My first encounter with Mrs Pat Emeordi was in 2017 when she assumed office as sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Plateau to replace her predecessor, Mr Otti. Before our physical meeting, I had received a press release from the command announcing her arrival in the state. When I went through her brief but stunning profile as contained in the release, I became very eager to meeting her. As a correspondent covering FRSC on the Plateau for over 7 years, I had never worked with a woman heading the command, hence I became perturbed.
When we finally met, and I listened to her address her officers and men, I immediately drew a general conclusion that she actually knows her onus; she is indeed “a revered road commander”. From her adumbration and submissions, I was able to infer that she has a total grasp of the mandate, functions, mission, and indeed the modus operandi upon which FRSC was established. It was obvious FRSC is in her DNA.
As time passes, her disposition, activism and commitment in stemming the tides of road crashes in the state further convinced me and indeed many others who have confessed in her presence and even absence, that she is truly a commander. She demonstrated her ardent capacity and ability to lead and promote the core mandate of FRSC, which is ensuring a safe motoring and accident free society for all.
You need to hear her address drivers at gatherings, you will marvel at her charisma, flows and the manner and mannerism she present issues that has to do with the safety of lives and properties on our highways. You need to also hear her respond and give succinct answers to seeming difficult questions that commercial drivers would usually throw at her during sensitisation exercise. You will be left with no option but to admire her versatility, intellectual prowess and convincing articulation.
She is a “talk and do” commander who always ensures assigned duties are carried out without further delay. She sometimes raises her voice at her subordinates and even sanctions the erring ones particularly when they fail to carry out their statutory duties. You need to meet her scolding her officers, you will think they are in her black book, but soon, you will hear same officers hailing and calling her “Mama De Mama”. This simply means she is a leader who corrects and the approach in this guise matter less. More so, we are told kaki work is all about “Yes Sir”.
The first time I encountered her scolding some of her officers, I became jittery myself. But I later realised that anyone who wants to be her friend, must learn to do the right thing, and on several occasions she reiterated that position. She is a clear demonstration of a mother who will beat her son with the right hand and yet draw him closer with the left hand.
She had severally told drivers that anyone who does the right thing and at the right time is always dear to her. She is a no nonsense personality, who prefers to address your wrongs on the spot, rather than allows it linger. From my little experience, people with such personality make good leaders.
She appears more like a mentor than a superior, and I see her subordinates missing her mentorship and stewardship by the time she down tools and bows out of service. She has been a mother and a teacher to all her staff and I am pretty sure her motherly love and care would remain indelible by the time she leaves.
She earned the name “Mama Road Safety” from drivers in the state, owing to her sagacity, ability to proffer prompt solution to emerging challenges and her innent desire to ensure accident free highways on the Plateau and Nigeria in general. She is one officer who will insist the right be done and at the right time without hesitation.
It was her deep desire to ensure a safe motoring Plateau that spurs her into initiating various platforms to engage drivers and other stakeholders on road safety education. She constantly move into the crannies of the state, from schools to worship centres, hospitals to government offices, motor parks to media organisations, among others, to ensure people are adequately sensitised on safety measures. Wake her up with challenges about road safety and she will provide instant solution(s) without “much I do’’
Her recent promotion to the rank of an Assistant Corps Marshall (ACM) didn’t came to me as a surprise because I have never doubted her ability to move to the next level. But when I was told that she have just few weeks to enjoy the new rank, I felt bad. But again, for everything that has a beginning equally has an end.
If it were within my powers I would have insisted that she remain in service, because she is rare gem who didn’t just joined FRSC to collect salaries, but her zeal and passion to save lives and ensure an accident free environment was the driving force, and countless times she demonstrated that.
Mrs. Emeordi is not just a worthy road commander, but a faithful soldier of the Lord. She is a devoted Christian and a committed Catholic who never misses church activities.
She is a sports woman who engages in sport activities all of the time; no wonder she is always gallant and agile, making her appears very fit at all times. She is a very neat officer whose appearance on uniform leaves many in admiration. Her modest way of dressing outside uniform also presents her as a true African woman.
As she clocks 60 today, and will also bow out of service, we earnestly pray that her contribution in making FRSC stand the test of time in the annals of our history as a nation would not go in mere vain, and that those she mentored while in service would keep to the legacies she will leave behind by holding forth to things that would keep the corps afloat.
Mrs Emeordi may have clock 60 but she appears and act like a woman in her 40s. Get me right, she is still full of energy, vigour and intellectually sound. I hope those in authority will find her useful and worthy to occupy other positions in the country. She is still very productive and an embodiment of knowledge who will still be useful to providing solutions towards nation building.
Her lifetime indeed calls for celebration. She must have gone through thin and thick in her sojourn on earth. As she moved through the ranks in the service, certainly she must have encountered avalanche of challenges, but with resilience and doggedness she was able to pull through, and today she is pulling out of service, then God be praised.
While I congratulate Mrs Emerodi for achieving this feat, I want to urge her keep to her tenets and principles that have kept her thus far. I want her to continue to be a model to those of us who are still growing through ranks in service.
Born on May 14, 1959, Mrs Emeordi hails from Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State. She had her primary education at Convenant Nurseary and Primary School, Benin City. She attended Ovierataie Grammer school (now St Theresa College), Ughelli and Federal Government College, Benin and later proceeded to University of Lagos, where she studied BA (Ed) History and graduated with flying colours. She also attended Lund University in Sweden.
She joined the FRSC in 1997 but before then worked with the Kano state Ministry of Education and HAG Nigeria Limited, a Lagos based private firm.
Before she assumed office as Sector Commander in Plateau, Emeordi served in different capacities and held different positions in the Corps. She midwived and later appointed as the pioneer Head of Nigerian Road Safety advisory Council (NaRSAC), a onetime deputy commander, FRSC Academy Udi, Zonal Head of Admin and Resources in Port Harcourt and also served in Delta, Borno, Anambra and Ondo states.
She also served as Unit commander in Otta and Badagry, and was at some point in-charge of the special Marshals in the Lagos Zonal Command.
As sector commander in Plateau, she supervised and administers authority over 800 officers and men and about 500 Special Marshals.
She is a recipient of different awards and recognition both within and outside the country. She is a practicing Christian and married with children
Polycarp Auta, a senior correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) writes from Jos.