Meeting O. A. Adedokun After My Report on His Road Safety Command Had Gone Viral
by: Deji Yesufu
I had just returned from work and was trying to get some rest from the day’s labor, when my mobile phone rang. “Is this Mr. Yesufu?” The voice at the other end enquired. “Yes, it is…” I responded. “This is the Road Safety Command unit at Agodi, Secretariat. Your driver’s licence is ready. Please come tomorrow and collect it.” “Ok sir.” After the call was dropped, I thought I recognized the voice of the caller. It sounded like those of Officer O. A. Adedokun. Could this man have read the report I wrote on him and decided to set me up for publicly embarrasing him or something? Then I said to myself: I simply wrote my experience at Road Safety and it was largely a positive reportage. If however I get into trouble for saying the truth, so be it. I decided that whatever happens, I would be at the Secretariat, the seat of state government work in Ibadan, to see the Road Safety folks.
On Friday, 18th June, 2021, I had visited the Road Safety command at Agodi, Secretariat, Ibadan to get my driver’s license. After witnessing the professional manner Officer O. A. Adedokun and his men attended to me, I wrote a Facebook post in which I commended their work. I use glasses and they had referred me to my eye doctor to get a report showing that I could see well enough to drive. I thought such commitment to duty was practically unknown in Nigerian government offices until I met Officer Adedokun.
As I approached their office this afternoon, I recognized one of Mr. Adedokun’s assistants. When I noticed that his face brightened up when he saw me, I knew immediately that all was well. Immediately he took me into their boss’ office to wait for him. The day’s work was already rounding up, yet Officer Adedokun was still in the capturing office ensuring work was proceeding smoothly. As I waited for him to arrive, the younger officer explained to me that the piece I wrote on them had gone viral. I did not know this. I had 122 shares on my Facebook page but apparently the article had flown more on other social media handles than on Facebook. In fact, I was reliably informed that at least three newspapers had printed the story. I was pleasantly surprised; I began to beam from ear to ear. There was no problem after all.
Officer Adedokun soon joined us and the first thing he asked was: “…are you Deji Yesufu”. I said yes. He just kept shaking his head in disbelief. He explained to me that they were only doing their job and that their insisting on following due process had plunged them more in trouble than these sort of positive reportage they got from me. He said while he still retained a commitment to doing the right thing, it was beginning to get to him and he was wondering whether it was worth it after all. Suddenly my report emerged and he has been receiving calls from every part of the country, and even outside the country, commending their work ethic. Now they are encouraged to continue to do more. He thanked me and explained that he specifically requested that as soon as my driver’s license was ready, he would like to hand it directly to me. And so he did.
While he was talking with me, some other officers came in and I had opportunity to glean more information from them. I explained that while they are doing very well with private vehicle owners, it is the public transporters that need help the most. I told them of an experience of witnessing an elderly driver battling asthma while I took a cab from Mokola to UI. At that point, officer Adedokun requested that an elderly couple, who were working on their own licenses, come in. He told me that the man had some physical ailment and if he would be granted a driver’s license at all, his health status will be clearly stated on it. He said that Nigeria Road Safety are working hard to make driving safe for all Nigerians.
I also told them that someone had said to me that Adedokun’s enthusiasm for work is as a result of the fact that he is just new to the Secretariat office. It is said that as time goes on, he would begin to relax and lapse into the normal Nigerian manner of doing things. Officer Adedokun explained to me that he has always done his work in this manner and it might be his commitment to work that has led him to be transferred so often and now heading their office branch in Agodi. In other words, he will not be relaxing any time soon.
After our discussion, I requested for photographs to be taken with him – which he granted quite reluctantly; and then I took my leave. As I left their office, it occurred to me that there is a great blessing in faithfulness: continuing to do the right thing, whether or not people are seeing you, will bring its reward one day. There was no way Adedokun and his team would have known that I would write a report like that on them. If they had treated me badly, I would have said it in my report and the news would have gone around in like manner. I am thankful that I might have caught a niche more in criticism than in praise singing; thus by writing this essay on Adedokun, this man and his team earned the report I did on them.
Like I said in my initial essay, if every Nigerians will commit to doing the right thing in the corner of their offices and homes, with time this country will get better. The leadership deficiency we mourn about will eventually fix itself because one man, faithfully serving this country in a relatively inconsequential corner of our national life, will rise up to lead the country to great good. This is how great nations are birth; this is how countries succeed. May the tribe of Officer Adedokun and his team increase in Nigeria. Amen.