Fresh indications emerged last week that the Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi may have dumped the results of the recently -conducted elections into the Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
It was also feared that the minister may no longer be interested in inaugurating the board any time soon.
Amaechi was expected to have inaugurated the newly-elected board members three weeks ago, that is a day after a retreat that was billed to hold in Abuja. The retreat was also called-off even after the new executives had arrived in Abuja for the event which was to precede the formal inauguration.
Multiple sources in the industry confirmed to Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week that the minister was approached immediately after the election by powerful individuals in the sector to warn that most of the elected Council members are from the opposition party; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
According to the source, Minister expressed shock at the development and even frowned at the fact that a lot of litigations were currently still standing against the CRFFN. One of them is the one instituted by the trustees of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA)
Yet, another source told our correspondent that, "Amaechi was not satisfied with the report and vowed never to inaugurate the board. Also, five cases are currently standing against the CRFFN inauguration. The first one came from Port Harcourt on why the board must not be inaugurated".
He added that, “there was a particular injunction from NCMDLCA that the election should not be conducted with Austen Kelly as their candidate, but CRFFN pretended not to have seen the letter and went ahead to do the election anyway."
Shipping Position Daily later gathered that some stakeholders, especially ANLCA members were not happy with the election and are questioning how the board was constituted.
Also, a former President of ANLCA; Sir Ernest Elochukwu has said that the association has not withdrawn its court case against the CRFFN.
He told our correspondent that the CRFFN election was as an act of indecency.
Elochukwu said that the ANLCA National President, Tony Iju Nwabunike acted contrary to ANLCA constitution by going ahead to withdraw the court case against the Council. He said that the decision to go to court was taken at a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting and it is only the NEC that can withdraw the case.
He stated that: "Some persons like us are watching whether the minister will for whatever reason condone this indecency"
"You and I know that what happened in the CRFFN was not an election, the Act said that registered freight forwarders should be elected as the chairman and vice chairman of the council, whereas 15 other members from various sector of the industry, the word says ‘election’ from the registered freight forwarders"
"The election was supposed to have been handled by a body sanctioned by the council seating, but because of the kind of characters that abound in this industry, it became apparent that they cannot allow a simple election to take place, this was why there was a lot of shenanigans that were done in that so called election"
"Why would you say that there is an arrangement with the associations on how many persons should be brought into the council, why would you set up an electoral body outside what is known in the Act?
"For your information, ANLCA has not withdrawn its court case against the CRFFN to the best of my knowledge and that of members of ANLCA, the decision for ANLCA to go to court was taken by National Executive Council (NEC) which is the highest decision-making organ of the association. It is only the NEC meeting that can decide to withdraw the case, and to the best of my knowledge, NEC meeting has not decided".
Elochukwu advised the minister that the needful should be done in the CRFFN, saying that there should be a proper election and the CRFFN management should not be a part of the election.
When he was contacted by Shipping Position Daily however, Registrar of the CRFFN, Mike Jukwe denied the report. Jukwe told our correspondent that he was not aware of anyone kicking against outcome of the elections.
"We are not set, but when we are ready we would invite you, we are yet to carry it out, once we are set, we would let you know, everything is a two days programme, we have the retreat election of the Chairman and vice chairman, this would be followed by the inauguration the following day."
He pleaded for more time, saying that he was not aware of any litigation or complaints against the election that was conducted.