By Ambrose Obioma Okehi
Monday, July 12, 2021 will never be forgotten so easily by the immediate past boss of the Nigerian Shippers’Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello as it was a day when the entire maritime industry and other operators and stakeholders in the maritime, Transport/logistics subsector of the country converged at a place to honour and celebrate this man for good works he has done in the maritime industry over the years.
The out-gone ES has just served his two terms of eight years.
Meanwhile, the freight Forwarders used the occasion to call for the reintegration of Barr. Hassan Bello back into the system by freight forwarding community, saying he needed to continue the good projects and innovations he brought into the maritime industry.
The occasion was one of the biggest events in the recent time and also one of the happiest moment for the celebrant (Hassan Bello) as he actually testified. It was a celebration of a man so much loved by his people. An event that drew the who is who in the maritime, Transport/freight forwarding subsector of the Nigerian economy together as they poured encumium on him.
Ordinarily, Mondays are usually seen as the days of the week when employees and employers give more attention to their official routines than outside engagements. Yet that was disregarded by all the guests just to celebrate and honour a man they so much love and a man that has really done much for the maritime industry.
Barr. Bello, based on his track record, was singled out that faithful Monday for honour by the members of NAGAFF. They see him as a man of many parts and callings. To them, he is equally seen as a man who has distinguished himself among the various CEOs and heads of agencies and parastatals in the sector.
The well organized programme saw guests occupying and filling to the time the biggest hall in the Rockview Hotel as well as the gallery just because they want to celebrate a man they so much cherish, a man who has done what others could not do, a man who has made an endalable for his people and for his constituency.
According to NAGAFF, the event was organized just to honour an unassuming gettleman, a good man, a motivator and human capacity builder.
To the freight forwarders, Hassan Bello is a good man and needed to be returned back and retained within the maritime Transport industry either as a Transport Minister for any other bigger position.
Speaking at the reception organized for by the Nigerian freight Forwarders under the umbrella of NAGAFF said:
“It is the Nigerian Shippers’Council that supposed to celebrate Hassan Bello not the freight forwarder,” Dr. Aniebonam had told the gathering while trying to describe the personality of Barr. Hassan Bello.
Dr. Aniebonam who is the founder of this biggest Freight Forwarding association in Nigeria said he first met the young Bello in early 1999 at the earlier stage of NAGAFF and during the time CRFFN was about to be established, when Bello came to see him at NAGAFF headquarters in respect of the issue of CRFFN when Chief Adebayo Saruomi was the boss of the Shippers’ Council and was opposing most of what NAGAFF stood for for then. That Barr. Bello of the Council legal department came intervene and did succeeded in doing that.
The founder of Nagaff further hinted that his association did not celebrate Bello because of anything but because he (the out-gone ES’s) track record and that whatever honour done to him, he merited it and supposed to be celebrated by even the staff of the Council for his good works for the sector.
Adding that if Bello could not help NAGAFF when he was still in the office as the NSC’s boss, is it now when he had left the position that he will help NAGAFF?
He emphatically noted that NAGAFF as an organization is not a pretender in anything it does and will never be one no matter what the situation is.
While calling on the Government of the day not to loose sight of the immediate past NSC’s boss and the quality Barr. Bello is made of, as he is good material for ministerial position, urging the authorities to do consider the young man for any good deal. Dr. Aniebonam openly said “Bello is a good man. We need him back,”. He said that NAGAFF is known for breaking protocols to get to where they want to get to.
Also the members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) saw the man Barr. Hassan Bello, the immediate past Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Secretary (ES) of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) as a Colossus and a man who has brought good ideas and innovations in the freight forwarding subsector, the NSC and even to the entire maritime industry.
That was the single reason the biggest Freight Forwarding association in the country, NAGAFF, they decided to celebrate and honour him.
