There is palpable tension in the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) as the association prepares to hold elections into five major chapters in the Western Zone namely: Seme, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, PTML, Apapa and Kirikiri chapters.
Investigations by Shipping Position Daily showed that the association is yet to come out of the Board of Trustees (BOT) crisis that hit her in April after the national elections of March 2018.
Although the National Executive Committee headed by Mr Tony Nwabunike has said that it does not recognize Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as chairman of the BOT, the Western Zone headed by Sir John Oforbike last week directed members of the zone to disregard Henry Njoku as chairman.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily last week after meeting of the Western Zone, a member of the Board of Trustees, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi alleged that ANLCA President, Tony Nwabunike is incommunicado and this has thrown the association into disarray.
According to him, part of the resolutions of the meeting was that only Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha should be recognised as Chairman of BOT and that it is the board that would conduct the coming elections.
Also speaking, Zonal Coordinator West, John Oforbike said any instruction given by the former BOT headed by Henry Njoku regarding the coming election should be disregarded.
Oforbike who superintends nine chapters out of 17 in the association also alleged that the Vice President, Kayode Farinto has been poke-nosing into the affairs of the Tin Can chapter where he was former chairman.
He said: "Whenever there is election, it is the duty of the board to conduct it, every other person, the President and the Vice should keep off, it is only the zone that can be called as an observer"
"We have told the Vice President to stop going from chapter to chapter on the guise that he is solving a problem, he is not the vice president of Tin Can, but of the whole ANLCA, he has been in Tin Can more than four times"
"He should act everywhere, he should go to the east, Calabar and Kano to solve problems, he should allow the Zonal coordinator to do his job"
However, the Vice President while reacting to the allegations said that the ‘pro-Mustapha group’ is gripped by 'fear of the unknown' and that they are being mischievous.
Farinto described Tin Can port as a volatile chapter, saying that the national Secretariat would not wait for issues to degenerate before rising up to address them.
He accused the Tin Can chapter executives of protecting the Customs CAC against ANLCA members, especially on the Benchmark controversy that hit the chapter recently.
He gave instances where he had solved major problems facing ANLCA members at PTML, Eastern Port, FOU Zone ‘A’ among others, saying that the allegations against him are baseless and mischievous.
"Because election is very near now, there is apprehension, some people believe that because they did not support us during our elections, it is the fear of the unknown"
"As far as I am the Vice President of ANLCA, there is nothing like BOT in our constitution, so I am not interested in their Mustapha as BOT Chair, I don't recognize him", he declared.