Charisma they say is a force that some people have naturally which makes them able to influence others. For Akindele Opeyemi Taiwo of Kwara State Road Traffic Management Authority (KWARTMA), his charisma and confidence is always appreciated by drivers and passersby in Ilorin as he dramatically directs traffic.
His commitment to duty has led to his recent award.
In this interview with CAMPUS FOCUS correspondent, Adebayo Joshua, he speaks on how his leap from a voluntary traffic officer to an employee of the state government.
The recent talk of the town the award you received from the National Association of Kwara State Students. How does it feel to be recipient of such award?
I give all glory to God ,it’s something I wasn’t expecting that very day while directing the traffic as usual. I received a call from my boss informing me that some of our officers are coming to present a gift to me and decorate me with my new rank. When they arrived, lo and behold, l was really short of words.
There were positive comments from people on how you started traffic management voluntarily -without earning a kobo, did you by any chance sought for this job?
Well thanks for that question, firstly l never wrote KWARTMA any letter for application but due to my efforts which the people saw and the immediate past governor of Kwara State, Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed offered me appointment with KWARTMA. Let me say that I have passion for the job, even before I was offered the job ,I was doing it voluntarily ,so think the people saw the passion in me likewise the ex- governor.
Do you ever dreamt of attaining this height?
Well, I can’t say yes or no but one thing I believe is, there is nothing God cannot do and if you believe, you can go higher, just believe it, and work towards it.
I believe strongly, you must have encountered some challenges while discharging your duty, can you provide us with an insight?
Let me just say the road users ,that is the people plying the road believe if the government can give us more authority ,especially our needs for the night duties , not every motorist plying the road are professional drivers, in fact some of them drive under the influence of alcohol and this can be very dangerous. That aside, I believe that government knows what they can do to assist KWARTMA.
What is the secret behind your special charisma you normally exhibit on this job and do you have a role model ?
Well, God is my witness, he is my strength, its not that I can do it all alone ,without God nothing is possible ,but I believe whatsoever you know how to do just do it well with passion. When I started I wasn’t paid ,I started as voluntary service and then I didn’t see it as a waste.
How will you rate the compliance of motorists in llorin, the state capital and Kwara as a whole?
They are trying at least to certain extent but they still needs to try more because some of them don’t see us as officers and this is a big risk..l mean standing on the road sll the time is a huge risk ,so they should always accord us some respect whenever we direct them .
To crown it all, what advice do you have youths ?
This is our era, whatever you think you can do ,do it wholeheartedly without waiting for anyone to encourage you.