Undercurrents, Sacrifices That Earned ANLCA Peace After 5 Years Turbulence…
By Francis Ugwoke
The five years crisis in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent was on Wednesday laid to rest. But this was not without series of undercurrents and sacrifices.
This was following the Annual General Meeting (AGM) sponsored by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) during which gladiators from the two warring groups were practically coerced to embrace peace.
Members of the Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha group had boycotted the AGM but Mustapha and his four members of the estranged board attended.
CRFFN Chairman, Alhaji Tsani Abubakar, Acting Registrar, Mrs Chinyere Uromta, apparently aware of bottled up grievances among participants had engaged the Mustapha group and those of the Ag. President of ANLCA in a closed door meeting before the AGM
They were in the meeting for five hours before the two sides agreed to shift positions.
This was to agree on a new board with four members from each side, making it 8.
The Chairman had informed the larger house of the decision reached at the closed door meeting as the AGM took off.
He also said that once this was agreed by the house the next thing would be to set election committee and come back on Thursday next week for NECOM meeting during which election timetable would be announced.
The Chairman had also named members of the election committee.
This was what Abubakar came out to announce to the agitated larger house who vehemently questioned the decision on the ground that it was not covered by constitutional provisions.
The participants had in their anger identified the BOT provision in the Constitution as the problem of the Association and moved that the Association should henceforth do without BoT.
The participants also told the Chairman that the Wednesday meeting was the first time an outsider was presiding over the AGM other than the President of the Association.
But the Chairman had explained that the CRFFN was only acting as a father would do when two of his children were involved in a fight, and that is to settle them.
It was at this stage that the Acting President of the Association, Dr. Kayode Farinto took over the microphone and pleaded passionately to the rowdy members that the decision was simply political to end the crisis.
Even after his appeal, some members still continued in protest forcing the Ag president to rise again for another appeal.
Farinto reminded members of the negative impact of the crisis on association, adding that this was killing their profession.
He disclosed that the Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam had called him some days back to tell him that the crisis in ANLCA was killing the industry.
Farinto also alleged that the some agencies, including some customs personnel in the ports were happy about the crisis and in fact fueling it.
He said that the number of alerts has risen from 5 to 10 as some customs officers continue to take advantage of the crisis in the association.
It was this angle that softened aggrieved members leading to a motion to adopt the proposal by the Chairman of CRFFN.
In response, the Vice Chairman of the Onne chapter of the Association, Mr Isikaku Ifeanyi moved a motion to set aside the Constitution and appoint a new board of 8 members, four from each warring group.
He was seconded by another member.
Farinto as part of his appeal told members that having identified BoT as the problem of the Association, this will be taken care of during another NECOM meeting.
The new BoT who were inaugurated include Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Dayo Azeez, Sir Ernest Elochukwu and Sir Denis Okafor as coming from Mustapha group.
Others from Farinto group were Prince Ozo Chukwura, Alhaji Awopeju, Kingsley Offor and Eniola Igbaruola.
As part of the settlement, Prince Taiwo Oyeniyi decided to step down as a BoT member and was appointed as a Patron of the association.
The AGM also inaugurated an enlarged membership of the election committee which included Mr Alloy Anogbulu, Mr Tope, Obi Elochukwu, Samuel Obi, Lekan Babalola, Erastus Olawo and Sanusi Adebayo.
The Chairman of CRFFN, Abubakar while thanking members for the truce reached explained that the interest of the Council was in resolving the crisis.
He thanked all the parties for the cooperation in arriving at the decision.
Taiwo Oyeniyi and Chief Peter Obi had also expressed joy that the five years crisis was laid to rest following the intervention of the CRFFN.
The two embraced themselves to celebrate the return of peace to the association.
The Acting Registrar of the Council, Mrs Uromta, in her reaction to the peace achieved, said she was happy that the crisis was resolved.
She disclosed that the issue had given the CRFFFN Governing Board Chairman, Abubakar, others and the entire CRFFN administration sleepless night on how to settle the crisis.
The CRFFN chairman had slated Thursday next week for another meeting .