Bosun Tijani, how genuine is your call for revitalization of NIPOST? By Emeka Oraetoka

Data economy is a digital ecosystem in which data is gathered, organized, and exchanged by a network of companies, individuals, and institutions to create economic value. From this, it is obvious data is the driver of world economy of today, but we must understand the link between Data and Cost-Effective Transportation Network, to better appreciate the importance of Postal Services around the globe, NIPOST inclusive.


When this writer read the post made by Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy, on the X platform, where he asked Nigerians for their thoughts on what they believe an ideal NIPOST should look like; I became totally surprised that a minister in Nigeria can take interest in NIPOST, regarded by those in government as a “dead” Agency.


Upon inquiry about the man, Bosun Tijani, I was told he is the CEO of CcHub, a Tech giant in Nigeria. I was further told he was recommended for appointment by a leading personality in the Tech industry in the world. What convinced me about the reason for Bosun’s appointment is the fact that he was vehemently against APC government before now.


The author, Emeka Oraetoka

So, what made APC government give someone who did not see anything good in them an appointment? The answer probably lies in his background.


A thorough investigation revealed that Bosun is not a pushover in Tech industry, meaning, where giants like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gate and others are talking, he can equally talk.


What surprised this write about Bosun Tijani is his honest admission, like Jeff Bezos that without the Postal Establishment, Tech industry is almost useless, as far as Digital Economy is concerned.


The point I am making can be seen in this Jeff Bezos’s view on US Postal Service: “Amazon would not be the $995 billion company it is today without the US Postal Service. “The Postal Service gave Amazon a huge helping hand from the outset, as the online retailer did not have to invest in a delivery network.


“I didn’t have to build a transportation network to deliver the packages, “it existed: it was called the Post Office”. (Jeff Bezos, in an interview with the “CBS Evening News” on Monday, July 16, 2019.)


For those who don’t know Jeff Bezos, his net worth is $139 billion as of May 2023, making him the third-richest person in the world. Bezos is the founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of Amazon. He remains the executive chair of the company.


A critical look at Bosun Tijani’s tweet on NIPOST reveals alignment with the above thought process of Jeff Bezos on the importance and relevance of the Postal Service to commercial digital platform, Amazon and by extension, US economy:


“NIPOST with over 1,180 post office outlets and 3000 agencies should be playing critical roles in the country’s digital economy.” “As we innovate towards a stronger digital economy, the role of NIPOST cannot be underestimated. Please share some of your hopes for the ideal NIPOST in the comments,” –Bosun Tijani.


It is very clear that Bosun Tijani and Jeff Bezos are on the same wavelength on the critical role Postal establishments play in Tech industry. It thus appears that the Ministry of Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy now has a Minister that knows the importance of NIPOST and the crucial role it will plays to digital economy agenda of the federal government.


The real issue here is how Nigerians with ideas on how NIPOST could be repositioned, share it effectively? Yes, through comments on Twitter, one can share hope for the ideal NIPOST, but this writer thinks Twitter may not be Best Avenue to harvest ideas on re-positioning NIPOST for profitability and employment generation.


The Minister and his team may think of other avenues to reach out to Nigerians with direct and indirect action plan on how best to reform NIPOST.


Good enough, Dr Bosun Tijani being a Tech expert will find it easy to convince Presidency, particularly President Tinubu on the need to take NIPOST seriously, if government wants ICT (Data) to truly drive the economy to real prosperity. Before now, the greatest obstacle to NIPOST repositioning was the “negative mindset” of federal government towards the agency.


It is a well-established fact that the US Postal Service is one of the highest employers of labour in America. The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy may advise FG to reform NIPOST, using the US Postal Service template. NIPOST must not be a competitor, as well as a regulator because it will make the agency a lazy establishment.


Apart from FG’s negative mindset towards NIPOST in the past, another deadly problem the agency is grappling with is the “Civil Service Attitude” of its workers. NIPOST is the only FG’s agency that is directly involved in selling of commodity, transportation and services, other agencies are only involved in service provision.


So, the task before Bosun Tijani here is re-orientation of NIPOST workers to purge them of “Civil Service Mentality”. This will allow them to know that they are FG workers with a difference. Training and enlightenment are crucial here.