No wonder the National President of the association, Dr. Uche Increase while welcoming large crowd at event last Monday told them that his association is proud to host the event to honour this uncommon gettleman who bestrode the maritime industry like the provabial Colossus, initiating, ennoboling growth, productivity and development to the Nigerian Maritime, especially harnessing the economic of potential of the port sector.
Dr. Increase called on all and sundry to join NAGAFF in celebrating Hassan Bello for strides within the two terms. That Bello is a quinttesstial servant leader. That the former CEO of NSC (Bello) is also humble, amiable and purposeful of action.
While enumerating the various achievements of Bello at Shippers’Council, Dr. Increase said that since 2013 when he became the Council boss till 2021 when he finally exited the position, that they (freight Forwarders) had felt well under his tenure.
Accordong to NAGAFF, it was under Bello that the abrogation of all forms of illegal and unapproved charges by terminals operators and shipping companies which brought about immesirable relief shippers and freight Forwarders;
His mediative roles in addressing all forms of abitarariness by the service providers; promotion of inter-agency relationship and synergy to ensure collaboration among the Government’s agencies; Reenforcement of Compliance and Monitoring Unit of the Council; paying of personal and unscheduled visits to shipping companies and terminal operators for on the spot assessment of their performances etc.
“In all these glitches the freight forwarders whose major function Include the linkage and bringing together of all the relevant parties involved in cargo documentation chain was completely at the receiving end and grossly shortchanged without any rescue. It was the intervention of the Nigerian Shippers’Council under the leadership of Barr. Hassan Bello from the middle of 2013 that provided respite freight Forwarders till date. The excellent work done by Barr. Hassan Bello which became the tonic that reversed the ugly trend in the industry.
Mr. Increase enumerated some of Bello’s personal achievements in the industry to include:
Abrogation of all forms of illegal and unapproved charges by terminal operators and shipping companies, which Increase said brought about immesirable relief to shippers and freight Forwarders in the country; mediation role to address all forms of arbitrary charges by service providers; promotion of inter agency collaboration and synergy; Reenforcement of the Compliant and Monitoring Unit if the Council for prompt response to compliants and griviances from the users of the ports; paying personal and unscheduled visits to shipping companies for on the spot assessment of their performances; etc.
Barr. Alban Igwe of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) was on ground deliver his lecture on the Topic: “What is the Difference Between A Freight Forwarders and A Licensed Customs Agents?”.
The publisher and CEO of MMS newspapers, Mr Kingsley Anatole while giving his goodwill message, said that discussing and writing about Barr. Bello makes him feel simplistic. Saying it is a big deal because there are many chapters to his towering figure, for a prose writer, to a poet, he is a figure muse that can inspire many stanzas of didactic poems.
Adding that to a musical artiste, Bello’s constituency in humility and humanity can resonate a pleasant vibe in rhymes and rhythems.
Anaroke said using his critical lense to evaluate the performances of Bello, that the temptation of good coverage could defeat his goal. That the modest extracts if Bello’s personality traits should suffice for a leadership class.
He sees Bello as a transformational leader, a father and a big brother, who came, saw it all, may not have conquered all, but has left traits of added values in a big shoes.
He noted that the former NSC boss has many many perspectives to his achievements at the NSC and the maritime industry but listed them in what he called Six Lessons in Leadership which he itemized to include:
Humility is a virture, nurture and manage relationships; do good always; be gender friendly; be the shield and umbrella; and impact your industry/community always.
Concluding that the sector will really miss Bello and him as a friend of former ES.
Mr. Raymond Ugochukwu, the President of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (MAJAN) in his goodwill message commended Bello for being there for the sector within the period he was the CEO of the NSC.
Ugochukwu noted that Bello was there for both the maritime media and the stakeholders during the Covid Pandemic, adding that even when other CEOs of the maritime parastatals were busy trying to save their lives Bello was busy running around for others people’s safety.
The former ES was also given the award of a Grand Patron of NAGAFF as well as achievement award by NAGAFF.