CRFFN: Beyond the election, what next?-Eugene Nweke


I wish to sincerely join your admirers and well-wishers to congratulate you for emerging winners at the just concluded CRFFN governing council election 2018, also, wishing you two years of fruitful deliberations and formulation of regulations for the upliftment of our noble profession.

However, as fallout from the declared electoral results, your victory from the poll will be incomplete without passing through the naked eyes of professional criticisms, vis-a-vis the number of votes cast during the election, for the following reasons:

  1. It is on record that, presently over 4000 names of freight forwarders were so far enlisted in the CRFFN register.
  2. 1, 098 freight forwarders were short listed as eligible voters, implying that over 2, 900 Freight Forwarders did not show interest in the CRFFN election 2018.
  3. 468 freight forwarders showed up for accreditation processes (voters and contestants), implying that out of the 1, 098 eligible voters, 630 freight forwarders stayed off the election.
  4. It then further implies that only 10.6% of the Nigerian freight forwarders participated in the election that will decide the future of their profession in the next two years.
  5. Excerpt of the electoral figures were manipulated, else the 468 accredited voters/contestants represented as follows:

a). NAGAFF voters/contestants = 407.

b). ANLCA voters/contestants = 29.

c). NAFFAC voters/ contestants = 28.

d). NCMDLC voters/ contestants = 3.

e). AREFFN voters/ contestants = 1.

  1. From findings, the other 4 accredited  associations were relying on the NAGAFF voters to give them the needed votes to mark up a substantial figure, but were disappointed when the Registrar of the Council declared that election morning, that, each voter is expected to cast a single vote for the candidate of his or her choice.
  2. The above development turned against the associations who deposited their eggs in the NAGAFF basket, hence, by individual contestant’s vote, everyone is a winner courtesy of sharing formula.
  3. It can be deduced from the election results that some of the elected leaders truly does not have followership per say.
  4. It can be deduced that ANLCA was never wholly interested nor prepared for this election. That ANLCA mobilized only 29 voters for this important election may suggest that, it is either that ANLCA were undecided in this particular election or a possible smoke screen.

Notwithstanding, this is the poorest outing by ANLCA in the recent time as far as electioneering process is concerned in the freight forwarding sub-sector of the maritime industry.

  1. Had the other 4 accredited associations mobilized with the same vigor with wish NAGAFF did, obviously, the electoral results, will have been a true demonstration of collective professional will. Even, deep down in the heart of some leaders of the other association, they at one time thought: “NAGAFF doesn’t know what to do with money”.
  2. However, this election critic is without prejudice, merely, it is for our professional records. The most important is that 15 elected freight forwarders have emerged to better our collective lots, by joining hands as captains of the industry with other 17 nonprofessional freight forwarders to navigate the M.V. CRFFN to anchor at the port of professionalism.
  3. Special Congratulation to Dr. Boniface O. Aniebonam and the NAGAFF leadership for time, energy and resources committed to the actualization of this processes so far.
  4. Again, to all the elected council members, accept my congratulations, please don’t hold this criticism against me, i am just being me. I believe it can be much better subsequently. It is also good for record purposes.

Having said so, this brings me to the second phase on my gospel of congratulations.

Ahead of Governing Council Chairman and Vice Chairman election:

It is instructive to reemphasis that, the CRFFN is a professional regulatory council in the likes of Council of Registered Engineers ( COREN), ICAN, NBA, and any other professional body you can think of. The only problem bedeviling the Council is some ambiguities in the enabling act, bordering on legislative nomenclature, terminologies and interpretations.

For all intent and purposes, the wisdom of the legislatures is for the freight forwarding profession to be regulated, developed, provides the needed platform for professional skill acquisitions and international exchange of professional expertise, etc.

At this juncture, let me take you through a memory lane, of what transpired in 2010 at the Nicon Luxury, venue for the Governing Council meeting, where an election to produce the second Governing Council Chairman and Vice was held.  I believe it may reposition your thinking/mindset ahead of the upcoming Chairman and Vice Chairman election.

Following the tenure expiration of the first Governing Council Chairman, three of us filled nomination form into the vacant post of Chairman and Vice Chairman.

An argument ensued amongst us the practitioners, which was that, being a practitioner, I am a Ministerial representative from the South East geopolitical zones, reminding me that my duty was to consider, raise motions, protect and defend the eastern zones interests as far as regulatory issues were concerned and not being an elected practitioner, as such I should step down. I did step down after much consultations and considerations for Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju as the Chairman and Dr. Samuel Onyemelukwe as the Vice Chairman.

