ANLCA Western Zone Elections scheduled for Dec 10, 2018 Under Threat


By Adumaza Joe Sanni

This fact must be stated very clearly and emphatically that the deliberate inability of the victorious team at the March 8th, 2018 ANLCA NECOM elections in Enugu, to manage the unexpected victory at that Poll properly, has snowballed into the present state of anomie pervading the entire membership, structure and well-being of ANLCA.

Despite the show of sportsmanship and the “no victor, no vanquished” acceptance speech made by the then National President- elect – Iju Tony Nwabunike, after an almost two-minute infectious bear hug, with echoing pats-on-the-back and reassuring words of “take heart Emenike Kingsley Nwokeoji, It’s just an election. We will work together”, that immediately took flight after the handing over of the certificate of Return to all winners, and every elector dispersing to their hotel rooms, little did anyone know that the stage is being set for a disunited ANLCA.

While some went celebrating wildly without restrain, others took their fate in its strides and quietly reminiscence on the entire process, wondering what could have gone amiss.

The embers of distrust, disunity and enmity, was stoked by the so-called handlers of the main victor, particularly certain individuals, who now pose as the alter-ego of the Principal. These particular persons were surely and unapologetically on a revenge mission on those they only know.

This truth is known to most of those who served in the immediate past dispensation. They were unprepared to forgive. They saw the opportunity of their Principal winning, as an opportunity to get back at their perceived tormentors. What they never factored into this their game plan, is the adverse effect their intrigues was going to have on the well-being of the generality of the Association.

Before we go into the immediate causes of the current flux situation in ANLCA, let us take a peep into the February 13th, 2014 Board of Trustees (BOT) elections that took place in Warri-Delta State. Several constitutional issues of its necessity were thrown up. But then, the then National President – Prince Olayiwola Shittu stood firm with the constitutional provisions.

The constitution of ANLCA provides for an unlimited renewable tenure of 6 years for the BOT (Section 13, Subsection (5). NECOM and Zonal officers have 4 years’ tenure renewable once, and Chairmen of Chapters- 3 years’ tenure, renewable just once more too.

At the Warri elections, 4 of the 13 BOT contestants sought a return to the Board, including then sitting Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer.

After the elections, the then sitting BOT Chairman was visibly disappointed at the outcome, because a new entrant to the then politics of ANLCA- Iju Tony Nwabunike came first, with the then Chairman BOT coming third with a difference of 32 votes.

It was then very easy for the then reconstituted BOT to have their administrative structure (not provided for in the ANLCA constitution) from the result of the elections. Some embittered persons felt very, very uncomfortable being led by the then “perceived novice” as the Chairman of the BOT.

An extract from the report of that election, as prepared then by this member is herewith produced:

“At the end of the votes counting exercise, the following nine, with the highest numbers of votes, in a descending order, were declared elected by the Chairman of ASECO, Alhaji Abdulazeez: Chief Tony Iju Nwabunike, CEO of Mac-Tonnel Nig. Ltd scored 298 votes, followed by Chief Ernest Elochukwu, immediate Past National President and MD/CEO of Nestello Global Ltd, who scored 280 votes; Chief Henry Njoku, immediate past Chairman of BOT and MD/CEO of Harritex Services ltd- 266 votes; Prince Taye Oyeniyi, immediate past Secretary of BOT and MD/CEO of Mac-Mary ltd- 241 votes, and Chief Peter Obih, member of immediate past BOT, MD/CEO of Seamap Nig. Ltd., returned to the Board with 237 votes. Tying as the 6th and 7th member of BOT were former Vice President of ANLCA, MD/CEO of Mambilla Shipping AG.Ltd. and proprietor of Mambilla Hotels Ltd, Ikorodu- Mr. Dayo David Azeez and the immediate vice Chairman of BOT and MD/CEO of Shiram Cargo Services ltd-Aare Sanni Shittu, both scored 233 votes for a berthing space in the 9-member Board of Trustee. Chief Dennis Okafor-Chairman/CEO of Denca Services ltd. Polled 203 votes, while Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, MD/CEO of Pyramid Quicka bonded terminal, Port Harcourt had 198 votes to book a space in the 6 years tenured Board of Trustee of ANLCA.

