Mohammed: Providing Leadership Beyond Boundaries
In a culturally heterogeneous country like Nigeria, Alhaji Musa Mohammed is a shining example of the super relationships we forge across boundaries. His trajectory in life underscores the fact beyond our religious, political, ideological and ethnic differences, the barriers to our effective inter-relationships and co-existence are mere figments.
Soft spoken and always wearing a calm demeanor, Mohammed’s disposition and views on a number of issues in life brings him across as one who is very discerning. Add this to the fact he is an Hausa Fulani who has two wives from Yoruba-speaking parts of the country and holds a Bashorun chieftaincy title from Egbedaland, a suburb in Lagos, it makes a chance meet with him quite delightful.
Having lived in Lagos for some years and excelled in a couple of businesses, Mohammed also ventured into the transportation business with practiced acumen. It short time, he was thriving.
More importantly however, his interpersonal and man-management skills soon brought more responsibilities upon his shoulders. His ethnic leaning notwithstanding, he was selected an executive member of the Lagos branch of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN). And as one always at ease with leadership, he naturally rose through the ranks to become the head about a year ago.
This week, he celebrated one year at the helms of RTEAN Lagos. He did modestly. For him most importantly, his contentment derives from his performance in office as the Chairman. “We refused to be lured by the attractive offers of material upliftment, which most people fall for when they find themselves in positions. Instead, we decided to bring sanity and dignity to the union; we insisted that the well-being and freedom of the majority of our members was not negotiable. Our steadfastness has seen us thus far,” he said.
Under Mohammed’s watch, there has been progress and development for the Union generally. And his members are quite proud of the achievements. “Firstly, we turned our office to one of the best you can point to. We opened this office edifice during my tenure and it became the envy of all. In the past, it was an eyesore,” he says.
“The welfare of our members is also my priority, which is why I take time to ask questions. I am a strong believer in the dignity and equality of all men. I believe in providing equal opportunity for all. I am a Moslem but still, I deal with people and clergies of other religious affiliations,” he adds.
In spite of the huge demands of attending to his businesses and union schedules, Alhaji Mohammed finds time to attend his private life and religious obligations.
“’I have always loved to make a difference in whatever I do as a child. In fact, I started from the grassroots and from nowhere but with Allah’s grace, I have found myself here. I am a practicing Muslim and I don’t joke with my prayers, I also make sure I go to Hajj every year and sponsor as many as I could. I don’t even joke with the lesser Hajj,” he says.
Sharing his views politics, democracy and the economy, Mohammed expresses the belief that at this important stage in the development of the country, one of the challenges confronting people in our society whom providence and history have given prominence is that of enlightening the vast majority of countrymen on the nature of our problems as well as the scope of our prospects.
According to him, in the spirited pursuit of material wealth and political ambition which we see everywhere in present day society, it is becoming more difficult by the day to find men and women who ponder rationally the wider meaning of the changes that we crave. “The challenges that we face as a nation does not only affect the transport sector but also a variety of sectors. And it would take systematic engagement of persons in position of trust to solve the problems besetting us as a country at large.”
In reflections on the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as head of the new administration, Mohammed says Nigerians were willing for change and they got it.
“We all saw Buhari as an agent of change, an incorruptible leader. So, we need to give him more opportunity and he will surely deliver. That was the reason we wholeheartedly supported All Progressive Congress (APC) in Lagos State due to what Governor Bola Tinubu did before passing the baton to Governor Babatunde Fashola. In fact, we in the transport industry saw Fashola as a Messiah. Check out the developmental program in Oshodi, how he transformed the roads for the smooth running of traffic, which we benefited being the road users. Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) was also effective. So, we have no choice than to support the new Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode because we believe it will be a continuous procedure.
But how easy has it been coping as the leader of such group in the southern part of the country and being one from the north? Mohammed answers: “I don’t see myself like that, I am detribalised. For your information, I am married to two women that are both from the Awori clan in Lagos state. Automatically, I am from Lagos state. So, I have integrated well enough over the years and simply have no issues in that regards.”