Right there at the hall, about 40 minutes to the commencement of the election, 3 female representatives of the government (FMOT, NPA & FAAN) raised their hands and addressed the executive council in session. The summary of their remarks being that, they had contacted their constituency and gotten clearance to contest the election. Secondly, that, they had also spoken to some prominent freight forwarders and critical stakeholders in the Industry, who had their backing to contest the election.

On this note, they wanted to pick nomination form, which they went ahead to do. At first we thought they were joking, but when we realized that they were not making a mere statements, we have to oppose them and defend the sanctity of our profession and to do that, it must be by superiority of arguments and not by intimidation else, gender issues will take a wrong stage, sending the wrong signal.

The following were my submission (a similar submission was made in a fora , at a conference held at Protea Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, the previous year by the representative of COREN) made in parts:

  1. That any stakeholder, especially a prominent practicing practitioner  who said to you and encouraged you to stand in for the election is merely preaching pure and unadulterated socialism on the basis of misinformation, that a non-practicing professional can as well lead a professional body is nothing but a mere “social mobster” and not a passionate professional.
  2. That such a prominent practicing practitioners, that reasons this way, are unwitting puppets of the external forces that have been undermining the basis and emergence of sustainable professionalism these past years.
  3. It supposes that a corporate executive has both professional and social responsibility to his professional colleagues in his capacity as a practicing professional elected by the practitioners to lead them.
  4. If this is a true saying and not rhetoric, it then means that, such elected professional must act or lead in a manner that is not more in the interest of his supervisor than in the interest of his profession. For instance, he should not allow self to be used in pursuing and achieving regulations that will engendered professional taxation or compromising standard of professional services.
  5. It is pertinent to reinstate, that, a professional regulatory body was at no time intended, contemplated or conceptualized to serve as a revenue arm of the government – any permutations or maneuvers towards such attainments is a misnomer and purely political and economical devoid of professional content.
  6. Where and whenever administrative policies and official regulations, in proxy, thus promote expenditures that are self-seeking or self-enriching to the leadership alone, therein thrives distractions and abuses. This implies in the true sense, that, budgeting and spending more of government bills other than the practitioners bills eventually tantamount to misplacement of priorities.
  7. A Professional regulatory body must therefore seeks to resist a hard core unemployed representative in the place of available qualified professionals in other to beforehand, reduce professional poverty.
  8. Though the only thin line here is the general question of whose monies are we supposed to budget and spend here in the Council. Is it the government budgetary allocations (tax payers) or professionally earned fees?
  9. Here again, the two sides of a coins applications plays itself out. It supposes that, when we budget and spend on behalf of the profession /professional colleagues, it then means that, we are prudently spending the practitioners monies earlier received as practicing fees, royalties, levies, annual subscriptions, etc.
  10. However, if we are to budget and spend on behalf of the government, then, we are overspending for unwritten  multiple interest that will in turn raise  professional tax components on the basis of the higher you receive and spend, the higher you resorts to direct and indirect  taxation in order to recoup for a repayments, even  with an interest.
  11. Such interest may then, means higher exploitative revenue drives and generation which is attractive to the government. For this to be achieved professional standards of practices will be consciously or unconsciously compromised, thereby promoting a scenario which suggests “imposing taxes on one hand and deciding how the tax proceeds shall be spent, in the other hand”. This is unprofessionally befitting of a professional council.
  12. It will be a compromise of professional conscience to accept the flimsy excuses that, because the freight forwarders seems professionally divided and unfocused, on the basis of that, external forces should be allowed to administer its affairs. This will mean unprofessional of a profession, hence, it’s obvious that no matter how highly placed or influential a pontificating non-practicing professional leaders in the council appeals, it will still be the iron fist of the government bureaucrats”…

Distinguished elected members of the Governing Council, that was my take then, now that you have been duly elected, you are at liberty to compromise or defend the sanctity of our profession.

Before, I pen down, I wish to charge you, as a matter of priority, to vigorously pursue as your initial task towards regulations, to redesign and redefine the Corporate Credo (Values) of the CRFFN. What obtains presently lacks good corporate professional conduct and statements; as such it does not drive the process. For the avoidance of doubts, Google and take a cue from John D. Rockefeller Jnr Credo, it will guide you in this aspects.

Finally, for the umpteenth times, I want to say congratulations to all of you and as well wish you an impactful two year tenure of defending and promoting professional ethics and wellbeing of our profession in particular and the freight logistics chains in general.

Long live freight forwarding profession!!

Long live CRFFN!!!

Long live freight logistic chain!!!

Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Fwdr. Nweke Ifeanyichukwu Eugene RFF.

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