Great achievers operate in deep and contemplative silence, letting their achievements speak for them. This is succinctly captured in an African proverb with all its enriching wisdom that ‘the river that makes no noise is the one that has the deepest waters and is capable of drowning a whole village’.
This timeless insight reflects the notion that true leaders, much like the proverbial river, do not boast or make unnecessary noise about their modest achievements. Instead, their actions speak eloquently, and their effectiveness is manifest in the depth of their accomplishments rather than in the clamour of self-promotion. Nowhere has this found true expression than in the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) under the amiable leadership of (Mrs) Carol Wura-Ola, the Comptroller General (CG), whose leadership style is characterised by competence and impactful results.
In recent weeks, the Nigerian NIS has experienced a groundbreaking transformation under the astute leadership of Wura-Ola and the strategic guidance of the Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo. The clearance of over 190,000 passports in a few weeks is an unprecedented feat, considering the suffering and exasperation of Nigerians over the years as they battle to register or renew their passports.
For Nigerians, who endured the agony of long queues, exploitation and endless excuses, this is not just welcomed but has restored their confidence in the system. No wonder, the number of Nigerians who trooped out to register and renew their passports has risen astronomically in the last few days. NIS is indeed working and we thank President Bola Tinubu for appointing a top achiever like Mrs. Wura-Ola.
Even as credit is deservedly given to the minister for the ultimatum given to NIS on assumption of office, this achievement underscores ongoing reforms in the NIS. What Tunji-Ojo did was to inject the political will and resources to bring the reform to fruition. It’ll therefore be a great disservice to deflate the timely intervention of the minister and the morale it brought on officers and men of NIS, seamlessly working in various passport and other establishments to make this a reality.
Tunji-Ojo is an experienced administrator and a valuable addition to the Tinubu team who is poised to make a difference and drive the renewed hope agenda in his ministry. History will be fair to him for being part of this success story. This achievement is not merely a bureaucratic triumph but an indication of the commitment of the current leadership to overhaul and improve NIS and offer Nigerians patriotic service and stewardship.
The current expeditious processing of passports reflects a dedication to efficiency, a quality that is crucial in serving the needs of the Nigerian people whose quest to connect with the international community through scholarship, business, vacations and medical care, among others, keeps increasing.
As the public relations officer, I call on the public to extend their moral support to these reforms. This is not the time to find ways of circumventing the system. The support of Nigerians will not only motivate the authorities but also serve as a crucial factor in ensuring accountability and transparency in the NIS.
There are still challenges but it is through the collective efforts of Nigerians that NIS can navigate the challenges and complexities of governance to deliver a service that meets the expectations of the people. Again, let’s say no to touts and patronage of middlemen. It is antithetical and unpatriotic.
It is also common that differences in political and social affiliations of Nigerians is often used as a dividing force and those who permanently and mischievously identify on the other side of the block are vehement in refusing to acknowledge anything good on the other side. This is unhealthy for any country and it is hoped that Nigerians will go beyond what divides us and be united in supporting milestones like this.
It is essential to emphasise that NIS, under the current leadership, welcomes constructive criticism and suggestions from the public. The open-door policy of Wura-Ola encourages citizens to actively participate in the growth and improvement of the service. This collaborative approach ensures that NIS remains adaptable and responsive to the evolving needs of the society.
Even as Nigerians enjoy our expanding services and the deployment of state-of-the-art technology across the country to expedite passport procurement process, our dedicated customer care lines remain open for feedback. Nigerians deserve better and with the kind of support we are getting from Mr. President and the Ministry of Interior, more innovative services are underway.
Adedotun PhD is the public relations officer, NIS