When all hope seem to have faded-off, the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) recently waded into the five year old crises that crippled the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA).
Some key concessions were given by the two warring factions. Perhaps most significant was the stepping down of the factional Secretary of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the association; Prince Taiye Oyeniyi.
The two factions also convinced some members of their ‘boards’ to step down their membership of the BoT.
It took the doggedness and political maneuvering of the chairman of the governing council of the CRFFN; Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar to achieve this feat.
At the end of the tense meeting which held in Lagos, ANLCA members settled for eight BoT members which include: Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Ozor Chukwura, Eniola Igbaroola, Dayo Azeez, Ernest Elochukwu, Kingsley Offor, Dennis Okafor and Alhaji Shamsedeen Awopeju.
The meeting also constituted a seven-member Association Electoral Commission (ASECO). They were immediately sworn in by the CRFFN Chairman.
Sometime in 2022, this newspaper came hard on the ‘warriors’ in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents.
We noted in that write-up that all lovers of peace have spoken to the warring factions in the association in their languages, yet there is no respite. These interventions have lasted for as long as the face-off has lasted.
We can proudly state here that, no maritime media organisation in Nigeria has devoted as much of its space to finding peace among the factionalised members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents. We do this as a corporate social responsibility.
On this page, about three years ago, this newspaper pleaded with ANLCA’s National President; Tony Nwabunike to rise above all partisanship and considerations in the larger interest of the association. He threw this advice away!
Again, on September 5, 2022, on this page, wrote an Editorial with the title: “Our final recipe for peace in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents”.
In that piece, we opined that, “were it not for the controversial tenure elongation via an equally-controversial Annual General Meeting in Owerri, Imo state sometime in December, 2020, the tenure of Tony Nwabunike as President along with his executives ought to have expired”.
Initially, the crises started as a mere issue within the association’s Board of Trustees, it was simply between two combatants for the board’s headship; that, is Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha and Chief Henry Njoku.
Painfully, the face-off started immediately Prince Olayiwola Shittu finished his statutory two terms of eight years as the National President of the association.
At a point and seeing that all efforts to mediate had failed, this Newspaper had posited that, since it had taken so long and the battle for the soul of ANLCA had taken a frightening dimension of threat to peace in an economic zone; that is the port, it may not be a bad idea to consider de-registering and proscribing ANLCA. Our position at that time was that, perhaps, this would be needed to ensure final peace.
We had at that time also called on the CRFFN to move in. We had posited that: “The challenge to do the needful however rests on the shoulders of the CRFFN, which is the registering agency. They may need the backing and political support from the supervisory Ministry of Transportation”.
We are however happy that CRFFN has finally woken up to its responsibility as the superintending agency over freight forwarding in Nigeria.
Even though it may have come a bit late, the ongoing efforts by the CRFFN Governing Council which started with the constitution of a committee to look into the crises, eventually culminated into the recent AGM in Lagos.
Our fear was that if the CRFFN intervention had failed, ANLCA would have itself and its leaders to blame.
We are particularly impressed by the approach of those whom the crises had thrown up as executives and members of BoT. Yes, they gave up their positions for peace to return to their association. They are the heroes of the ANLCA. History should remember this sacrifice.
And to further firm-up the match towards total reconciliation, the CRFFN) again last week supervised the inauguration of a six-member Association Electoral Committee (ASECO) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents. This is a significant development and a demonstration of the fact that the association is ready to elect a new set of national executives..
The icing on the cake was the emergence of a new BoT, with Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as Chairman.
With a consensus ASECO and a consensus BoT, it can be assumed that all is set for the conduct of an election which will usher-in a new set of national executives for ANLCA.
All we hope for, is for this last leg to be as successful as the previous ones. We appeal to all interested parties to continue to support the CRFFN initiative and ensure full closure of the reconciliation as being spearheaded by the freight forwarding regulatory body.
We hope that the elections coming up in April, will put paid to the unforgettable years of wars that brought the association to its knees. It is time for ANLCA to begin its match towards rejuvenation. The coming weeks will determine how all these will pan out.