The emergence of Mr. Emenike Nwokeoji as the new National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA) last week, seemingly ended the over six years long crisis in the association, that is, if the reactions over the election is anything to go by.
The new President emerged from the group that lost the election by error to the former President, Tony Nwabunike in Enugu years back. Another leadership error on the part of Nwabunike especially on dictating the pace and direction gave room for hijack by merchant of interests.
To peace-loving members of the association and observers, especially those who had done critical analysis of the crisis from ethnic, religious and emotional prisms, only Emenike’s victory could guarantee peace or its semblance because ANLCA is very volatile and full of volcanic beings who are not easily given to switching support from one interest to another. If Dr Kayode Farinto had won the election, the dream for peace would have been kissed bye for now.
The plea and prayer of everybody now is let peace reign but the stock of the damage and death caused be taken to prevent recurrence. And the healing process be enthroned. This is hard though because ANLCA from records over decades now has been synonymous with crises of interests. They came in different layers and seasons. This has limited their powers and chances to transforms the freight forwarding profession full of potentials to generate huge revenue and jobs for the nation.
It was therefore refreshingly inspiring to hear that Farinto has conceded defeat and pledged his support for the new Emenike-led national executive to rewrite the story of ANLCA. Emenike is also expected to be the leader of all in ANLCA and not his faction. At this point, all factions should merge into one association.
The Customs Consultative Council(CCC) that brokered the peace for a credible election should be commended. They passed where the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding In Nigeria(CRFFN) failed under Sam Nwakohu as Registrar/CEO because Sam had moral baggage that could not guarantee peaceful settlement of conflict in his domain.
ANLCA should please revisit the one single term of five years introduced by Nwabunike-led Exco after Emenike’s tenure. It is a sacrifice they have to make for Nigeria. This proposal could be kick-started in ANLCA on experimental basis in preparation for adoption by Nigeria on the national scale. ANLCA is a good example of a microcosm of Nigeria. Do a five year single tenure with succession plan and structure as well as development plans covering fifteen years or more and bequeath it to Nigeria.
At the election, however, while Emenike Nwokeoji polled a total of thirty three (33) votes to emerge the National President, his arch rival, Dr. Kayode Farinto polled a total of twenty three (23) votes.
Also, a former Chairman, Tincan Island Port chapter, Prince Olusegun Oduntan polled a total of twenty nine (29) votes to beat Chief Dennis Okwu who polled a total of twenty seven (27) votes to emerge the Deputy National President. Mr. Olumide Fakanlu polled a total of twenty nine votes to beat Chief Lawrence Ubah and Chief Chunks Aaron Okolo who polled twenty two (22) and five (5) votes respectively to emerge the National Secretary of ANLCA.
For the post of the Assistant National Secretary, Nze Theodore Ejezie polled a total of thirty four votes to beat his closet rival, Mr. Alabi Olusegun, while the position of the Financial Secretary was uncontested for and would be filled through a by-election.
The immediate past National Financial Secretary, Hajia Bola Muse polled a total of twenty eight (28) votes to beat her lone opponent, Alhaji Azeez Afolabi who polled a total of twenty five (25) votes to emerge the National Treasurer whereas Mr. Emmanuel Onyeme emerged unopposed as the National Publicity Secretary.
Mr. Femi Anifowose polled a total of twenty one (21) votes to beat Mr. Soleji Goddy Sewa who polled a total of nineteen (19) votes to emerge as the Zonal Coordinator, Western Zone while Mr. Idowu Owoade emerged unopposed as the Zonal Secretary, Western Zone. Mr. Joshua Ohuama and Mrs. Chinyere C. Okere emerge unopposed as Zonal Coordinator and Secretary, Eastern Zone whereas Alhaji Lameen Aliyu emerged unopposed as the Zonal Coordinator, Northern
Meanwhile, the newly elected National President of ANLCA Mr Emenike Nwokeoji has assured that the association under his watch would partner with the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola in order to harness the potentials inherent in the Blue Economy sector.
Emenike was elected ANLCA President on Thursday 7th 2023 at the Federal Palace Hotel in Victoria Island Lagos.
While addressing journalists after he was announced winner of the keenly contested election, Emenike reached out to his fellow contender, Dr Kayode Farinto to come on-board and work with him in order to make the association greater.
