Running a transport company could be very challenging. It is a business that requires a high level of dedication, trust and integrity. In August this year, Dr. Sam Onyishi made headlines for returning about N2.2 bn that was wrongly credited to his Unity Bank account by First Bank.
Ever since then, the level of integrity he has brought into the transport business in Nigeria has continued to attract attention to his flourishing mass transit business.
From a humble beginning, Onyishi, who rose from being a bus conductor, bus driver and motor spare parts dealer to become a university graduate is today, a successful entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist of repute.
Onyishi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work and Community Development from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is the founder and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Peace Mass Transit Limited. He is also, the Chairman of Peace Mass Transit Beijing Trade Ltd, Beijing, China.
He is on the board of a number of reputable companies including Peace Capital Market Limited (A member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange), Peace Express Service Ltd, Peace Bureau de Change Limited, Peace Aviation Limited, and Foton International Ltd (sole distributor of Foton mini buses in Nigeria).
Onyishi is a onetime Chairman of Enugu State Football Association and was also the former Chairman of Rangers International Football Club.
In this special interview with newsmen, he reveals what makes Peace Mass Transit, the first choice for travellers across Nigeria.
“We run the transport company like a ministry not like a business. From inception, our fares have been very competitive, given the quality of service that we render and the quality of vehicles that we use to render this service. Our fares have been very affordable because we see it as a ministry, as a service to God and our people.
“We have not used any of the opportunities we have had to exploit our people in terms of making money. That is one thing that sets us apart. The second is that we are core professionals. We started as bus conductor, bus driver, motor spare parts dealer and today, bus operator and by the special grace of God; we are among the leading operators in the country and beyond.
“Number three is that we are not just operators but dealers; dealers in vehicles and vehicle manufacturers, dealers in spare parts and other services concerning transport service. We are terminal loaders. All our vehicles are 100 per cent owned by us. These things set us apart and there are many more to the glory of God.”
When asked what safety means to him, Onyishi replied:
“Well, when you talk of safety in a transport business; that is the soul of the business. Without safety, there is no business. Transport business is something that has to do with confidence and the passengers must have trust in your operations to patronize you.
“So, over the years, people that have grown up knowing you and those who have been patronizing you; they do so as a result of confidence they have reposed in our services and for the fact that they believe in us over these 25 years. For us, safety is our number one priority. This is because if people pay you and you can’t take them back home, you have failed in delivery of the service and tomorrow you will not find them.
“Apart from that, they have paid you to take them home, not to go and die or to get stranded somewhere. In dealing with issues of crashes, you have to deal with the issue of the quality of vehicles. The roads are very bad but you have to take care of the human angle in other to make sure that we deliver our passengers safe and sound.
“So, we major in terms of training and retraining of drivers using the Federal Road Safety Corps and our own home trainers that are road training qualified. During employment, we make sure that we employ drivers who are qualified, who are healthy; have good sight and essentially people who will not get a stroke on steering.
“Again, we make sure that the people we employ are retrained by an approved road safety driving schools. You must have a current driver’s licence; the person must have a minimum of five years of commercial driving experience and you must be recertified by road safety compliant. In doing that, you ensure that drivers get enough sleep.
“We have special arrangements for them when they get to where they are going. We make sure they don’t take alcoholic drinks early in the morning before going to work. These and more are challenges but we will do our best so that we meet up with the expectation.”
Onyishi also spoke on the internal mechanism adopted by Peace Mass transit in sanctioning unruly drivers.
“The numbers we write at the back of our vehicles are also safety measures because when you get a call back from a passenger, it helps you to call in drivers who are offenders and give the appropriate punishments or caution. Also, because they are aware that the passengers can reach the management, they are also cautious of offending the passengers.
“It helps to make them control themselves. Also in terms of safety, we can say that our vehicles are always road worthy. We always make sure that our vehicles are road worthy. For instance, we don’t use fairly used tyres. Our tyres don’t do more that 30,000 to 40,000 kilometers before they are replaced.
