… Says it’s unconstitutional
… Opts for open contest
As the five accredited freight forwarding associations intensify push for sharing formula system to be adopted in the forthcoming election of freight forwarders into the Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), the African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has opposed the system describing it as unconstitutional and not clearly stated in the Act establishing the CRFFN.
Speaking in a press briefing yesterday in Lagos, the President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite APFFLON had succeeded in convincing the Ministry (of Transportation) to insist on open contest for the election of the freight forwarders into the governing council.
Ogunojemite explained that with open contest, where associations did not have to determine who would be voted and who would not be voted for, godfatherism which had crept into the freight forwarding profession through the associations would be eliminated.
According to him, “The purpose of this is to eliminate godfatherism in the associations. We need to know who is going to the Council and who to vote so that it will enable all eligible candidates to contest because using the associations will disenfranchise individuals as not everyone of us belong to associations, more so as some associations have not been accredited by the CRFFN. So, in that case, we were able to speak to the Minister and his people and eventually, our cry was heard on this issue.”
He continued, “Information reaching us indicates that some people, because they are losing the grip of the industry to people they think are not competent to lead us, are advocating for 6:6:1:1:1 sharing formula again. So, we are using this medium to appeal to the government not to listen to them, we should go on open contest so as to produce people who are capable of steering the ship on the CRFFN and by extension the freight forwarding industry.
“We are using this medium to appeal to the government that the 6:6:1:1:1 should not be allowed in this coming election. The election of individuals who are registered with the CRFFN should be the norm on October 9, 2021 election. The associations’ sharing formula is unconstitutional; it was not stated in the Act establishing the CRFFN. So, why do you have to allow sharing formula?
“The Act provides for corporate, individual and association registration, so, not using individual will disenfranchise a lot of people. There was no election the last time but selection; that was why the 6:6:1:1:1 sharing formula was adopted. Why do you have to sacrifice some people on the altar of godfatherism? Don’t forget that this goes with sharp practice as money must exchange hands and this on the long run will not improve the industry. And we say, for us in the freight forwarding profession, we have to elect competent people in the industry. The position of APFFLON is that 6:6:1:1:1 will never be allowed in this election because it is unconstitutional.”
He, however, disclosed that no member of APFFLON was standing as a candidate in the forthcoming election just as it did not have anybody in mind saying “we want to make sure that those who are qualified to contest will not be shortchanged in the election.
“APFFLON will serve as a watchdog in this election. Those who were interested to contest in APFFLON were convinced that we need to reposition the Council itself; we have a lot of jobs to do that we cannot afford to go and contest for CRFFN election for now. Comrade Emeka Nwosu is going to be the Head of the Taskforce that will monitor the election. So, he has sacrificed his ambition for this job”, he further said.
While observing that those who have served out their tenure in the CRFFN Governing Council were yet to return the official vehicles in their possession, the APFFLON President urged the government speak to them to return those vehicles and other materials that belonged to the Council still in their possession.
“It has been alleged that Chairman of the Governing Council has emerged even before the conduct of election. This should not be so. We look at it as a slap on the industry and the stakeholders if this is true. So, all these things need to be addressed otherwise, it means that the election has been concluded before the actual date of the election and this will not augur well”, he submitted.
Recall that the freight forwarders were allotted 15 seats out of the 32 seats available in the Governing Council of CRFFN by the Act establishing it. In 2018, the five accredited freight forwarding associations namely; the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders Nigeria (AREFFN), the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) and the Nigerian Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC) agreed to share the 15 seats allotted to the freight forwarders among them according to their numerical strength.
While NAGAFF and ANLCA take six seats each, the three other associations considered to be of lesser strength take one seat each so as to ensure that all the associations are represented in the Governing Council hence the 6:6:1:1:1 sharing formula.
Photo: Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, President, African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON).
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