COMPT. C.E. AYO’S ENVIABLE PROFESSIONAL APPROACH TO PUBLIC SERVICE
By Mcanthony Onuoha
In the words of Napoleon Hill, “the best job goes to the person who can get it done without passing the buck or come back with excuses”.
Indeed the Nigeria Customs Service has overtime, continued to parade very brilliant officers who can confidently compete with their counterparts across the globe and carpet them in terms of professionalism and knowledge of Customs management and procedures.
Indeed, one of such highly intelligent and amazingly brilliant Officers is Comptroller Caroline Ayo, DSM,Psc(+), whose unrivaled diligence and commitment as well as professionalism changed the narratives at every department she manned while at TinCan Command of the Nigeria Customs.
COMPTROLLER CAROLINE EBUNOLA AYO, DSM,PSC(+),Bsc Hons(Ed),MBA Fin,Mgt., LLB.(Hons),BL
For instance, before she was posted to TICT (Terminal B2),where she was the Deputy Comptroller, in charge of vehicles, TICT was a very volatile terminal where most Officers dreaded to be posted. It was an area invaded by unscrupulous urchins from time to time, always causing problems among seasoned Officers posted there.
It is a fact that most of there activities had at different times triggered issues that geared towards tarnishing the image of some of the officers posted there, especially those who declined to do their biddings; the uncompromising Officers. Even today, some Officers work in fears as they are very mindful of the notoriety of the area .
However, Comptroller C.E. Ayo, who has vast knowledge of the job, and was deployed on merit to head the Vehicle Seat, upon arrival, tried assiduously to remedy some of the wrongs in terms of Customs procedures and also made a lot of seizures within one year she manned the Seat before her elevation to the rank of a Comptroller. She has since proceeded to the Zonal Headquarters.
Frankly speaking, history will remain fair to the Public Officer whom throughout her stay at TinCan Command, stood her ground against unwholesome drugs and other offensive items, preventing them from finding their ways into the Nigerian market; a heroic feat that made some National dailies to describe her as one of the best officers that ever served at TinCan Command.
Indeed, there is no room for revenue leakage under the quintessential officer. She in no doubt added so much value to the command as those who had reasons to meet her can always attest to her unique approach to public service.
A highly detrabalized officer and seasoned lawyer, Comptroller C.E. Ayo is a prestigious officer whose administrative expertise is amazing. Her ability to manage crises and restore decorum is one quality that amazes everyone that knows her. And because she is a highly patriotic Nigerian who accommodates and treats everyone nicely regardless of tribe, religion or social status, her elevation to the rank of Comptroller triggered very wild jubilation which indeed was an attestation to the level of admiration her personality draws from freight agents, as well as officers and men of the Nigeria Customs.
Mr. Uche Ejesieme is the Spokesman of TinCan Command of the Nigeria Customs, he threw more light on the personality and stewardship of the then Deputy Comptroller as she manned various units at the Command before her elevation to the prestigious rank of Comptroller.
According to the Command’s Public Relations Officer, ” Deputy Comptroller C.E. Ayo as then was, and now Comptroller C.E. Ayo, DSM, Psc(+), while serving at TinCan Command, actually carved a niche for herself because having come from the prestigious Command and Staff College where she also bagged a meritorious award of DSM and became Psc(+), which is a prestigious academic award, a college whose standard is that of the Military; the Controller General of Customs (CGC), actually came and scaled up the standard. That is to say, when you go to the College, you will find out that everything they do there is purely Army Standard laced with a little bit of paramilitary. But l can tell you it is 99% Military Standard. And any product of Command and Staff College, from their Directing Staff to their lecturers to every other person, all do things in ways that are quite unique.”
” Having been in that prestigious institution and as part of the pioneer members of the College, it became very evident when she was posted here, bringing all her experience to bear in terms of administration, in terms of leadership and in terms of knowledge of the application of Customs Management procedures; of course, she deployed all her talents and we were not surprised the result we got while she was here.”
“At this juncture, l have to say that TinCan Command has been very Lucky, always blessed with very knowledgeable Senior Officers, and that’s why we have continued to be the cynosure of all eyes as far as comity of Commands are concerned. The quality of Senior Officers, ACs and DCs, not to talk of the leadership, is something very phenomenal. If you look at our achievements even though we don’t advertise; you see that the Command has actually transformed from a place where before now, was noted for all manner of non compliant attitudes to a very compliant and user friendly Command, and the credit goes to the CGC, Col.Hameed Ali, Rtd., and of course, with the round peg in the round whole,in the person of Comptroller Musa Abdullahi, who has been the Executive Officer here, because of what he did and Madam Ayo keyed into ,we recorded great results. The Command under Comptroller Musa Abdullahi, set up Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) for the Command; a guiding principle to create a kind of platform and a trajectory for us to achieve some of the expectations of the Government particularly in line with our statutory functions. Not only are we interested in meeting up with standards and rates; we are also interested more recently now, with trade facilitation. Our emphasis now may not be on revenue; we have actually transited from revenue even though it is very key and germaine but we are also emphasising trade facilitation just to see whether this place can become a hub in West Africa for trade by ensuring that once a compliant trader lodges declaration, at the end of the day, expeditious action will be taken; removal of bottlenecks and all manner of bureaucracies from the system.”
“So Comptroller C.E. Ayo, actually keyed into it and she did wonderfully well. If you went to Scanning Unit when she was there, before she was drafted to Vehicle Seat at Terminal B2, you would also have been a living witness to the humengous seizures she made particularly at the twilight of her exit from the place, that is why we are not surprised that she became elevated to the post of Comptroller recently, even though she faced some challenges, but what we are saying is not that she had all the answers to all the issues because Customs job is actually work in progress; everyday we try to review activities to see how we can make a change and make the platform very convenient and convivial for business to thrive. She really made her mark , she carved a niche for herself, she was able to create effective leadership while she was serving here, made seizures of controlled and uncontrolled drugs and even light arms and ammunition , all manner of seizures to her credit while holding sway as officer in charge of Vehicle Seat at B2 Terminal, until she was promoted to Comptroller, and it became mandatory for her to proceed to the Zonal Headquarters while awaiting her next assignment.”
“Generally speaking, we are very proud of her, she actually supported the Service here at TinCan. For three consecutive times the Command has won WCO Award; the first one was personalized to the Controller, while the other two were given to the Command for some of these innovations and transformations. Like I said earlier, we have actually not gotten to where we are expected to be because we want to get to the level where the stakeholders will be on the same page with us so that our handling of issues of circumvention of processes and issues of compliance will be top-notch, a level where people will begin to have seamless and symbiotic relationships in Trade Value Chain. I know we are coming to that because if you look at the relationship of Customs and other stakeholders now and before; there is today, a kind of paradigm shift because what we have now are stakeholders who can bring brilliant ideas to the table, and also make constructive criticisms so as to move the Service forward; we all know that criticism is part of it. We expect that once you criticize us we know the areas we need to buckle up and we are doing just that. We shall continue to interface and cross-fertilize ideas so as to achieve the desired results as we continue to raise our standard and bar in terms of operations.”