When President Muhammadu Buhari appointed social activist, lawyer, real estate mogul and politician, Mr Bisi Adegbuyi as the new Postmaster-General of the federation and Chief Executive Officer of NIPOST, not a few wondered if the highly cerebral TV analyst would fit in well enough into this rather ‘mundane’ government agency.
It would however appear that the President made an excellent choice as Nigerians review the first steps of the new NIPOST helmsman. Adegbuyi in recent interviews has revealed that he had to first conduct a deep-rooted pan-Nigeria study of the structure, challenges and prospects of NIPOST with a view to modernising and automating all aspects of its operations and providing a bouquet of hitherto unknown services to the Nigerian public as well as Nigerians in diaspora.
Adegbuyi is about to unleash a revolution to revive the nation’s postal service and leverage on its wider reach to promote digital economy, create jobs and grow contributions to the country’s GDP. He also intends to run the reinvented NIPOST as a commercially viable enterprise that will non-the less provide universal service obligations since its basic deliverables are social services. Noting that his predecessors had been ‘winking in the dark’ in trying to tackle the challenges of NIPOST probably because they rose through the ranks as career civil servants and did not want to upset the apple-cart.
According to Adegbuyi, the new NIPOST under his watch will join other first world postal agencies and make much more money from non-core postal services by providing financial services, diaspora remittances, e-commerce and logistics, property, shipping etc. He observed that the non-activation of these critical and lucrative aspects of the business is the reason NIPOST was only generating a mere N4 billion per annum while its wage bill was a whopping N8 billion per annum. To this end he has created relevant commercial business units.
Adegbuyi has also implemented the recommendations of a group of consultants given 8 years ago to the federal government to collapse the 13 territory-structure of NIPOST into 7 divisions with reasonably considered delegation of authority to the zonal heads to improve operational efficiency nationwide. These include: mail operations, counter operations, EMS, e-commerce and logistics, financial services, property and workshop. To bolster tracking and tracing of parcels and packages NIPOST is soon migrating from the analogue mode to the latest digital mode of Ds2015.
Noting that the current postal coding system limits the efficiency of parcel deliveries, Adegbuyi is working to upgrading the coding system to be GPS enabled, such that the delivery man can easily track addresses using an app in his smartphone based on the MEHI (Mail for Every House Initiative) programme. The addressing system will also help reduce crime and terror because of the verification element in the system as this will be done in collaboration with the Nigerian Identity Management Commission, FRSC, DSS, Nigerian Police and other relevant security and social service providers. There will thus be no anonymity under this addressing system much like the BVN operated by the banks.
NIPOST’s logistics services will soon receive a big boost following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with GMC logistics, a subsidiary of DPD in which LaPoste of France has 45% shareholding. When executed, the new partners will bring in money, technology, vans, motor-bikes and expertise while NIPOST will contribute its vast array of warehouses spread across the country Observing that 70 million Nigerian youth do not patronise the post, Adegbuyi says he plans a robust engagement strategy which will include music and fashion that will delight and attract Nigerian youth to see the great opportunities and benefits in the new NIPOST.
For the rural areas, Adegbuyi plans to collaborate with other government agencies to provide government services such as the issuance and renewal of driver’s licence and international passports among others. This he says has been successfully carried out in Kenya.
On the issue of low staff morale, low internet penetration, decrepit infrastructure, low deployment of technology Adegbuyi, said the new mandate of the leadership was to abide by the global-best standards by training, re-training and motivation of staff as well as deploying technology to block leakages and increase NIPOST’s revenue base.
Though Bisi Adegbuyi has been quick to say that NIPOST descent into the state he met it started about 30 years ago, he has promised that he would do his very best to achieve most of his set goals within his 5year mandate he is aware that he can only set the process for the revolution because some may require legislation and government endorsement. He however has assured that he is putting in place the building blocks that will make NIPOST the pride of all Nigerians in the nearest future.
Meanwhile, Nigerians wait with bated breath to see Bisi Adegbuyi’s reinvented NIPOST well packaged and safely and timeously delivered.