AREFFN BoT insists Ukor’s tenure has expired, confirms Daura Interim National President

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…Threatens to arrest Ukor for impersonation

Contrary to the claims by the former National President of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders Nigeria (AREFFN), Dr. Frank Ukor that members of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the association had extended his tenure by six month, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, AREFFN, Mr. Ejike Metu and the Secretary of the Board, Mr. Innocent Elum has said that his tenure as the National President of the association ended on the 11th of August, 2017.

The duo of Metu and Elum who made this known in a chat with newsmen in Lagos Wednesday, said that following the expiration of his five year tenure, members of the Board comprising the trio of Ukor, Metu and Elum who were the only registered trustees of the association met and unanimously appointed Alhaji Bala Lawan Daura, the Chairman of Onne chapter of the association as interim National President of the association for a period of one year with effect from October 21, 2017.

Elum and Metu wondered why Dr. Ukor, who was part of the decision to appoint Daura as an interim National President and who personally, conveyed the message of the appointment to him would now turn around to claim that the association’s NEC extended his (Frank) tenure.

According to Elum,”AREFFN is a public institution and should be seen as such, the fact that the three of us; Frank, Ejike and I participated or promoted its formation does not make us think that it’s our property even though we are members of the Board of Trustees, if they are seeing the association, they are seeing us.

“On the 11th of August, 2017, we had a Board meeting, three of us are the Board members as at today, it is subject to expansion but we have not expanded, so any other Board member you hear is just a window dresser. So, we had a Board meeting, of course, I was the Vice President so that when we are talking about tenure, we are talking about our tenure. He said, gentlemen, you know that our tenure expired today and we didn’t remember. So, when he said that, we marveled that five is gone already. And we said, having reminded us that our tenure has expired and nature abhors vacuum, where do we go from here? Naturally, the management of the affairs of the association returns to the Board and thank God the Board is meeting, where do we go from here? Did you groom anybody to take over from you so that we could have our election in earnest? In that meeting, he said he had met all the people he felt could take over from him and there’s nobody who agreed to do so. We asked him again, did you groom anybody because for me, we have personal respect for him and it took time.

“We started that meeting after eleven and we ended around four, we agreed as a Board to appoint an interim President to manage the association for a period of time pending when we have credible election into the national executive of AREFF. So, when agreed, we now asked him, who do we put since you did not groom anybody? He said he would have suggested Bala but Bala will be good as a Zonal Coordinator and I remember saying, well, he is your boy, I don’t know him, you know him, if he can be good as a Zonal Coordinator, and we don’t have somebody as it is now, then he can equally be good as President, let us not limit his scope. By the way, he is a northern element.

“And he said okay, that he agreed, let us try him but that it must be on an interim basis and he said three months and we agreed. We told him to call Bala and tell him that we are considering him for appointment as President, forget about how many months, we will sort it out. He put a call across to Bala, Bala refused to pick his call because already, they were quarrelling and there was already a court case, they had instituted a case against the Board. I now picked my phone and called Bala and told Bala to take his call that we are together here and there’s something we are talking and then Bala picked the call and said he will think over it and get back to Frank Ukor.

“So, in the night, Bala spoke with him but Bala insisted that he was not going to do for three months, in fact, he was not happy with appointment, he wanted an election. He said three months was not good enough for him to achieve anything and that that will spoil his record. So, it became an issue but that was resolved very shortly because, we now sat down and we looked at it and said, Bala, okay come, do it for one year, at least within one year, you would have been able to do one or two things. And Bala reluctantly, in fact, we were actually begging him, that’s the truth, accepted and Frank gave his nod.

“Only for us to have another meeting of what he chooses to refer to as “expanded Board”, because there are people who he co-opted and Frank denied participating, of course, he agreed he attended the Board meeting but denied knowing anything about Bala and his appointment and I saw goose pimple all over me. Unfortunately, for him that day, he said, Bala is the one who does the jobs in the eastern zone and that even other people bring their jobs to him. Lexy Nwangwu now said since you said the man knows the customs, I withdraw whatever I said against him, that is the guy we are looking for and everybody agreed. So, the consensus was on Bala.

“So, after the meeting of 11th August, 2017 when our tenure expired, he now began to have issues with Bala like I said, that he was not part of the decision to bring Bala in and we are saying no, we had already appointed Bala and we are not going back on that. Thank God we have gone to the “expanded Board” meeting that you called and even those that are not really members of the Board rooted for Bala’s appointment. So, in the course of the quarrels and exchange of words, he said he convened a NEC meeting, that the NEC had extended his tenure by six months. And now we asked a question, in what capacity did you convey the NEC meeting because that is for the President to convene and your tenure terminated on the 11th of August, 2017. So, in what capacity did you convene a NEC meeting on November 7th that purportedly extended your tenure by six months when we inaugurated Bala on October 21st? That is the question he has not answered up till today. Bala himself was inaugurated on the 21st October, 2017 at Rockview Hotels, Festac, Lagos and that was the day we had our Annual General Meeting (AGM)”.

“But we are trying to tell the general public and that is the essence of this, that Frank Ukor is thinking that the association or AREFF is his personal property, and that he can depend on it for retirement for sustenance, we are telling the public to please caution him. We are also saying that the letter that he wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, he signed that letter as President of AREFF knowing full well that his tenure has terminated and by reason of that fact, he has committed impersonation and we didn’t arrest him because we wanted to respect him. We are saying that if he does that again, signs any document again portraying himself as President of AREEF, we are going to make sure we arrest him for possible prosecution. The President of AREFF as we speak is Alhaji Bala Lawan Daura. If we find Ukor again holding himself out as National President of AREFF, we will get him arrested”.

On his part, the Chairman BoT, AREFFN, Mr. Ejike Metu informed that the Board also held its election on the 11th of August, 2017 where he was appointed as the Chairman of the Board and Mr. Elum retained his position as the Secretary of the Board adding that he was also appointed as the National Publicity Secretary of the association in the interim executive.

Photo: Chairman BoT, AREFFN, Mr. Ejike Metu.

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