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What will Tunji Bello bring to FCCPC?

Tunji Bello

By Jill Okeke

The popular saying that consumers are always right may be possible in other climes but the reverse is the case in Nigeria, where consumers face abuse from retailers, manufacturers, service providers, amongst others.

Majority of our retailers, service providers and manufacturers know next to nothing about customer service as most of them attend to consumers as if they are doing them a favour, conveniently forgetting the corporate cliché, that ‘the direction of a business is ultimately determined by its customers. Without the customer there is no business.’

It is only in places like Nigeria that a consumer pays for services not rendered. What is happening in our power sector is a testament to that. A thorough look at this sector and how the average consumer has fared tells us that the ordinary Nigerian is a good person that is easy to lead. In spite of all the pain and heartbreak they have unleashed on us, the majority of Nigerians still pay their bills for steady darkness or unpredictable power supply.

The Nigerian consumers have been so accustomed to abuse that they can no longer distinguish what is abuse and good customer service.

Around here, customer satisfaction is no longer a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation. It is a mere platitude.

Interestingly, the Consumer Protection Council of Nigeria which has since metamorphosed to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was established to mainly protect the interest of consumers.

Though the agency recorded some giant strides in the corporate landscape, especially within the years under the leadership of Barrister Tunde Irukera, however the average Nigerian has not felt the impact, with many not aware of its existence.

Right man for the job!

However, there is consensus amongst many analysts out there that as the versatile and highly experienced Tunji Bello with his past track records in the public sector takes his position as the Chief Executive Officer/Vice Chairman of the Commission, he will bring his wealth of experience and expertise to the role.

While attempting a horse of recall, Bimpe Asaju, a public affairs analyst said, “For those of us, who came to Lagos before 1999, we know how smelly, dirty and unattractive the entire environment was. Tunji Bello as he became the Commissioner for Environment and later Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources in 2011 changed the story. He redefined the environmental landscape from horrifying paradigm of old to the splendiferous ambience we behold today.

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“Now one can comfortably drive through Lagos state with eyes wide open admiring the beautiful trees and flowers strategically planted on the road sides and under the Flyovers, not just for providing shades and esthetics but also providing means of livelihood for hundreds of people tending to the plants.”

It may also be recalled that Lagos State was once described as the “dirtiest capital city in the world” in the words of Mr. Femi Okunnu, Nigeria’s Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing.

He spoke eons ago during an interview with a Lagos newspaper, where he said, “This (Lagos) city, capital of a nation of sixty million people is sick and needs urgent purging.

When Tunji Bello, the then Commissioner for Environment started beautifying Lagos, people were making jokes and asking “Na flowers we go chop?” Today the tree planting, landscaping and beautification projects are still attracting both local and international commendations for the state.

A drive around the entire city with all its splendid parks and gardens would reveal that they have contributed in no small measure to a greener, healthier and sustainable Lagos.

Aside the aesthetics, the greening initiative was a deliberate effort to mitigate the effect of climate change, protect our future and save the environment.

Currently, the state has over 232 landscaped and beautiful sites, inclusive of those sponsored by private concerns.

Tunji Bello’s career trajectory

Tunji Bello, the lawyer, administrator and renowned journalist joined the public service in 1999 when he was appointed the Managing Director of the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency during the time of the then Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

During his time at LASAA, he brought sanity into the sector. Before then the state was littered with billboards, banners and posters and in some cases obsolete ones.

In July 2011 he joined Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration as the Commissioner for the Environment in Lagos, where he meritoriously served till May 29th, 2015 and later served the Secretary to the State Government under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

Also, on August 20,2019, following the confirmation of his nomination as a cabinet member by the state House of Assembly, Tunji Bello took the oath of office as the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources under Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

For a man who has put in almost 24 years cumulatively in the public service of Lagos state, Mr. Bello has been described in affectionate terms and superlative adjectives by many who have crossed his path.

Many have described him as ‘a man of excellence, who never gives excuses’ just as some commend him for his professionalism and excellent work ethics.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale said the President expects Bello to ensure the Commission’s mandate is fully realised, protecting Nigerian consumers’ interest, promoting their welfare, and guaranteeing the safety and quality of goods and services.

Analysts hold the view and very strongly too that Mr. Tunji Bello will use his flexible, adaptive mind to bring in innovations to improve the activities in his latest assignment in such a way that consumers will really feel the impact of his tenure.