The expected national council election during the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and National Conference of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport(CILT) has polarized members into warring groups, with the palpable fear that if the drift is not quickly arrested could claim lives and property soon.
Already, an aggrieved party loyal to one of the Presidential candidates, Mr. Ibrahim Jubril has gone to High Court, Ikoyi to get an injunction to stop the National Conference and AGM from holding in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, citing insecurity and grievous intention to rig the election in favour of another Presidential candidate, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku, who is the incumbent Deputy National President of the Institute.
Also,the Electoral Committee of the election, chaired by Dr. Ade Dosunmu, former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) has also declined to conduct election in Port Harcourt.
While the sitting National President, Major- Gen. Umar Usman is said to be backing Prof. Oyesiku to succeed him, with the alleged support of some members of Yoruba ethnic extraction, Jubril is said to have huge support base from the CILT progressives who believe in total change of leadership because the current leadership is a “total failure”.
Last week, some members said to have come majorly from the Lagos Branch of CILT staged a protest with placards against the sudden change in the AGM venue as earlier advertised from Lagos to Port Harcourt, accusing the President of ulterior motive.
The Chairperson, CILT Nigeria Lagos Branch, Mrs. Fatima Diko-Kuton led the CILT Lagos members to protest at the CILT national headquarters in Ikoyi, Lagos last week.
According to Mrs. Fatima, the notice of change was too sudden for members who had concluded plans to attend the Conference and AGM in Lagos.
“This is an election year which requires a more careful and well calculated decision on the location and timing so as not to discourage attendance of members. As at now, the safety and security of people in Niger-Delta area, particularly Port Harcourt was not considered by the Council before arriving at this dangerous decision.
“Because of security challenges, Rivers state election was postponed indefinitely by the electoral committee, some professional bodies that wanted to hold their programmes in Port Harcourt had moved such programmes to other areas of the country where safety is relatively guaranteed” she said.
Fatima noted that Lagos and its environs had about 90% of the total membership of the Institute, stressing there was no justification for the move. She also asserted that the move may be one of the ploys by the Presidency to manipulate the impending elections.
“We have authoritative information that the President has concluded plans to manipulate the election process in favour of some candidates. These so called loyalists have joined the President to pervert the cause of justice, equity and every sense of reasonableness” Fatima lamented.
Some of the protesters also accused the CILT Nigeria President, Major General Tudunwada Usman of being insensitive in deciding to hold the AGM in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Some of the placards read: “Usman, why is CILT Nigeria broke? Publish account of CILT”; “Enough of this dictatorship, we are not in the military barracks”; “Elections suspended in Port Harcourt due to insecurity, yet Usman want members to go to Port Harcourt”; “Going to Port Harcourt is a financial burden on majority of the members” and “Usman, let the philosophy of stronger together work in Nigeria”.
The conference had been scheduled to hold on August 5th and 6th only for CILT members to see an advertorial on the national daily two days before the programme that the event had been transferred to Port Harcourt.
Since the AGM is also a fee-paying programme and the protesters maintained that members in Lagos and its environs could generate enough funds to organize the conference and AGM.
“Members of CILT Nigeria Lagos Branch reject totally the movement of the national conference and AGM originally planned to hold in our branch in Lagos to Port Harcourt. The President is advised not to stick to this unpopular decision”, Fatima warned.