The Ambassador; An autobiography of CRE - Forward by Trae

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Update!: Thanks to my friends: my crowed-sourced editorial team, this foreword (yes, i now know the correct spelling) was eventually put right! :-)

This is my draft forward to my Dad's upcoming autobiography. Feedback please after reading. Thanks.

With my big sister Cle at Dad's Call to Bar; 14 Feb 2012

It was the great Bob Marley in his song “No woman, no cry” who sang the world famous lyrics: “In this great future you can’t forget your past”. A phrase, testament to the fact that in this constantly evolving wonderful world, a thorough understanding of the past is essential in navigating the future.

Chikwado Raphael Ezeokafor, my father…my dad, knowing that, and inspired by several other autobiographies birthed this book you now have in your hands at the ripe old age of 77. Those who know him like I do would not at all be surprised, being a man with a knack for documenting and analyzing every single step of his life, every blessed day.

A quite amusing but at the same time invaluable trait. A trait which I have grown to greatly appreciate as being amongst the later issues of his offspring born in two batches-a decade apart, this body of work is an excellent historical tool for my young mind as can ever be.

This book is also an invaluable tool for any reader, as a dig through its pages teaches the lesson that hard work pays. And that success is inevitably the end result when opportunity/luck meets preparation.

It chronicles the life of “The Ambassador” as he is affectionately called as he struggles despite all odds to get an education, rides on the back of his scholarliness surviving the Biafran war all the way to a job in the Nigerian Civil Service and is eventually singled out to work internationally rendering over a decade of service to the Nigerian High Commission London-UK and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Uganda.  Topping it all with a call to the Nigerian Bar at over 70 years of age.

I highly recommend this autobiography and hope it inspires, particularly my countrymen Nigeria in these perilous times of ours and motivates who ever reads it for excellence such that in our old age we would also have such great stories to pass across to the generation ahead.

Much peace, love and respect as always.

Tochukwu R. Ezeokafor
(Trae Zeeofor/@trae_z)
Benue State, Nigeria
November 2015

Nigerian Driving License Renewal/Re-Issue; the practical experience

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This piece is particularly meant for people renewing (DL expired) or getting a re-issue (DL missing) of their driving license. For fresh applicants you just might have to bow to the Nigerian God.

Most times in this country of ours things are never what they seem … no thanks to graft. And thus one can sadly often not prepare for a task based simply on laid down guide lines. I pen this thus to give a realistic view of what happens nowadays when one attempts to renew or get a re-Issue of his/her Nigerian Driving License. I do this drawing from my experiences getting a re-issue in 2012 at Osogbo, Osun State and a renewal in 2015 at Mabushi, FCT Abuja.

Having good relational skills aside the only two prerequisites you need to attempt this task are 1) Open your head 2) open your computer. Yes, use your brain and familiarize yourself with website of the body in charge. Ensure you understand the guidelines (https://www.nigeriadriverslicence.org/), fulfill all and ask questions where you don’t (google any difficulties-nothing is new under the sun, ask friends who’ve done such before and ask officials if you know any). These things are actually much easier than we think; the process has been refined severally towards perfection that you really don’t need a middleman. Learn to do-it-yourself or you may end up being the frustrated Nigerian who goes abroad to find out there are no maids and that he’s condemned to use a map and his mobile phone to navigate his way around. I applied and got my passport on my own in 2008; for visas and college admission this rule still applies.

The Nigerian Driving License costs only N6,350. But due to ignorance a lot of people end up paying almost twice the amount going through middlemen. And yet there is no significant difference in time spent processing. The only actual additional cost doing it yourself is that you may end up giving a little tip here or there (N200, N500) just to get the officials to DO THEIR JOB! Nigeria we hail thee! The process is so automated that “runs” is only possible before the capture stage. Once you’ve reached the capture stage you’re home and dry.

                                                                    Re-issue
1] I had to get a police report or court affidavit showing my driving license was missing. I chose the courts. The payment for the stamping is suppose to be at the bank into government coffers but trust the corrupt clerk to claim bank confirmation takes weeks and to insist you pay directly to her.
2] Fill the form on the website and pay online or at the bank. Easy; I made payment using my bank debit card and printed out the necessary confirmation.
3] Get the Board of Internal Revenue to give you confirmatory receipt. Not so difficult, just had to wait a little for the staff in question to be on her seat back from whatever duty (official or not) she went for.
4] Get the VIO (Vehicle Inspection officer) to certify you fit for driving. Easy; the guy asked a few Highway Code questions and signed my form expecting me to shake body. I smiled, thanked him and went on my way.
5] Presented myself and necessary forms for capture. Given an appointment date and 30 days after that I picked up the original.

                                                                    Renewal
1] Filled the form on the website and paid using my bank debit card. Made sure to print out the necessary confirmation.
2] Went to the VIO office at Mabushi to enquire about Board of Internal Revenue receipts confirmation. VIO officer told me to first come forward for testing instead. Tried to cower me into fear by dazzling me with Highway Code questions but after finding out I had already made payment and thus graft impossible he signed my papers and asked for a N500 tip instead.
3] Presented myself for capture the next day, given temporal driving license and told to check back in 60 days for permanent. I hear you can text “NDL STATUS LICENSE-NUMBER” to 33811 to confirm readiness. LICENSE-NUMBER being your actual license number; in my case something like BWX1234XX5.


N/B:
From the Federal Road Safety Corps Facebook page these are the officials steps to take towards drivers licence renewal and obtaining a new driver’s licence:

Drivers License Renewal
STEP 1: Apply online at https://www.nigeriadriverslicence.org, print out the form after filling the required fields and also print out the payment form
Step 2: Pay the License fee online or at the Designated Bank
Step 3: Present your form to the Board of internal Revenue Officer or VIO at the DLC for endorsement
Step 4: Proceed to the Federal Road Safety Corps Officer at the DLC for Biometric Data Capturing
Step 5: You will be given a temporary drivers license that is valid for 60 days

Obtaining New Driver’s License
Step 1: Attend training at accredited driving school
Step 2: The Driving school will present you to the VIO for driving test
Step 3: Pass the driving test and the VIO will issue you a Certificate of Proficiency
Step 4: Apply in person at Driver's License Centre (DLC)
Step 5: Pay the License fee online or at the Designated Banks
Step 6: Present your form to the Board of internal Revenue Officer or VIO at the DLC for endorsement
Step 7: Proceed to the Federal Road Safety Corps Officer at the DLC for Biometric Data Capturing
Step 8: You will be given a temporary drivers license that is valid for 60 days.