Other results were: Alhaji Okunola Mikky Olalere, MD/CEO of Beenthing Investment Nig. Ltd.-191 votes, Chief Emmanuel Obi Azodo- MD/CEO of EMGIC ventures ltd.-146 votes, Sir Enoch Iwueze-MD/CEO of Air Sea Freighters ltd-113 votes and Alhaji Isa Aliyu- MD/ CEO of I&A Maritime services Ltd. Polled 103 votes.

After the declaration of the results, and those duly elected into the new Board of Trustee, the entire Wellington Hotel, Warri venue of the election, went into a wild jubilation, with some singing praises unto the Lord, as some others rejoiced at the open and private bars within the vicinity.”

The politician in a few of them then activated a scheme to negotiate the position of chairman, with the one with the highest number of votes. This was very knotty, as personal interests took centre stage, even extending beyond ANLCA, into terrains like the CRFFN and national Politics. The larger family of ANLCA never knew, or imagined that Warri BOT election was going to be the cause of the disunity in ANLCA today.

Two BOT members sat down together and between themselves, plotted selfishly to use ANLCA as a platform/launchpad, to actualize their individual ambitions and aspirations. Also, agreements were extracted, concretized with vows to stick with the plan.

As part of the plan, the then headship of BOT was ceded to Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as coordinator, while the plan is being perfected. He acted in that capacity for 8 months, after which Chief Henry Njoku, with the total support of the winner of the BOT elections, became the chairman. For emphasis, no part of ANLCA constitution mentioned positions in the BOT. They were elected as equals. It is for administrative convenience that they decided to create those positions, more so that the constitution provides for 10% of revenue accruing to ANLCA, to be disbursed for their activities. Therefore, a bank account is necessary, as a receptor of such monies.

Once Chief Henry Njoku became chairman of the BOT, with a firm understanding that he will only act in that capacity for 2 years and elections held amongst the 9 BOT members to elect another chairman of the BOT thereafter, Chief Njoku then nominated Iju Tony Nwabunike to supervise ASECO (which is the cash-cow of ANLCA, because of nomination fees paid, during elections), knowing fully well, perhaps as agreed that the position avails Iju Tony Nwabunike the comfortable opportunity to mingle with the future voters in any election that may involve Iju Tony Nwabunike. That was a masterly packaged political game plan, put in place for the ultimate emergence of Iju Tony Nwabunike as the National President of ANLCA.

Fast forward this set up to the Eastern Zone Chapters’ elections, early 2018, which witnessed an arrangement to get as many persons (qualified or not) as possible to fill the vacant positions in all the Chapters in the Eastern Zone to beef up the number of potential voters in future. This was a structure organized to ensure a block vote for Iju Tony Nwabunike.

It was then openly declared that with Eastern Zone votes secured for Iju Tony Nwabunike, the battle ground remained the Western Zone Chapters, which was being marshaled to support the then candidacy of Kingsley Emenike Nwokeoji- who was then National Vice President.

The final result that came out of the Enugu elections was 3 votes difference, which would have told the victorious group to manage the victory very well, especially embarking immediately after the elections, on a fence-mending, reassurance visits to all that lost, particularly the block support groups. As said earlier, this was not to be, as those who seek a pound of flesh, rightly or wrongly, drummed it home that it is winner-takes-all. Very unfortunate.

Now, enter the immediate cause of the present crisis in ANLCA.

On the day of the formal inauguration of the present NECOM (14th April 2018) in Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac Town, Lagos, the atmosphere in the hall and outside of it, smelt of a brewing discontent.

What was then amiss? An election took place in the Board of Trustees (BOT) on the 13th April, 2018 (day before the inauguration) to elect new members as chairman, Vice chairman and Secretary, to replace the then current holders.

Aha! No wonder the long faces kept, under subdued anger, which pervaded the entire hall that day. The then new National President- Iju Tony Nwabunike was one of the BOT members as at the time of election of 8th March, 2018- in Enugu. He pleaded with his former colleagues in BOT not to use the outcome of the Board elections to scuttle or disorganize his inauguration.

With this plea, it was agreed by the majority 5, against 3 in the now 8-membered BOT, to suspend further action on the change of guards, till after the inauguration. This was not to be, as Chief Henry Njoku, with the active support of Chief Peter Obih refused to relinquish the position of Chairmanship of BOT to the then winner, in the person of Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha.

