Immediate past Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Tin Can Island Port Chapter, Segun Oduntan, has said that the alleged ongoing plots to return all the elected freight forwarders who served in the immediate past governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) back into the council would be resisted by practitioners.
Speaking in an interview with Maritime Today Online in Lagos on Wednesday, Oduntan, alleged that there are plans by some leaders of the freight forwarding associations to impose the past elected freight forwarders whom he described as people of questionable characters on practitioners to return them back into the governing council.
Oduntan said freight forwarders have lost confidence in the CRFFN governing council as it had made no impact on the practice of freight forwarding in the country hence the clamour for a new set of practitioners to be elected into the governing board.
“We are aware of the intentions and arrangement of the leaders of the associations including NAGAFF and ANLCA with the letter they wrote to the minister asking him that this particular set of people should be allowed to go back but we are going to resist it. Are they the best set of practitioners that we have? Majority of these people in the forefront are people of questionable character.
“If they like, let them seek the backing of the minister, we will go report the minister even to the President. The Minister has enough in his hand than to meddle into this. Why is the Minister so much in a hurry to return the government appointed members back into the council? It is part of the plan and those ones too will tell the minister- these are the people we can work with.
“Even if they struggle and still find their way through the back door, what they could not achieve in two years, they will not achieve in another four years.
“These people went into office and for two years, we did not see any impact and the only thing they are talking about is Practitioners Operating Fee. They should tell us what they have done. That is why the practitioners don’t have confidence in them.
“We want the election to be open to all, free and fair. Not even on association basis,” he said.
On whether the minister has the constitutional power to set up the electoral committee for the freight forwarders election, Oduntan said, “What the CRFFN Act of 2007 said does not include him organising our election. He can ask people to supervise the election but not to be active in the election or setting up of an electoral committee. Is the Minister of Health the one setting up the NMA election committee? Is the minister of justice the one setting up the election committee of NBA? So why the much interest in the CRFFN election?”
Meanwhile, Oduntan has kicked against the purported constitution amendment of ANLCA and tenure elongation for its National President, Tony Iju Nwabunike, saying that the move to extend the tenure of the President will be strongly resisted.
“Who is the National Executive Committee that amended the constitution? You know you have a crisis at hand and when you are supposed to look for a solution to final peace you are talking about extension. Extension of what? This is not the first time they are making moves to amend the constitution. Let us wait for their term to end in February and see what would happen. Don’t forget that the NECOM is on suspension by a federal court.
“It is unfortunate for the Igbo race that their term of first four years of presidency in ANLCA is being abused without achieving anything. Tony knows he is not the one in control of ANLCA. He has allowed the steering of the association to be hijacked from his hand and he is still sitting there. There is no improvement in the system. Go to every Chapter of the association, everything has been bastardised just because of ego,” he added.