By Kenneth Jukpor
Congregation of Registered Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria (CREFFPON) has written to the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi on some issues which could hamper the upcoming Governing Board elections for the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
The CREFFPON letter titled; “Commencement To Conduct Election Of Members Into The Governing Council of CRFFN: A Passionate Appeal For Your Urgent Intervention” was signed by the group’s Desk Administrative Officer, Comrade Edwin Chukwudire Obi.
Some of the queries raised in the letter include the 10-day timing from September 6th to 17th for interested candidates to purchase, collect and submit the nomination forms, with the group arguing that the timeline is too short and capable of shortchanging interested and legible practitioners from participating.
The group also argued that the election slated for Saturday 9th October, 2021 at the National Women Centre, Abuja, is too prompt and poses administrative, economic and security challenges to move 95% of over 4000 registered freight forwarders from various parts of the country.
“Honorable Minister, we observed that, the said public notice did not mention nor stress the display of the names of eligible registered freight forwarders or corporate firms to vote in the election as contains in the register of freight forwarders, especially in the context of the limited time frame for the organization and execution of the election.”
“Therefore, as provided in the Act 16, 2007, the register of the freight forwarders shall be published annually, which has not been effected. We hereby solicite for your urgent attention and intervention at ensuring that eligible voters lists is published early and sealed to serve for electioneering process and purposes,” part of the letter stated.
While describing the choice of Abuja for the election as a technical and security arrangement to limit and ensure effective crowd control and success of the election, the group posited that there are several ways of using the electoral guidelines to manage the crowd instead of subjecting practitioners to travel risks amid security threats and extraordinary fiscal costs.
“Freight Forwarders have not forgotten in a hurry their past experience with the first election into the Governing Council, midwifed by the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC) in 2008. It was not only rigged but we also witnessed the import of school children and streets urchins with luxurious buses into the election venue Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, on the morning of the election day. The aftermath of that election created room for fundamental administrative misgivings,” the group said.
The group also criticized the collection of a non-refundable payment of N500,000:00 for interested practitioners, adding that it is unfair that after collecting of electoral guidelines and having effected payment, one gets to discover that he or she is not eligible to contest.
According to CREFFPON, “such approach is crooked and can be termed as day light rip off of the freight forwarders.”
“Honorable Minister, from the previous elections experiences, the rate of obtaining nomination form at high cost of N500,000:00 has always posed serious representation challenges on the part of elected freight forwarders, whom subsequently upon being sworn into the Governing Council, first think of how to recoup money spent during the election, thereby leading to poor representation of the practitioners in the long run,” the letter stressed.