With this unforeseen crisis rocking the BOT, the newly elected NECOM found it extremely difficult presiding over a divided house, taking cognizance of the very important role expected of the BOT, especially during elections into NECOM and the Chapters. NECOM presided over the last BOT elections, held for the first time, to elect members into the Board, in Warri.

The National President has made several attempts at resolving the imbroglio. But, his efforts are not good enough. It is the general belief that untying those avowed arrangements may be an uphill task for Iju Tony Nwabunike, especially appealing to Chief Henry Njoku to honorably relinquish the position of Chairman of BOT, while he remains a member of BOT till February 2020, when the BOT tenure expires.

Chief Henry Njoku has been heard publicly professing that in the event of the election of Iju Tony Nwabunike into the Federal House of Representatives in the coming National Elections, the coast would then be clear for a Yoruba man to assume leadership of NECOM, while he, as an Ibo man retains his position as BOT chairman.

Until the election of the National President of ANLCA into the Federal Parliament, Chief Henry Njoku should respect his colleagues’ wishes to have another one of their own, as Chairman of BOT.

This is what the generality of ANLCA members want, and deserve. An unwritten, gentleman’s agreement has been observed over the years to cede the National Presidency to the Igbos, as the Yorubas have had two terms of 8years. This arrangement has, ab initio schemed out other ethnic groupings, whose membership of ANLCA cannot be ignored with time.

Iju Tony Nwabunike must seize this unique opportunity to act as the father of all, as he is duly elected by all members from Eastern, Northern and Western Zones.

This situation must not be allowed to fester beyond 2018, as an amicable resolution is achievable within days.

With nostalgic feelings, I recall the campaign theme of the immediate past administration, which says “Together Everyone Achieves More” (TEAM). We must work as a team to realize our individual and collective aspirations in ANLCA. We do not deserve this “war” of attrition, which has regrettably brought down the erstwhile world acclaimed profile of ANLCA.

Let us add our voices to the call for our National President to take the bull by the horns, and do the needful when the chances of reconciliations are still wide open.

Furthermore, the current crisis situation has cast doubts on the possibility of holding the already scheduled Western Zone Chapters of ANLCA elections, which was earlier scheduled to hold on the 10th of December 2018.

That date appears unsustainable, as arrangements are afoot to convene an emergency NEC meeting in Abuja. Authoritative sources have hinted that part of the scheme entails the possible reconstitution of ASECO to ensure it does the biddings of particular individuals, in and outside of ANLCA.

For this elected official of the association, I see and annihilation of ANLCA in progress, which started, if you will, since 2014, and has achieved the CRFFN part of the game plan already.

This is what a greater majority of a block that dominates ANLCA thinks, with the other block splintered into other sister organizations. The block that are majorly in ANLCA, sees the destructive tendencies of the elements in the other block now manifesting in their different forms in ANLCA. This must not be allowed to take root.

Now, if elections are not held in the Western Zone, the situation will create room for appointments by those who hold sway in NECOM today, who are mostly appointee, with a sprinkling of elected officials. This is the ultimate aim of the block that seems to be on a mission to decapitate ANLCA, for other rival organizations to survive.

This, the genuine leaders and elders of ANLCA- in the East, North or West, are unprepared to witness. They are resolute in retrieving ANLCA from the precipice of perdition.

Between the BOT factions supervising the processes towards the elections, let us have a concrete date for the Western Zone elections through ASECO, publish the tentative list of voters for verifications, publish list of contestants for the benefit of the generality of members of ANLCA and proceed to verifying the documents submitted by voters and contestants, then publish the final contestants and voters list. Simple! There should be no hanky panky about these straight forward processes.

A situation where some contestants frequent the offices of certain officials at the National Secretariat to curry favors for the election, will leave such contestants more devastated than expected. It should be noted that ASECO has never received any list of voters from any source, apart from the Chapters Secretariat involved. Let no one be under the illusion that separate lists can be generated outside the set guidelines of ASECO and the Supreme Constitution of ANLCA.

Contestants should not forget that Chairmen of Chapters have the prerogative to sign the forms of contestants. They should be weary and worried of being unnecessarily confrontational to constituted authority.

