ANLCA’s Constitution should be reviewed to reflect the current realities on ground-Mustapha


Being a full text of the speech delivered by the Coordinator of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha on the Re- election of Prince Olayiwola Shittu at the Rock view Hotels, Festac Town, Lagos.

Mr. President, may I once again say a big congratulations to you and those who are elected today. I think today happens to be a different date in the history of ANLCA and I am going to take your time a little please.

As you can see, I am here today with only one Board member. ANLCA is going through what I can call some misunderstanding not crisis. But I am going to tell you one thing first. In my religion, the Prophet says that it is unfortunate for three categories of persons. One, an elderly man who commits atrocity, somebody at the age of eighty, ninety, he said, from where will he get the energy to do it when he is supposed to be busy about where should be after here.

Two, a poor man who is arrogant, he is supposed to be humble for him to get favour from some people but he is arrogant. From where is that arrogance coming from? Then three, a leader that is not sincere. Then which one am I going to use for us here? The last one.

We are all leaders in our various chapters, we are all leaders in our various families. Part of what is bringing this country down today is injustice, insincerity, not being able to face the fact.
Today, I am going to say this on a neutral ground, I mean, I am taking myself as a neutral person and I am going to mention two different opinion, then you can form your opinion over it.

The BOT, when we came in, in our first inaugural meeting, we agreed on one basis that we are going to hold ANLCA united and make progress within ANLCA. And I asked myself then, especially when one of us raised the issue that we shouldn’t go for the election of our Chairman within us so as no t to divide us and it was agreed.

I was nominated to be the coordinator, be the Coordinator not because I am the leader but I think within the nine of us, I am about the youngest amongst us and about the youngest in terms of ANLCA politics.

But then, the events unfolds over time and when we held our retreat, we agreed on two more important issues that on the NECOM election and the Constitution that we are using today in our ANLCA that there is the need for us to look into it.

On the election, we all agreed in principle that there is the need for us to postpone it, one, because our election was coming shortly after the NECOM was going to take place , there was no time for logistics, there was no time for publicity, so it was purely and I think sincerely based on that we agreed that there was the need to communicate to Mr. President and NECOM that we needed time for the NECOM election.

However, the President was there with us at the retreat and we robbed minds together and he suggested, okay there is the need for us to call NEC meeting, the enlarged house, infact the highest policy making organ in ANLCA to be able to decide. We agreed.

And when the NEC meeting was held and I think at that time, we were still coming purely on sincerity that we want progress for ANLCA. Then at the NEC meeting, it was unanimously, let me put it that way, agreed that the house wanted election.

After that NEC meeting, we went in for our own meeting but let me make a point here, at that NEC meeting, one of the things we saw and which we need to correct was that I could see some insult from the floor coming to some BOT members which we didn’t find easy, we had to absorb it.

For a thing like this, there are bound to be dissenting opinion and when somebody was expressing his opinion, specifically when Tayo Oyeniyi was expressing his opinion on the constitution and somebody from behind said, are you a lawyer?

What I am saying in essence is that we need to learn decorum in whatever we are doing , today, he is there as BOT member, tomorrow it could be another person. It is a transient position. This was somebody that over twenty years ago was a chapter Chairman and I think we need to ourselves that respect, we didn’t find it easy but we have to absorb it.

However, after that meeting, we held another meeting on our own, then the issue started unfolding that based on that stand, that that election supposed to be AGM. Now we have agreed the election should go on, then the issue came on whether the election should be collegiate or AGM.

And when it was agreed already at the NEC meeting that the election should be collegiate, we still went ahead to seek for more legal opinion and when then opinion came, it was said to be AGM. However, that was the opinion from lawyers not opinion from any law court.

Now we passed this message across to Mr. President, we have agreed the election will take place on the 14th but then, we want the election to be by AGM and for further reasons, when we were having a collegiate, we argued that most members of ANLCA were not on Biometrics, so it wasn’t easy for us to have enough data of all our members. Now we are on biometrics, let us enlarge the voters.

Then two, when we have the development fee of #50,000 each, everybody was called in to pay, why at this point do we want to disenfranchise some people from voting? I hope you could see from where BOT was coming from but the other side of the opinion which I am going to express as a neutral person.

If at the end of the day, we all agree and which I have told my BOT members, whatever I an saying here, I am saying it on behalf of myself and Dayo Azeez, that if the whole house even within your family and you as the head of the family, if you are going to take a decision, won’t you consult your wife and your children?

And if they all say no Daddy, we don’t want it, you are bound to it and that was my position and his own position. Of course, some people started campaigning within us, oh! Taiwo and Dayo, they are Shittu’s men and therefore, they are tending towards Shittu. And I say it to anybody who cares to listen, me and Olyiwola Shittu have been like brothers for over twenty years put together. He brought me into ANLCA politics. I never wanted it but then, that is not to supposed to mean that when there are issues and I have a dissenting opinion about it, I cannot express it to him.

I have told him one on one that as far as I am concerned, my position on the AGM issue is that I stand with the BOT but how we go about it and the strategy is what I disagreed with and why I disagreed was that the NEC has said it. That is the highest organ in terms of policy making.

So, irrespective of my own personal or BOT’s opinion, since the NEC has agreed and we all are under the NEC, I will go along with NEC. Then, besides that, even if we are right, let us put it back to the whole house in the interest of peace and unity, we are going to allow this election, we are going to support the election but subsequently, we are going back to review our our constitution and let the subsequent election be by AGM and the BOT said no. Now at that point, where we different opinion and even before it got to all those publications and I asked, are we fighting anybody here? If the election come up to be AGM, do we have anything to loose or gain? Even if the election come to be collegiate, do we have anything to loose or gain? Why are we using so much energy that we are supposed to have used in improving our industry in fighting ourselves?

So, having said this, I want to say a big thank you to everybody but then, Mr. President Sir, having congratulated you today and I want to put it to you that the first and major task you have at hand is to re-unite everybody under one umbrella.

We all know and we all agreed that ANLCA that we used to have is not what we are having today. Prince Olayiwola Shittu has tried as a President. If all cabinet members has tried in their own individual capacity but then they couldn’t have achieved it without the cooperation of everybody and that is why we are saying, please, that whatever we take away from here, do not look at some BOT members as your enemies and do not look at anybody as having a different opinion that at the end of the day, there should be disunity within us.

What matters at the end of the day is for us to be able to re-unite ourselves. I thank everybody. God bless you. Great ANLCA!!!


Leave A Reply