“We don’t wait for them to get worn before we change them. We change them based on mileage. Also, we use quality products like brake pads, brake oil and so on. There are three angles to road crashes or accidents. First is the mechanical angel, which has to do with the quality of the vehicle and maintenance culture.
“Number two is environmental which include bad roads and other environmental factors. The number three is the human angle which has to do with the quality of driving and mistakes from human error and things like that. You have to come to a balance for you to have a good transport system.
“I’m not God. Once in a while, we have some issues here and there especially when you look at the volume we are having on a daily basis. Every day, we move about 30,000 passengers and we are hitting the road with over 2,000 vehicles.
“But ours is to do what we are supposed to do as professionals and leave the rest to God. If you don’t do what you are supposed to do and keep on praying. God has given us the knowledge that we should use and we are using it well. So, we are core professionals and we also try to meet up with the expectation.”
The business mogul also gave Nigerians travelling this festive season advice, saying
“Before you board any commercial vehicle, look at the tyres; the face of the tyres will give you an idea of what the engine or brake looks like. It’s likely that a vehicle that has brand new tyres is being properly looked after and such a vehicle is surely going to have good brake system; good engine and so, you’re not going to be abandoned somewhere along the highway”.
Benue University VC tests positive for Coronavirus
Benue State University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Msugh Hembe has tested positive for Coronavirus.
Hembe who confirmed this in a post he shared on Facebook, directed all staff of the university and close associates to undergo Coronavirus test and also to isolate themselves.
He wrote in the Facebook post;
“On Monday, 29th June, 2020, my test result for COVID-19 returned positive.
“I have been in isolation since I found out on Monday about my positive exposure to the virus.
“Staff of Benue State University and close associates are advised to check themselves, isolate and be pragmatic.
He warned everyone to take responsibility, adding that “the virus doesn’t move; we move it. Take responsibility.”
Lagos Primary six, JSS3, SSS3 students to resume August 3
According to the latest reports, the Lagos State Government has reopened schools for students in “transitional classes”.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu made this known in a televised press briefing on Saturday.
He said that
According to Punch,
“0nly students in transitional classes (Basic Six, JSS 3 and SS3) are permitted to resume from Monday, 3rd of August, 2020. It applies only to day schooling.”
JUST IN: Fed Poly Ilaro reinstates suspended SUG president
The Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State, has restored the studentship status of the suspended Students Union Government President, Com. Olatunji Adegboye.
Adegboye, a Higher National Diploma Banking and Finance Student was suspended by the Polytechnic after he was arrested by the Ogun State Police Command in February this year in connection with cult-related activity.
But the Polytechnic on Thursday elected to lift the suspension slammed on him following intervention by Governor Dapo Abiodun through series of meetings coordinated by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Tokunbo Talabi.
A letter dated July 2, 2020, and signed the Polytechnic’s Registral, Osore, A.F (Mrs.) which was addressed to Adegboye, conveyed his reinstatement.
However, the institution also required to obtain a letter of certification from guarantors – that is the Ogun State government and the Department of State Services (Ogun State), attesting that he would maintain law and order for the period of his studentship in the institution and community.
The letter reads:
“Based on the intervention of the Ogun State government on the matter through: a meeting coordinated by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and having in attendance, the Advisers to the Governor on Security, Labour, Students Matters, representative of the Department of State Services (DSS) in the State, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Executives(Ogun State), Rector, The Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro (FPI) and Deputy Registrar (Rectory), FPI; and
“A follow up letter dated 30th June, 2020 and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi wherein it was directed that the status quo be maintained pending the outcome of the court case of cultism instituted against you.
“Accordingly, the Academic Board at its meeting held on Thursday, July, 2, 2020, taking into consideration the intervention of Ogun State government resolved to restore your studentship with the following conditions:
“A letter of certification from your guarantors, that is the Ogun State government and the Department of State Services (Ogun State) to maintain law and order for the period of your studentship in the institution and community;
“The letter is expected to be followed to the Registrar through your Head of Department.
“It is hoped you will expedite action on the conditions above, so that you can be reintegrated into the system to benefit from the online curriculum delivery in respect of the second semester 2019/2020 academic session. Thank you.”
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