It should also be remembered that NEC at one of its meeting in Port Harcourt, decided that any member desirous of voting or contesting in a chapter, must have been a member of such Chapter twelve months before the activity of an election. There are current corporate licensing requirements for each of the offices. This particular one is non-negotiable. These, and many more, including the ASECO guidelines, are the basic requirements expected to be filed by contestants, to contest any vacant position in the Chapters.

ANLCA hierarchy has paid scheduled visits between May and June 2018, just before the then simmering crisis got fully entrenched, to the Nigeria Customs Management in Abuja after several entreaties/overtures to ANLCA leadership by senior officers of Customs to pay them a visit.

Also, same visit was made to the management of Nigerian Ports Authority, and the Ports Authority Police Command.

Written and unwritten addresses and demands were made on these occasions to our hosts.

Some of the issues raised in the addresses, especially to Customs are:

Multiple Alerts on cargo- ANLCA requested the adoption of the TinCan command’s initiative of one-stop-shop Alerts Resolution Centre (ii) Usurpation of Post Clearance Audit (PCA) activities by some units of Customs, (iii) Customs support for unauthorized Agencies in the Ports (iv) Multiple Customs Units operating in the airport sheds and seaport terminals (v) Re-engineering of PAAR for integrity, (vi) Reexamination of Cargoes at the Exit Gates and interferences by FOU of Exited cargoes. (vii) Reactivation of Dormant Customs Commands, (viii) Valuation of Vehicles without considering depreciation, (ix) Refusal of of Customs to transfer overtime Cargo, etc.

ANLCA also appealed for the sponsorship of members for local and international capacity building & training, assistance to facilitate proposed institute of Customs Brokers Bill through the National Assembly, and granting of Customs licenses to needy members that are qualified.

All of these have remained unresolved despite the emphatic and double assurances by the CGC- Col Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) to ensure that solutions are found to the operational challenges.

In fact, the courtesy call, which was there and then converted to a formal interactive meeting, saw the CGC charging his Management team’s members, to study the copies of the address handed to them, and come up with solutions. Unfortunately, ANLCA-NECOM has been unable to unitedly and collectively follow up on the above stated issues, to the detriment of our expectant membership. Those operational challenges still remained unresolved, almost 6 months after the visit.

Same goes for NPA,  ANLCA NECOM, then led by the Acting National President- Dr. Kayode Collins Farinto, sympathized with the NPA MD’s position on the expectations of the Ease of doing business in the Ports, to which ANLCA offered a collaborative helping hand in partnering with NPA to ensure that government approved agencies in Ports are retained, while those unapproved are eased out, and on the issue of the holding bays compliance by shipping companies.

ANLCA was supposed to sensitize its members towards achieving compliance. But then, the idea was thwarted by internal distrust and wrangling.

On a visit to the Ports Authority Police (PAP) command in Apapa Port Complex, assurances were established that there should be a synergy between PAP command and Maritime Police command in such a way that cargoes examined by the Police in the Ports and certified free of any security breaches, should not be contravened by any arm of the Police force, outside the Port area.

We were almost signposting this, as a relief for our members, only for some of us to hear that some of us were hand-in-gloves with the perpetrators of this unnecessary design of contravening already duly released cargoes by Customs, after relevant approvals by Security Agencies in the Ports, especially in this case, the Ports Authority Police Command’s operatives.

Many more of such operational issues cannot be successfully tackled by NECOM because of the non-cohesiveness of the team. It is sad, that almost 8 months after inauguration and 9 months after the Enugu elections, NECOM is yet to act as a team, still seeing others as enemies and others as fringe friends, constantly suspected as later day enemies of the Principal.

Truth is that those that have the ears of the National President (NP) and are willing to do his biddings willy nilly, are those that are ensuring that this crisis never abate. Unknown to them, the more they misadvise the National President, the more enemies are created for him. The NP must unshackle himself out of this unfavorable “trance” and, as said earlier, take the bull by the horns, no matter whose ox is gored.

He should note, just like the genesis of where ANLCA is today was narrated herein, posterity will never forgive him, with the preponderance of facts abound, if he decides to take a wrong step.

One other thing: the only reason for the struggle to hold onto offices in ANLCA BOT, is no more than pecuniary, as the BOT is charged constitutionally with the responsibility of supervising/monitoring the processes of elections into the Chapters Executives and NECOM (Section 25, (2)(c)). It is during this period that ANLCA generates so much money that comes in from the purchase of nomination forms by contestants.

