By Kenneth Jukpor
A former Chairman, Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Mr. Hakeem Olanrewaju has identified some flaws in the public notice issued with regards the planned election of the freight forwarders into the Governing Board of CRFFN as approved by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Olanrewaju, who made this known via a press statement, urged the Transport Minister to care about both the professional integrity and the integrity of the electoral processes starting with the composition of the electoral committee.
He posited that fundamental errors had been established in the making of the intended electioneering process adding that the immediate-past Governing Council was not properly dissolved.
“At the expiration of the outgone Governing Council Board, while the elected freight forwarders in the board headed to the court seeking for their tenure elongation to 4 years and not 2 years as provided by the Act 16, 2007; the appointed politicians were immediately reappointed by the Honorable Minister ahead of the freight forwarders election. From the last experience, this type of arrangement creates room for political manipulations and undue leverages.”
“Unconfirmed reports has it that, there exists an internal understanding and arrangements for the appointed politicians to work assiduously and to deploy a process that will guarantee the return of the outgone freight forwarders back into the Governing Council of the CRFFN. Wherefore, the freight forwarding practitioners are still very much doubtful and worried about the possibilities of the Ministry unknowingly might have play into this initial conceptualized tactical electioneering and voting process packaged by the outgone Governing Council,” the statement read.
He asserted that it is on record that the immediate past Governing Council set up a tactical and strategic electoral committee before their tenure elapsed but the components of such electoral arrangements are still very much around in the present making as encapsulated above.
“It is important to openly lodge the skepticism expressed by the generality of the freight forwarding practitioners which seeks a clarification to the effect that this published election notice is not in any way a mere tactical and strategic electoral committee and system or better stated, a furtherance of the former Governing Council.”
“This expression is apt because we aware that in a ‘first-past-the-post electoral system, a vote is tactical when it is cast for a selected candidate not on merits but to best influence to ensure such candidate wins in the constituency. Tactical voting also includes strategic incentives granted to misrepresent the electorates’ choices via a manipulated and preference electoral system. Tactical voting arrangements involves subtly structuring and agreeing on an incentives that will be redeemed during or later, having the capacity to necessitate and influencing the electioneering process and the election results even when the candidates in favor is a misfits and unpopular. Tactical & strategic voting system is often organized to favor an incumbent or to foster status quo.”
“The term tactical & strategic voting is synonymous to a sophisticated voting system generally referred to as an electoral committee system where there are defined agenda, rules and guidelines that are factored to suite the unpublished interests. Tactical and strategic voting system is often anti-democratic norms and pro-conservatism.”
The former CRFFN Council Chairman pointed out that the identity of the electoral committee members which had not been made public was another crucial observation made in the election notice as issued saying that this, again, further cast integrity question on the electoral arrangements even as he insisted that the freight forwarders required a confidence rekindling statement from the Honorable Minister on the issues raised above.
According to him, “A clarification is apt because it will be administratively counter-productive to allow freight forwarders to obtain election forms at a whopping non-refundable cost of N500,000 and to eventually discover later that the election was a mere charades in the order not too different from the last election. Such arrangements will be tantamount to deliberate acceptance of multiple litigations thereafter.”
Describing the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria as one of the most disrespected and ignored among the comity of national professional bodies, he opined that the group of professionals should be treated with respect because they are the movers of the nation’s economy.
He, therefore, called on the Minister of Transportation to give a statement of essential character premised on professional integrity with regards to this subject of the election notice into the Governing Council of the CRFFN even as he promised to make further comments in due course.