No crisis in ANLCA – Mukaila We are looking inward for solution – Oduntan
By Adegboyega Oni
The arrest and detention last week of Dr. Kayode Farinto and Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila, Vice President and Secretary General of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) by the Nigeria Police is a signal that the leadership crisis rocking the association is far from over.
In separate interviews with major gladiators, PortNews discovered that most of them were ready for a ceasefire even though some still heaped blames on the National President, Tony Iju Nwabunike, for his winner-takes-it-all style of leadership which, they said, fanned the embers of discord among members of the association thus precipitating the crisis.
Prince Taye Oyeniyi, the Secretary of the BOT, posited that the proper thing to do was for the president, Tony Nwabunike to withdraw his support and recognition of Sir Henry Njoku as the BOT Chairman. After ten years in office, Oyeniyi noted that it was unfair and unacceptable for Njoku who had agreed to a two year tenure of office to continue parading himself as the BOT Chairman, especially when he even lost an election having scored only three votes as against the five scored by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha.
Oyeniyi noted that peace would return to the association once Sir Henry Njoku steps down and admits defeat and Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha who was duly elected as the chairman of the BOT is recognized as the Chairman by the President.
Oyeniyi added that the continued interference of the executive arm of the association in the affairs of the BOT was excessive and the cause of disharmony, he warned that this has to stop, saying ”they cannot dictate to us.”
He advised the president to bring all the camps together and stop his attitude of winner takes its all.
Also speaking, the National Publicity Secretary of the association, Mr. Joe Sanni equally blamed President Tony Iju Nwabunike for his bad leadership style that pampers one side and chastises the other side. He noted that the absence of the president from the secretariat since he ventured into national politics has created a latitude for some executives and their cronies to run the association as if it is their private estate.
He maintained that the only solution to the problem is for the president to recognize Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as the BOT Chairman and prevail on Sir Henry Njoku to step down.
One of the sacked chapter chairmen in the Western Zone, Prince Segun Oduntan of Tincan Island Chapter noted that the crisis in the association was a family affair that would be settled internally. ”I do not want to talk on this matter because it is a family affair. We are looking inwardly for solution, to settle the dispute. And by next week (this week), we shall come out with an amicable solution since it is a family affair,” Oduntan noted.
Adding his voice to the matter, Alhaji Azeez Afolabi, Financial Secretary of ANLCA Murtala Mohammed International Airport Ikeja Chapter, called on the leaders of the association to embrace dialogue to resolve the dispute. Afolabi who is the Managing Director of CargoZeal Technology was of the view that ANLCA could no longer allow the crisis to fester further than necessary as it would relegate the association in decision and policy making by government for the industry.
”In the interest of our industry and our great association, I call on our leaders to embrace dialogue; they should all come to the table and settle the dispute amicably,” Afolabi submitted.
But in his view, the General Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila, played down the whole crisis by saying that there is no leadership crisis in the association and any member who is angered by any action taken by the leadership of the association has the channel provided in the constitution of the association to ventilate their grievances.
According to him, ”there is no leadership crisis in ANLCA. There is no contention for the office of the president as there is a substantive president in place; whoever is aspiring to the office of the president of the association to himself different from the elected president is contravening the absolute constitution of the association. There are provisional steps provided by the constitution for any aggrieved members to follow to make their angers known and be addressed. All these are well spelt out in the constitution.”
He advised the aggrieved members to exploit the available channels in the constitution rather than taking the law into their hands.
All efforts to get across to the ANLCA National President Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike, his Vice President, Kayode Farinto and aggrieved Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha on the matter proved abortive.
It would be recalled in April 2018, weeks after the election of Tony Iju Nwabunike as the National President, an election was held for a new chairman of the BOT, since the tenure of the incumbent Chairman, Sir Henry Njoku, had expired after ten years in office. It was believed that the election of a new chairman would align with the change in the national executives of the association.
In the purported election, Sir Henry Njoku lost to Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha with 3 votes to 5 votes. One member of the BOT abstained. But Njoku and his camp stuck to their gun and vowed never to relinquish the office claiming that there was no election on the agenda of the meeting on the day he was ousted. But the Mustapha camp who won the election going by the result insisted that there was election in which Njoku participated lost.
To assuage the two camps, President Nwabunike asked for a three month moratorium for the Njoku-led BOT to take charge for the swearing in of his new executive in June to avoid a vacuum and for him to settle the dispute. Upon assuming office, the president reneged and never bulged to settle the crisis and continued to recognize Sir Henry Njoku as the BOT Chairman while running the association with the spirit of the winner-takes-it all.
Ever since, the centre of ANLCA ceased to hold.