The ANLCA National President lamented that there are numerous levies and taxes affecting the profession of freight forwarding, and that his administration would seat with the new Minister and the Federal Government to resolve all.
“The blue economy is just coming up, we shall seat with the Minister to know his own line of action, and we shall work with him.
“The levies are too many and these are government policies, we cannot just start discussing it now, for government to impose a levy on anything, there must be a reason, we need to know the reason, then we would know how to approach the government” he said
Emenike also advised his critics to perish the thought that he was going to be an ANLCA President who would govern from the Eastern Zone. He assured that coming from the East does not determine his level of achievement as ANLCA President.
“This is not the first time we are having a President from the East, I am the second, and the first one did not do badly, he took us to the seat of power to see the President of this country. Right now that we are in an ICT age, that is not an issue” he said
He said that his job was half done as the newly elected executive of the association were drawn from the two opposing camps. “So, we are going to work together The job to be done is enormous but with God, we will overcome”, he said.
Emenike disclosed that his priority would be to pursue peace, restore all that was lost in the association so that the association could move forward even as he added that “we can’t make progress without peace. So, once we have peace, other things will fall in. When all of us are working as a unit, the sky will be out limit.”
While reaching out to his opponent, Dr Kayode Farinto, the new ANLCA boss said, “There is nothing like opponent, all of us are winners, we ate going to work together to achieve our common target. All of us operate from the same port, so the port serves all of us. If things are good both those that are here and those that are not here, both those that are ANLCA members and those who are not, they will all benefit from it.”
The newly elected ANLCA National Executive Committee, NECOM were sworn into office immediately and handed their certificates of return.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Board of Trustees (BOT) of ANLCA, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha has appreciated all ANLCA members for the cooperation and support they accorded him on the journey to restoring peace into the association which had been be-devilled by 5-years leadership crisis.
In a lengthy press statement issued on Friday, Mustapha said
“For me l have a sense of gratitude having come this far with all the turbulence in recent past and knowing that God has made it possible for us to land safely as conclude the change of leadership and look forward to a new vista of cooperation and progress.
“We have not been alone, concerned stakeholders have seen reasons to stand by us at every critical stage, l want to say that we appreciate them all. I however want to say a big thank you to the Customs Consultative Committee (CCC) ably chaired by Aare Hakeem Olarewaju, l want to thank the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) especially the Council Governing Chairman, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar, and to thank all members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) for their individual roles in birthing a new administration in ANLCA.
“I want to also put on record the role Prince Taye Oyeniyi has played in the course of this journey and of course, the statesmanship role of Chief Ernest Elochukwu, l thank the two of them specially; while not also forgetting our past leaders for their behind the curtain mediatory roles and counseling.
“I want to also appreciate Prince Olayiwola Shittu the former President of ANLCA, Dr Eugene Nweke and Rtd DCG Austin Warikoru for their roles in getting us out ofthe woods.
“In view of the above, especially in view of the safe conduct of the election earlier today, l want every member to know that yes, a winner has emerged finally, but want all to be assured that it is a win-win contest for both camps.
“At this juncture, l want to especially call and thank Dr. Kayode Farinto and Alhaji Mukaila Abdulazeez for holding out the best way they could during the period of the crisis in addition to Mukaila Abdulazeez’s brief sole administrator-ship stint; during period which we drew from his wealth of knowledge and experiences about the knitty-gritty of the Association that has contributed to birthing our safe landing.
“I want to also commend and thank the newly elected National Executive Committee (NECOM), especially the National President, Mr. Emenike Nwokeoji and his Vice, Prince Segun Oduntan and to urge them not to see today’s victory as a winner-take-it-all affair, they must be magnanimous in victory and to reach out to their opponents and to regard the whole exercise as a brotherly contest.
“Having thanked the past acting and newly elected national past presidents for allowing peace to reign at the election to urged them and all members to understand that election is about partisanship and that after it has been won and lost, it is time for partnership and thus they must rally around the new NECOM and National President to make it possible for them to succeed in taking ANLCA to a greater height.
“I believe that for as long as God in His infinite mercies continue to keep us alive, those who lost today may win tomorrow, and therefore l urge everyone to keep the peace and continue to offer service through selfless and vigorous support for the good of ANLCA and all its members”