The registered Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has asked the Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Tsanni Abubakar to set aside the controversial Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association being convened by the Council and slated to hold today, Wednesday, March 15th in Lagos.
Recall that the Chairman of the Council had directed the acting President of the association, Kayode Farinto to call for an AGM and that the two factional BoTs in ANLCA set up a fresh BoT which would constitute four members from each side while the ninth person will be elected during the AGM.
Speaking at a press briefing after a meeting held with the CRFFN Chairman in Lagos on Tuesday, Chairman of the ANLCA BoT, Taiwo Mustapha told journalists that while the board had resolve to end the crisis following the intervention by the former Minister of Transportation and the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, his members would not participate in the AGM as the meeting could not conclude on all issues tabled for resolution.
He said the meeting with the CRFFN Chairman would continue today by 9.am where all pending issues will be resolved and final resolution reached.
Mustapha explained that constitutionally, ANLCA AGM is called by the association’s President and in his absence, the Board of Trustees, noting that the purported AGM called by Farinto is unqualified as his tenure as Vice President of ANLCA has elapsed since April 2022.
The ANLCA BoT Chair argued that rather than name the proposed meeting an AGM, a reconciliatory meeting would have been more appropriate to enable his faction attend the meeting and CRFFN would by that, create a win-win situation for both factions in its efforts to resolve the lingering crisis in the association.
He said, “We are not going for the AGM. Whatever we determine at the meeting tomorrow (today) is what will be the outcome of what was supposed to be the AGM because I doubt if the AGM will hold.
“In the first place, Kayode Farinto’s tenure as ANLCA Vice President has expired since April 2022. Constitutionally, the National President of ANLCA is supposed to call for AGM and where there is no National President, that responsibility falls down to the board. No one has discussed this with the board because as it is today, on the website of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) our names are still the authentic registered board. So, on what ground is Kayode calling for the AGM? If the CRFFN wants to be an umpire to settle a crisis, then it should know how to handle it.
“We are eager and ready to resolve this crisis because we are all tired of it and we want ANLCA to move forward. But then we would not go into any negotiation for peace resolution while our hands are being tied behind. We are not in any way going to accept that. At 10am this morning I received a call from a former Minister of Transport asking why I’m not cooperating with the CRFFN Chairman in resolving the crisis in the association. I had to give him a brief explanation of our efforts to end it so far. At the end of the day, he appealed that we should find a way around it. As soon as I dropped his call, the Director General of NIMASA called me on this matter and I assured him that we are ready to resolve this. It was on the basis of this that we went in for the meeting with CRFFN.
“The only way to solve this matter is to go to where it all started and that is the issue of the BoT. There were proposals for each party to bring 4 members, but after several deliberations we couldn’t agree on the last member to make the Governing Board attained the stipulated 9 members. The other group also proposed that their 9 members join our 5-man team to make the BoT 14; but that would make the board too bogus and it also has political implications with the other party having more members.”
“I made up my mind to end this crisis after the violent incident at Tin Can Island Port last year. It was a turning point for me and I have resolved to find an end to this tussle. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep for weeks if someone had died in that incident. This crisis isn’t worth the blood of any member of this great association,” he said.
Also speaking, Secretary of the ANLCA Board, Prince. Taiye Oyeniyi assured ANLCA members that an amicable solution will be reached to end the five-year leadership crisis of the association.
He lamented that the leadership crisis has significantly affected the association’s credibility and relevance at the seaports while it has also robbed members of benefits and objectives of ANLCA.
“We have reached a stage in this matter where we have to shift grounds. Our credibility in the ports and the aims and objectives of this great association has gone down the drain. The decisions may not be deemed favorable by some of our members, but we will surely find an amicable solution. In the end, there will be no victor and no vanquished,” Oyeniyi assured.