The Courier and Logistics Management Institute (CLMI) 2023 had a gathering of intellect at its International Conference and Investiture.
This event convened experts who discussed the inevitable interplay of logistics, infrastructure, and enterprises and their part in sculpting Nigeria’s future.
Kicking off the event, Distinguished Professor Simon Emeje, Executive Chairman of CLMI, delivered a welcome address that emphasized urgency in the logistics sector.
Prof. Emeje pointed to the indispensability of the logistics industry, stating that any nation neglecting it faced imminent collapse.
He raised attention for the government to recognize logistics as a robust sub-sector of the communication industry and highlighted its role in economic stability and job creation.
Prof. Emeje, urging increased awareness, revealed that logistics contributes 3.5% to Nigeria’s GDP.
“Logistics is not just a sector; it’s the life stream of a nation. Neglect it, and the entire system collapses,” Prof Emeje said.
The professor emphasized the need to bridge the knowledge gap and cultivate professional awareness, reiterating CLMI’s mission to elevate the sector’s scale.
He further implored the government to earnestly focus on this sector, acknowledging its potential to unravel national problems, setting the stage for an exploration of the connections between logistics, infrastructure, and enterprise.
Dr. Shittu Adebayo, former Minister of Communications, delivered a keynote speech that laid out the critical relationship between logistics, infrastructure, and enterprises.
Adebayo navigated through the digital revolution, emphasizing how it connects producers and consumers, as he lauded the logistics sector for its job creation ability, painting a clear picture of its essential role in the national economy.
“In the digital age, logistics is not just about moving goods; it’s about connecting dreams, aspirations, and opportunities,” he said.
The keynote speaker transitioned seamlessly into a discourse on infrastructure, defining it as the bedrock supporting a nation.
He called for a specialized ministry for logistics and courier services, with the urgent need for a strategic approach.
As the keynote concluded, Adebayo pledged support to CLMI’s endeavors, stating to aid in presenting a facilitating proposal to the federal government.
The CLMI International Conference Panel Session included insights and recommendations from experts in the sector, pointing out key issues in infrastructure and logistics essential for national development.
The panel commenced with a plea for the de-politicization of infrastructure development, emphasizing its foundational role in national progress.
Mazi Sonny Allison, Founder, Red Star Express, Executive Chairman, GMC Logistics Limited; Dr Pharm Elijah Mohammed, Immediate Past Registrar, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN); Dr Madu Obiora, Director General African Center for Supply Chain, Prof Nurudeen Oyekola, CEO, Institute of Classic Entrepreneurship (ICENT) and Dr Sunday Bello, CEO, Work Life Training Professionals, were experts that dissected the theme: “Logistics Solutions and National Infrastructure Development.”
A non-partisan approach and a return to fundamental principles were highlighted through discussions on diverse infrastructure aspects, from transportation networks to social infrastructures. The urgent need for foundational projects, including railways and a national interstate highway system, was noted for sustained economic growth.
“Infrastructure should be the common ground where political differences are set aside for the collective progress of the nation,” Mazi Allison explained.
Drawing from historical examples, the discussion unveiled the transformative impact of infrastructure on economic growth. The post-World War II investment in the Interstate Highway System served as a case study, emphasizing the guiding principles for successful infrastructure initiatives. Global developments, such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative, urged Nigeria to align with these trends through a national policy devoid of political considerations.
“History teaches us that infrastructure investment is not just about roads and bridges; it’s an investment in the economic soul of a nation.”
Shifting gears, the panel addressed health and safety in logistics, particularly focusing on drug distribution. The correlation between logistical challenges in medicine movement and the prevailing issue of drug abuse illuminated the need for targeted interventions. The session made a plea for institutions like CLMI to engage actively with the Ministry of Health, addressing logistical hurdles and ensuring rigorous safety protocols.
Dr Elijah Muhammed noted: “Efficient drug distribution is not just a logistical challenge; it’s a critical step towards ensuring the health and well-being of our nation.”
The panel delved into the dynamic landscape of logistics, exploring challenges related to expensive freight transport and the potential benefits of adopting intelligent transport systems, automation, and robotics. The imperative of upskilling in response to technological advancements was emphasized, with sustainability emerging as a central theme. The session encouraged ongoing discussions and proactive measures to navigate the evolving landscape of infrastructure and logistics in Nigeria.
“In the evolving world of logistics, the ability to adapt and embrace technology is not a luxury but a necessity,” Dr Madu highlighted.
A dedicated session unfolded on green logistics, emphasizing its interconnectedness with global environmental concerns.
Synchro Modality, a dynamic approach challenging traditional multi-modality, emerged as essential for optimizing logistics efficiency. The discussion projected a future where the movement of goods and information converges seamlessly, urging Nigeria to actively engage with these global trends.
“Green logistics is not just a choice; it’s a responsibility we owe to our planet and future generations,” said Dr Madu.
An intriguing segment unfolded with the discussion on the Physical Internet, forecasting a future where the movement of goods mirrors the expansion of the internet. Examples from parts of the world where Physical Internet is already taking effect highlighted its inevitability. The imperative for organizations and professionals to prepare for this paradigm shift in logistics resonated, urging Nigeria to actively engage with these global trends.
“As the digital and physical realms converge, the Physical Internet is not a vision; it’s an imminent reality we must be ready for.”
The dialogue also touched on entrepreneurship, and its role in shaping the future of logistics. An expanded curriculum incorporating entrepreneurship concepts was emphasized through the session, with the necessity for individuals to develop a mindset combining innovation, risk-taking, and adaptability, drawing examples from various disciplines.
“Entrepreneurship is not just a buzzword; it’s a mindset that fuels innovation and drives the evolution of industries,” said Prof Nurudeen Oyekola.
The final segment highlighted the critical intersection of leadership, corporate governance, and national development. Prevailing attitudes were challenged, emphasizing the pillars of responsible governance—accountability, transparency, fairness, and responsibility. The role of responsible leadership in steering the nation towards sustained growth and development prompted reflection on the nation’s past, present, and future trajectory.
“Prayers alone cannot build a nation. It requires proactive, responsible governance grounded in accountability and transparency.” – Dr Sunday Bello said.
The CLMI International Conference Panel Session concluded as a pull of insights, stimulating a sense of urgency for proactive engagement and innovation. Participants left with heightened awareness of the challenges and opportunities shaping Nigeria’s approach to infrastructure, logistics, and entrepreneurship.
Highpoints of the conference were the conferment of an honorary doctorate degree on Mazi Sonny Allison by Ballsbridge University which is in affiliation with CLMI.
And, the public presentation of the book: “Logistics Solutions for Enterprise Infrastructure,” authored by Distinguished Professor Simon Emeje, executive chairman of the Courier & Logistics Management Institute (CLMI).
According to the author of the book selling at N15,000 (Approximately US$30) per copy, logistics is a critical phenomenon in human existence that has been kept at the back end for too long a time despite its enormous advantages to the growth of the economy especially in terms of job and wealth creation.