… Says factional BoT members were hoodwinked into accepting peace deal
A member of the factional Board of Trustees of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) formerly led by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Chief Ernest Elochukwu has described the recent peace resolution in the association as a ‘graveyard peace’. This is even as he said members of the factional BoT led by Taiwo Mustapha who were part of the meetings leading to the peaceful resolution of the conflict were hoodwinked into accepting with the terms.
Recall that following the intervention of the Council for Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) in the over four years crisis which almost crippled the association, a meeting was put together last month, which had the factional chairman of the BoT; Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha and the factional BoT secretary; Prince Taiye Oyeniyi and a member of the factional board; Mr Dayo Azeez in attendance.
At the meeting, the factional BoT members agreed to sheath their swords and have even sworn allegiance to uphold the reconciliatory peace move.
One of the highpoints of the meeting was the appointment of Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as the substantive Chairman of the board, while Prince Taiye Oyeniyi stepped down from the board to become a Patron of the association. Similarly, each of the factional Boards nominated four members into the new board; a decision many industry watchers believed had put an end to the crisis in the association.
However, to the disappointment of stakeholders in the industry, the so-called peace move in the association only lasted a short while, as some members of the former BoT headed by Taiwo Mustapha have raised dust over how CRFFN tried to resolve the crisis.
Berating the CRFFN’s intervention in the association’s crisis, a former President, who is also a member of the factional BoT headed by Taiwo Mustapha; Chief Ernest Elochukwu in a recent chat with Shipping Position Daily said there is no sincerity in the way the CRFFN went about resolving the crisis in the association, even as he queried the methodology with which the Council arrived at resolving the crisis.
He described the so-called peace in the association as a mirage, stating that those who believed the CRFFN intervention will bring peace are only deceiving themselves, he argued that peace is not absence of strife, but presence of justice.
He said both the factional BoT Chairman, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, the factional secretary of the board, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi including a member of the board, Dayo Azeez were all tricked into accepting what he described as a graveyard peace.
Speaking further, Elochukwu alleged that, not all aggrieved BoT members including association members were carried along in the so-called peace move during the AGM that held last month in Lagos.
He informed that the Nigerian Police had begun the reconciliatory process before it was hijacked by the CRFFN.
He said: “Why I don’t believe in the so-called reconciliation is because there is no sincerity about it, there is no element of truth in what is going on. It is a mirage and those who believe that it is going to bring peace in ANLCA are only deceiving themselves.
“They have done what is wrong and they should be told, from that point we can now see how to rectify it. But not when somebody has done what is wrong and because he has connections; you now come to legitimize what he has done and people say they should let peace reign. I would only laugh and see how it brings about peace. Peace is not the absence of strife, but the presence of Justice.
“The people that you saw at the AGM were tricked into coming by the Chairman of CRFFN. They went to have a private meeting which he called them to, so as to take some decisions. On the surface it looked reasonable, but on the inside the sinister motive was to perpetuate the position of Farinto, Mukaila and Njoku faction or whatever it is called. The people who attended from the Taiwo Mustapha led faction were cajoled and intimidated to come to that meeting under false pretense by the Chairman of the governing council. Those things do not make for peace.
“The hidden agenda will eventually come out and that is why someone like me will not even be part of the whole issue in the first place. What is being done is a charade and manipulation and I cannot be part of such. How can you forget about what happened and you say you want to gain reconciliation?
“When you reconcile people, you have to bring the two parties at par with each other, including information. The intention was to deceive them to come there, so that it would look like all parties are in support, but of course we are noble men and people like us cannot be so invisible. The CRFFN chairman is not yet ready to address justice. Whenever Justice is addressed, peace and a lasting peace will come” he said.
Speaking on other reasons why he won’t accept the peace move, he alleged that the CRFFN Chairman refused to release the report of the reconciliatory committee that was asked to look into the crisis in the association. He alleged that the Council Chairman decided to jettison the report in other to favour Henry Njoku, Kayode Farinto and Babatunde Mukaila.
He also accused the acting president Dr. Kayode Farinto of introducing a position that is alien to the association constitution, he said the constitution of ANLCA did not provide for the position of acting President
“Farinto introduced something alien by appointing an Acting President which is not in the constitution. Laws are made to protect the society, especially the weak in the society because not everybody can afford to be a strong man. If we now allow only the strong to have their way, it means that we are actually trying to create room for anarchy” he said.
Meanwhile when contacted to get his reaction over the allegation of being hoodwinked into the peace treaty provided by the CRFFN, the new patron of the association; Prince Taiye Oyeniyi said he would like to remain neutral, he said he has sworn to give peace a chance and as such his decision remains binding, he said all members cannot be happy with the decision, but however urged all the members to give room for peace to reign in the association.
“Let’s give peace a chance, at my age I cannot be going front and back on my decision, what we all want is peace. I am the patron of the association now, I want to remain neutral, if the two parties have brought four members each and I stepped aside, let’s just leave the counter reaction, everybody cannot be happy with the decision, but we must allow for peace; not graveyard peace but tranquility”, he said.
Meanwhile, reacting to Chief Ernest Elochukwu, the Acting National President of ANLCA, Dr Kayode Farinto said: “I am pained to see elder statesmen behave the way some of our so-called leaders are behaving.
“First and foremost, let me state clearly that NECOM believes in the leadership of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria.
“Hence, we allowed many of the things done under the peace agreement, even when we knew they were not in line with our constitution, but for the entire association, we did give and take.
“Sir Elochukwu met the Nigeria Police to write to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on the true status of the Association’s BOT and a copy of the reply has been sent to us and he and Alhaji Mustapha are not even among the members of our board recognized under the law.
I decided to release the report to the public for all stakeholders to know the aggressors and that we have been magnanimous to have accepted the issues the way it has been midwife by the Chairman of the Governing board of the CRFFN through the use of the political solution.
“Secondly, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha does not have any power to counter the decision of the National Executive Council (NEC) to extend the NECOM election by 90 days for the Association Electoral Commission (ASECO) to be able to conduct the NECOM Election.
“He needs to know that the day-to-day running of the association lies on the NECOM and not the board, it is expressly stated in our constitution.
“Finally, I urge the ASECO to go ahead with the preparation for the conduct of the NECOM election. I also state unequivocally that we have our belief in the capabilities of Alhaji Abubakar Sanni- led Governing Council of CRFFN in piloting the affairs of freight forwarders in line with the CRFFN Act as enshrined.” Farinto said.