…Says he cannot support one group against another
Following the recent position taken by the leadership of the Western Zone of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the National President of the association, Chief Tony Iju Nwabunike has called on the members of the association to eschew bickering and embrace peace for the collective good of the association.
It will be recalled that the leadership of the Western Zone of ANLCA had in a communiqué issued few days ago by its Zonal Coordinator, Sir John Ofobike, the Zonal Secretary, Alhaji Bayo Oyekangun and eight others resolved not to recognize Chief Tony Iju Nwabunike as the National President of the association following his refusal to recognize Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as the Chairman of the ANLCA Board of Trustees Chairman.
The Zone further resolved to henceforth recognize Mr. Emenike Nwokeoji who lost the election to Chief Nwabunike in the last NECOM election by three votes as the National President pending the outcome of the case filed against him (Nwabunike) challenging his “purported” victory in the last NECOM election and further direct members of the association in the Western Zone not to attend any meeting summoned by Nwabunike led NECOM.
However, speaking in a telephone interview with Primetime Reporters yesterday, the National President said that as a father to all ANLCA members, he cannot support one group against another adding that “I don’t have to be a sectional President, I was voted by all of them and so I must respect every view of every strata and every point”.
He said, “I strongly believe that Mustapha and Henry Njoku who I consider one of the best friends in the Board and they are all my friends too, we should sit down, slug it out and bring out, I mean with the other executives and bring out who is the Chairman. It is a simple Mathematics. If they want me to come to anywhere they want to do that, I will be there as an observer and watch them. Remember that I won the highest number of votes in that Board, I was supposed to be the Chairman of that Board because of my highest number of votes but when I saw this problem coming, I nominated Mustapha then as the Coordinator which lasted for almost one year.
“So, Mustapha is my personal friend in that Board, we relate very closely just like Henry Njoku. So, what I am saying is that the two of them and other six Board members should sit down, elect a Chairman, I don’ know why it is too difficult for them to have an election even if the first election had been and Mustapha is saying that he has the highest number of votes, let them do it in my presence or in the presence of NECOM or even me as an observer, then I endorse them, whoever wins becomes automatically the Chairman of my Board”.
On the allegation that he witnessed the election of the Board that took place at the Golden Tulip Hotels in Lagos on the 13th of April, 2018, Nwabunike stated,” God forbid, it is not true, that was the night of my inauguration, I wasn’t even in that meeting. If I had been in that meeting, I will endorse it. I wasn’t in that meeting at all; whoever is saying it is lying, tell him to say it in my presence”.
Asked how he intends to manage the crisis since Mustapha faction was insisting that there was not going to be any other election of the Board as the election of 13th April, 2018 stands, he replied,” It is very simple. Let me say this, for example, probably since the 14th of April till date, nobody has been working as the Chairman of the Board, I will still beg them to come together and do this thing because they are elders, even if they have had election previously because I believe that whoever had the majority then will still have the majority now. Let them do this thing and allow peace to reign because for me, I strongly believe in peace and I know that peace will come. ANLCA shouldn’t be seen every day having problems all the time, most importantly whenever a non-Western candidate comes on board and we begin to have this problem. It doesn’t make sense, it looks like we begin to sectionalize the association which I think is not supposed to be”.
While acknowledging that he was aware of the gentleman agreement with the association that when a section of the association produces the National President, another section would produce the Chairman of the BoT which he said was for administrative harmony, he however recalled that Prince Olayiwola Shittu, a Yoruba man was the National President when he (Nwabunike) nominated Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as the Coordinator of Board, a position he held for close to one year and nobody raised an eyebrow.
“What I am saying in essence is that it is high time we need to talk about these things and get these things out of our problems”, he said.
The ANLCA boss however denied any knowledge of the communiqué issued by the Western Zone saying that he was unaware of it as he was busy campaigning for a House of Representatives seat in his constituency in faraway Anambra State.
He therefore advise concerned members of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the association to put their differences behind them and attend the NEC meeting scheduled to hold at Abuja on Monday so as for them to solve the problems together and take decisions where necessary as according to him, NEC is the highest decision making organ of the association.
According to him,” So, we take a decision collectively and according to our constitution, our NEC should be two times a year, the first one was the one that ushered me in, the second one is this one now which is coming up on Monday. So, they should come there and let us take a decision, there is nothing to worry about. Together we do things better and I believe the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents has come of age to take a good decision in the NEC meeting.
“So, I am pleading with all of them to come for the NEC meeting and we solve this problem once and for all. We have other problems like I always say, we have other operational problems which we can equally sit down and resolve, we have some grey areas of election in the Western Zone, we will solve the whole problem, there is no problem that is insurmountable, there is no problem that we cannot solve. So, I hope they should understand that. So, I am of the opinion that every one of us should come for this meeting and we will get ourselves put together and move forward”.
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