One office to steer the ship of the union at the national level in 2019. The members have a firm assurance that he would replicate the feats he brought to the fore in his home state without leaving any stone unturned.
Apelogun, who is well known to many as “All Rounder” given the thick and thin he had been through in the days of yore and the capacity to rise to prominence in the union, is believed to have a magic finger with a calm and gentle mien of achieving any set goal.Without delay, he put the machinery in motion to ensure he doesn’t disappoint his teeming supporters and well wishers by commencing a nationwide consultation across to the 36 states to find ways out of the woods for the union.
As a leader who displays confidence in the saying that, ‘a nation does not make a forest,’ the Sagamu born Prince, has in the last two years run an all- inclusive administration of ACOMORAN without any form of segregation. The present leadership of the union has been able to achieve a peaceful and harmonious relationship among members across the federation.
It is on record that under this dispensation in the ACOMORAN, all the 36 states chapters, including the Federal Capital Territory, are functioning effectively without any scores to settle with their respective state governments. This is due to the dynamic leadership of the man at the helms of affairs of the union. Also, under the watch of Alhaji Apelogun, the union had successfully conducted elections in Ogun, Oyo and Osun states and successfully put new leadershis in place.
Since Apelogun came on board, ACOMORAN has maintained a mutual and symbiotic relationship with its supervising ministry, that is, the Ministry of Transportation. The National President has religiously ensured that the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and the management of the Ministry are carried along with the activities of the union in order to further foster collaboration. This is evident in the timely and regular exchange of ideas and brainstorming on areas of interest with a view to building the transport sector and improving the union.
It is on record that there had never been a time in the history of ACOMORAN before now that the union had a better relationship with relevant government agencies such as this. The Apelogun led administration has been able to move ACOMORAN closer to government agencies in a way that has placed the entire union at a vantage point that ever.
One of the selling points of ACOMORAN as a union is the manner it instills the tenet of the loyalty to the government of the day both at the Federal and State levels in its members. This principle has helped to promote harmonious relationship between ACOMORAN and government without giving room for rancour and unnecessary tussle. Incidentally, wherever the union’s National President goes, he reiterates the fact that his members are peace loving, law abiding and ever ready to support the government of the day.
In the words of Alhaji Apelogun to the members across the country, ” we are likely to disagree with some government policies but it is better to explore non-violent mechanisms to express our grievances. It is better to jaw jaw that to war war. ” This fatherly counsel is enough to quell any tendency to go hay wire especially when the man at the helms of affairs is living by example.
The present leadership of the union has ensured that its over 12 million members are not left to wink in the dark during the time of challenges. This is obvious in the manner the Prince Apelogun led executive came to the rescue of its members during the Covid-19 lockdown in the country. At first, the leadership encouraged all members to comply with the sit-at-home directives of government despite the fact that ACOMORAN is populated by low income earners who survive on daily income.
To ensure the effectiveness of this order while it lasted, Apelogun led exco consistently provided them with palliatives to cushion the effect of the lockdown. As a responsible leadership, the union provided its members across the nation with face masks, alcohol- based hand sanitizers and bought several infrared thermometers for testing body temperature. Also, the union went ahead to collaborate with law enforcement agencies in the area of enforcement considering the fact that the major problem in Nigeria is not law making but the enforcement of laws.
Prince Apelogun has not shirked in playing the role of a father and arbiter for the entire ACOMORAN as a large union by making cases in high places for things that will make their activities to go on smoothly at all levels. This approach has in no small measure shown a selfless leadership style devoid of personal interest.
The introduction of ACORIDE for Abuja residents has given a new lease of life to all and sundry who patronise the riders. This initiative is aimed at changing the face of commercial motorcycles and tricycle business in the Federal Capital Territory with a creative way of phasing out old motorcycles and tricycles on the road by giving loans to members to procure new ones that will put them in good light.
Also, the ACORIDE initiative would be replicated across the states of the federation in no distant time especially with the various commendations that have greeted the scheme pilot scheme. It is obvious that the introduction of online payment and booking system ahead of time has proven to eliminate disappointment and lateness to a pickup point on the part of the rider. This, no doubt, is a plus to the leadership of the union which portrays inter alia that “when there is a will, there is a way.”
Of a truth, commercial motorcycles and Tricycle unions rank among the front liners in revenue generation in some states as well as one of the highest employers of labour in Nigeria considering the over 12 million membership strength. Hence, the importance of the impactful standardisation of the union which Prince Apelogun has embarked upon in the last two years.
Without doubt, in the past, the need for reorientation of motorcycle and Tricycle riders stared us in the face as a people, but the Apelogun led executive has matched its words with action by heavily investing time and resources in the training and retraining of members and changing their perspective to life and business. This move has not just made the riders embraced modesty but it has tremendously improved their interpersonal relationship and reduced overspeeding as well as road crashes. Invariably, Apelogun has succeeded in outrightly rebranding the business of commerical motorcycling and tricycling away from what it used to be.
However, these efforts of the present leadership of ACOMORAN has changed public perception about commercial motorcycle and tricycle operators.
In Nigeria today, Alhaji Adebayo Shamsudeen Apelogun is without doubt writing his name in gold with his sterling leadership qualities through which he is driving the affairs of ACOMORAN for greater opportunities across the country and beyond the shores of Nigeria. And it would not be out of place to say that a model for other transport unions in the country is here!
Femi Onasanya wrote from Abeokuta via firstname.lastname@example.org ( 08084818609)