Millions of Naira are realized in the course of obtaining nomination forms, which are paid into the BOT’s account, which BOT manages and only disburses to ASECO according to their needs.

After discounting the election expenses nobody ever asks the BOT that warehouses all the tens of millions of Naira, about the balance. That is the way it has been for over a decade now. This is the belief of this involved member, because there has never been a Report + financials of all elections till date, which is the main reason for the persisting crisis in the Board of Trustees of ANLCA that is threatening the very foundation of ANLCA, to the undeserved admiration of those in other sister organizations, and those that have been arranged into the Governing Board of CRFFN, whose Act 16 of 2007 states its functions as Regulatory and Standardizing the practice of freight forwarding, as distinct from Customs Brokerage, which is technically practiced within a Customs environment, under specifically issued Customs Corporate license, renewable with as much as N215,000 every year, and it is passworded, and subject to effective control by Nigeria Customs Service through the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS II).

To operate within the Customs Environment a specific training (either on the job or in a classroom) is required to understand the delivery of goods procedures, classifications, valuation processes, Extant FGN fiscal policies, etc.

Freight forwarding, like supply chain Management is a long process that commences from the port of origin through international Boundaries, Customs environment, to the destination of the goods.

Within that chain, lies the specialized professional Customs brokerage practice, which takes cognizance of a variety of technical and compliance issues, before such goods are eventually released by Customs, into the country of destination.

Thereafter, the transporting freight forwarder ensures it gets to its final destination, after also ensuring it gets to the Port of origin of the goods.

Adumaza Joe Sanni

National Publicity Secretary of ANLCA

Former SSA media to Prince Olayiwola Shittu

Former Treasurer of Apapa Chapter

Former member of Alhaji Inua Mohammed ASECO

Former Executive Assistant to Past Chairman of Apapa Chapter – Sir John DanKatsina Ofobike.

December 2, 2018 @ 2000 hours.

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  1. Ichie Frank Obiekezie on

    It is like ANLCA has over grown it’s relevance in this sector.The type of politics currently playing out there is similar to what obtains in political parties in Nigeria,so unfortunate.A professional Organization as such should be much more concerned with the welfare and professional development of it’s members,in addition to creating and maintaining conducive environment for the practice of their professor.With this destructive struggle for power positions, where then is the time devoted to their core assignment.No wonder many practitioners today lament the absence of critical interventios by Associations in Port operations, hence leaving them to the mercy of multiple customs units, Government agencies, alerts,etc.We pray God will in interven in this crisis….Ichie Frank Obiekezie (CoS) to AREFFN President.

  2. Adebayo Sanusi on

    Let me start me by reminding us that ever since before the expiration of the immediate past president olayiwola Shittu, some of us that that understand the terrain had warned that the shoe might be too big for anybody to wear, today the reality is done on us all. Honestly, the present president hon. Tony Iju had performed below expectation and been misled by sycophants, he should wake up from his slumper and do the needful by bringing all members together irrespective of their political allegiance, he’s a father for all. Let us sound a warning to those that think that analca is their personal property to have a rethink because the association is bigger than any individual, collectively is the only way out. The time to mend fences is now before it gets out of hand. We the future generations are watching closely as events unfold itself. ANLCA IS GREAT, IT’S MY RESOLUTION TO MAKE IT GREATER BUT ONLY IF WE CAN COLLECTIVELY WORK TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT THE GREATEST.

  3. Adebayo Sanusi on

    Let me start me by reminding us that ever since before the expiration of the immediate past president olayiwola Shittu, some of us that that understand the terrain had warned that the shoe might be too big for anybody to wear, today the reality is done on us all. Honestly, the present president hon. Tony Iju had performed below expectation and been misled by sycophants, he should wake up from his slumper and do the needful by bringing all members together irrespective of their political allegiance, he’s a father for all. Let us sound a warning to those that think that analca is their personal property to have a rethink because the association is bigger than any individual, collectively is the only way out. The time to mend fences is now before it gets out of hand. We the future generations are watching closely as events unfold itself. ANLCA IS GREAT, IT’S MY RESOLUTION TO MAKE IT GREATER BUT ONLY IF WE CAN COLLECTIVELY WORK TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT THE GREATEST.

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