2021 National Council Elections: Crisis Rocks CILT Over Alleged Succession Conspiracy

2021 National Council Elections: Crisis Rocks CILT Over Alleged Succession Conspiracy

·  Elections may not hold

·  Alban drags Usoro, Jibril, Board members to court

The over two years simmering crisis in the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport(CILT) Nigeria, has taken  a worsening dimension with divided interests in the forthcoming  2021 National Council Elections.

 One of the three candidates vying for the Presidency of CILT in the coming election, Dr. Alban Igwe has gone to court to challenge the qualification of Mrs. Mfon Usoro,to vie for the same position, alleging that there was a conspiracy to impose her on the Institute from outside by some board members without recourse to  a time-tested eligibility criteria for such position.

 He therefore further alleged that her documents were forged from within to facilitate her clearance by the election screening committee being chaired by Mrs. Moji Jimoh, said to be a protégé of the incumbent President of CILT.

 The implication of this development is that the twist of events could lead to the postponement of the 2021 National Conference and Annual General Meeting(AGM) cum National Council Elections billed for between 22nd and 23rd, October, 2021 in Abuja.

Alban is the current Deputy National President of CILT, who has also served the Institute in various other capacities in the past. The third candidate for the position of President is Chief  Igna Owums, while Usoro is a former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) and the immediate past Secretary General of  the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region( Abuja MoU).

Speaking with MMS Plus, Alban said, “As I talk to you, I have gone to court with Jibril, Paul Ndibe and the CILT Board because this is an infraction that could turn CILT to a political party or a social club. There is fraud in the system and I believe that there is something Jibril is hiding. They brought Mfon Usoro to cause confusion in CILT and I spoke to madam Usoro on their game-plan. I actually think Mfon Usoro is bigger than the position of CILT President and I told her that. I think that the sponsors have beaten so much drum that she just wants to dance.

 On what constitute the eligibility criteria, he said,” I can only mention a few at the moment without consulting the necessary documents. One is that the candidate must be a fellow of the institute to contest for president, vice president or deputy president of the institute. Such candidates must also be financially up-to-date.  Anyone who intends to be president must show evidence of active participation in the Institute’s programmes in the last three years. There are also other criteria that are given.

“However, I even doubt if Mfon Usoro is a Chartered Fellow of CILT. We need to get the certificate and know who signed it. Afterwards, we would investigate to know when she was inducted because from 2012 when I became a member of CILT Council, I have never sighted her in any of our programmes. It is unfortunate that they want to use her because she is someone I really respect.

 He continued:“Since the past 10 years that I have been in CILT, I haven’t seen Mfon Usoro on the stage. I have been on the CILT Council since 2012 and I haven’t had a programme that Usoro attended. This is part of the criteria for election and the Chairman CILT Electoral Council is also included in the litigation because Usoro doesn’t meet this criteria. Why should they list such a person? It means there is fraud in the system and if we don’t challenge it CILT will be a mere sheet of paper in the next few years.

“I’m not desperate for the position of CILT President because serving as Deputy National President for five years can add the same rating to my CV. It is what you do with what you have that matters and not what you think you have. I’m interested in protecting the sanctity of this institution because this is the politics that was played that stalled the CILT bill.” He added.

“My worry is that I have been in CILT UK for over 20 years and I know how the Institute is run. To return to Nigeria and have people politicize things is disheartening. A chartered accountant can face a crowd and say ‘I’m a chartered accountant’. Can we do the same as Chartered Logisticians?

“When you are a professional and you want to change a system, the mediocre wouldn’t like it because they want to maintain the status-quo. This explains the problem at CILT at the moment. We want to see the evidence of Mfon’s registration, evidence of induction and evidence of financial commitments and attending CILT programmes. Recently, somebody paid financial dues but when we go to litigation all these issues will be exposed. Personally, I don’t want to do anything to ridicule Mfon Usoro because she has reached a certain class in society.

Alban however admitted that a meeting was convened to resolve the election impasse between him and Usoro with other influential members in attendance but none could step down for the other.  According to him,” I tried to convince her that she should rather be the BoT Chair of the Council but she wasn’t inclined to go there. She opined that I go to the BoT, but I think with her clout she could perform better there.

“I understand where CILT is at the moment and where we are going but we would need the BoT to leverage on their strength and network. Given these antics already playing out, I told her that we could combine forces to disappoint this people or whatever they call themselves.

Alban’s grievances stemmed from an alleged politics of exclusion by Ibrahim Jubril, the President in the CILT Council, an attitude he chose to describe as an ethno-centric politics of divide and rule wrapped in a Fulani agenda, wondering why that could play out in CILT. “Why the politics in a professional institute? He queried.    He buttressed his claims with the allegation that Jubril had made a fruitless search for a northern candidate to succeed him. “He must be hiding something!”,he reclaims, adding that when he could not get a capable northerner, he then resorted to Usoro to create bad-blood between them.

He alleged also that the Institute lacks financial accountability under Jubril’s leadership as he ran a disruptive system that led to series of constitutional breaches. He said the current council had spent five years in office instead of four years, a development that has made constitution amendment compelling.