Steps & strategy for the repositioning of NIPOST to effectively discharge its mandate

In response to Dr. Bosun Tijani clarion call on how best NIPOST can be reformed to discharge its functions effectively and efficiently, I wish to present this view (roadmap) on the repositioning of NIPOST, which I think can add value to the reform of the agency.


It is my core belief that for NIPOST to bounce back to reckoning, conscious and deliberate effort must be made to Drive Traffic (People’s Attention) to the Agency. It is my considered opinion that if government takes calculated steps through policies, to make Nigerians patronize NIPOST, just the way governments in other environments encourage her citizens to patronize their respective Postal Services; revenue and massive employment will be generated. It is also my considered view that the following steps can help to breathe life back to the agency.


The Minister may direct the PMG to seek collaboration with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, on how the agricultural research institute can distribute scientifically improved seedlings to rural farmers allover Nigeria through about 3,500 functional NIPOST outlets in the country. This will lead millions of farmers in the rural areas of the country into trooping to agency’s outlets in their various localities to get the seedlings. We believe that the fortune of rural farmers will greatly improve as a result of improved yield. All things being equal, if the collaboration becomes a reality, it will lift the rural farmers out of poverty.

While the collaboration will favour the rural poor, NIPOST, through the sale of stamp, will generate revenue for FG and money will be available for renovating and repositioning the agency, to offer even better services to Nigerians. For instance, if more than 50 million peasant farmers across Nigeria, open account with NIPOST owned microfinance bank across the nation, for the purpose of getting the improved seedlings from IITA, NIPOST will benefit from it. Alternatively, forms may be designed whereby any farmer wishing to get improved seedlings may be required to fill. The form may have provision where N50 stamp will be affixed.


If the collaboration pulls through, across Nigeria, NIPOST may even introduce selling or marketing points in each and every Postal outlet in the rural and semi urban center, where sellers and buyers can meet. Towards sellers, buyers meeting, NIPOST can also develop app for sellers of different commodities, so that they can be tracked by buyers. This method of app designing is expected to keep the middle men away from the sellers, so as to avoid exploitation of sellers by middlemen through buying cheaply, and then resell at cut throat prices.


Since NIPOST microfinance bank will now be in their facilities across Nigeria, the Minister, through the PMG may seek monopolistic status for sales of examination forms over federal government owned examination bodies, like JAMB, NECO and other higher institutions. To this end, the PMG may be directed to open talks with Attorney general and Minister of justice (AGF) and the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) for consequential directive.


Consequential directive may also be required from SGF to the effect that in any federal government employment advertisement, interested applicants must in addition to online application; send hand written application by NIPOST in their localities, with a caveat that applicant that also sent application through Post Office in their LGA, stands a chance of getting employment. This will mean that both soft and hard copies of applicant’s files are maintained by FG.

It will also give employers an idea about the real intellectual capacities of applicants. NIPOST, on the other hand, would have generated funds through stamp sale, attract revenue to federal government. This method of application for employment will awaken the consciousness of Nigerians on the importance of the NIPOST.


The Ministry of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy can make case to Presidency for NIPOST to be the sole supplier of furniture to Federal Government Ministries, Parastatals, Agencies and MDAs. A directive from the government in this regard will greatly enhance the revenue profile of the agency and also provide employment.

If American President, Joe Biden could issue executive order on Monday, January 25, 2021, to leverage the purchasing power of the U.S. government, the world’s biggest single buyer of goods and services, to strengthen domestic manufacturing and create markets for new technologies; this writer thinks President Tinubu can do same in Nigeria with respect to buy “NIPOST Furniture”.


And if America is talking about $600 billion in goods and services the federal government buys each year; Nigeria should also be talking about N10 billion which Ministries, Parastatals, Agencies and MDAs spent on Furniture yearly. The Executive Order, just like in US, should make any waivers more transparent and create a Senior Adviser office in Aso-Villa to oversee the process.

There is no doubt that the itemized steps, if strategically pursued, will go a long way in improving the fortune of NIPOST, which will make the agency an Ideal one; that the Honorable Minister of Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, appears to be yearning for.






Emeka Oraetoka (Advocate, Postal Reform Initiative) contributed this piece from Abuja; e-mail: [email protected]; GSM: 08056031187; 09039094636.

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