In his reflection sent to MMS Plus, Alban wrote:” In 2014, a sitting President(General Usman) didn’t believe in Ibrahim Jibril and opposed the idea of him becoming International Vice President( IVP) Nigeria.  Alban opposed it right at the shores of Malaysia. That battle was fought and Ibrahim Jibril became the IVP. In 2016, a sitting President didn’t believe in the candidacy of Ibrahim Jibril  as President and had literally handed over to another candidate through unpopular succession plan agenda. Again, Alban opposed the move, petitioned CILT international. An election was eventually conducted and Ibrahim Jibril won. Power belongs to God. Just a reflection”

Contacted, Jubril said he was in a meeting and so could not react to the deluge of allegations.

Discussing with MMS Plus, Usoro who confirmed receipt of the court notice from Federal High Court, Abuja was surprised at the turn of events but said she was not perturbed  and would not like to join issues with the CILT council members.

  She however acknowledged that she was approached by the CILT President, Mr. Jubril Ibrahim And many other board and influential members of the institute to come and reform the Institute. But it is not true that her CILT membership documents were forged.

MMS Plus sighted a list of the current Chartered Fellows of CILT, where Usoro was recorded to have been  inducted in 2012 with membership number, 202890 under the leadership  of the late Prof. Michael Filani as the CILT President.

 In her reaction further,  Usoro stated thus: “I had a meeting with Dr. Alban Igwe and Francis Ehiguese and the meeting was essentially to convince him to adopt my candidacy. I told them clearly that I wasn’t interested initially. However, key stakeholders requested me to come in, adding that at this time they need a reformist and someone who hasn’t been part of the quarrel they are having.

“I resisted until a mentor of mine intervened in August. I kept saying no until they got her to put some pressure and I agreed. I explained this to Alban and that explained why I came in late. I never wanted to fight with him. I tried to convince him and he also admitted that I’m above him in terms of capacity but he has an in-fight with Jibril.

“He said if he continues, he wouldn’t be fighting me but Jibril and the rest. I told him that wasn’t good enough reason. We agreed to combine efforts and I agreed to keep him relevant. The meeting was a successful one but few weeks later Mr. Francis later got back to me to say that Dr. Alban wasn’t going to step down.

“At the meeting, we also said we wouldn’t want any rancour but he has breached that promise because he has gone to court. I’m not aware that they have got an injunction to stop the election but they are challenging my membership of CILT.

“Before I agreed to contest for the position I told Jibril and Aisha that CILT has never been a priority for me, so I don’t know where I kept their certificates. We moved offices in July and a lot of files are in several bags. I don’t have that time to start searching for CILT certificate. Whatever I have, I’m sure they have a record in their Secretariat and I told them that I want to see these documents before I began the journey. Within few hours, the president sent me the documents that had the list of fellows. I didn’t keep these records, but from their records I saw my membership number that I used to fill the nomination form. So, somebody must have leaked that information that I can’t find my certificate and they are using that to say they doubt my membership.

“I discussed with the CILT president and noted he should have pictures from the fellows forum we had in 2017. He said he would get it, but when I asked again he said the Secretariat said some albums from 2016 and 2017 are missing but 2018 is there. I demanded for this before they went to court because I wanted to show photos of CILT activities that I have given some attention. There was one in 2019 in Manchester on my phone but I couldn’t use that one. They can’t find the 2017 album that I would have shown. In any case, I’m not going into a fight. She explained.

“The CILT electoral committee did the screening of all the candidates that indicated interest and brought out a list of qualified candidates which included my name, Dr. Alban and Chief Igna Owums

 She made an offer, “They said the position of chairmanship of the Board was open and I could appoint someone. I told Alban that I could make him the chairman of the BoT. That would be the best way to show that the divide and rule game was going to fail. Since he agreed that I have the capacity and everyone at CILT including Jibril’s supporters have agreed that this administration hasn’t been efficient.

“The point is that since I’m not part of their administration, I’m not on any side and don’t even want to know about the infighting. I want to come in and straighten things out. I’m an independent person, no one can control me. It was after I submitted my form that I realized that there was so much hatred and infighting among themselves. I’m not part of it and I don’t want to be part of it.

“I thought he was stepping down after our meeting but he called me days later to say he wasn’t stepping down. The following week we realized that he has gone to court. That is what happened.

“They said my certificate was forged but it was at the time when Mr. Francis was the Executive Director that I became a fellow, so he should come and tell the court how he forged the document. However, I think it wasn’t forged because it was sent to me within hours of saying, ‘I needed to see the records before agreeing to contest’.” Usoro noted.

On their chances at the elections, CILT has over 5,000 members but only those accredited can vote. However, Usoro’s candidacy seems to have appealled to many members across generations and positions, especially the female members who are large in numbers;members of Women in Logistics and Transport(WiLAT), in particular.

Alban, on the other hand, is a professional member who rose through different positions to become the deputy national president and so has entrenched himself in the system over the years and,so sure understand the system’s politics. He could pull surprises.  Chief Ignas is a  modest contender.

 On how the vote could count, Alban said, “It is a function of accreditation. If you are accredited, it means that you’re up-to-date; you can vote. So, even though we have over 5,000 members, only those accredited will be able to vote. There will also be an introduction of online voting which is an innovation that would happen for the first time in CILT. However, I don’t fully subscribe to this because it is a platform that they can easily manipulate since they are bent on doing something funny.

“We haven’t done online voting before and it hasn’t been agreed at the National Council. Please, take note that Jibril was from NIMASA, he appointed a Chairperson of the Electoral Committee from NIMASA and Mfon Usoro is also a former NIMASA Director General, so you can see the handwriting on the wall.”Alban declared.

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