I’m the most maligned ANLCA President – Nwabunike
The National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike, has stated categorically that the association does not have a Board of Trustees (BOT) presently as the tenure of the BOT which Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha is claiming to chair had since expired in January 2020.
He declared that the association is now set to organize an Annual General Meeting (AGM) to elect new members into the Board.
Since the assumption of office by Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike in 2018 as the National President, ANLCA has never known peace because of the battle over who becomes the chairman of the BOT between Chief Henry Njoku BOT camp and Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha BOT camp and, lately, the issue of tenureship. In the crisis, the Mustapha BOT has instituted 8 court cases against the ANLCA National Executive Committee (NECOM) led by Nwabunike to drive home its claim to the chairmanship.
While addressing the media at the national secretariat of the association in Lagos yesterday, ANLCA President said the association has had enough of the dissident members of an expired BOT which Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha is being goaded by Prince Taye Oyeniyi, Chief Dennis Okafor and others to refuse to let go. He noted that the association has been held hostage for too long having been on the defense of all court cases.
Nwabunike who took time to explain the causes of the BOT leadership crisis and efforts the NECOM had made which included pardon granted the Mustapha camp but rebuffed said that the NECOM had resolved to forge ahead to enthrone peace by setting in motion the processes for the AGM/BOT election which include sales of form for interested members to elect new BOT members who would add value to the association and its members.
He noted that ANLCA as a professional body has never for once operated leadership by rotation among tribes but purely on merit, saying that rotation of leadership among the tribes in Nigeria is unknown to the constitution of the association and pointing out that his NECOM is made up of all tribes.
‘’There is no tribalism in ANLCA; many of my executives are Yoruba. We have been on the defense since we came onboard as no fewer than eight court cases have been instituted against us by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha and his dissident followers. When Sir Ernest Elochukwu was the President, Chief Henry Njoku was the BOT Chairman; nobody complained. When my predecessor Prince Olayiwola Shittu was the President, Taiwo Mustapha was the BOT Coordinator for over a year; nobody complained. Why all this fuss over who occupies BOT Chairmanship?
‘’I have pardoned them but they have refused to remove all court cases as part of the conditions for the pardon. We are not ready for them anymore as we have explored all avenues to extend the olive branch to them but rejected it. We would have conducted the AGM since if not for the COVID-19 but we are set now and we can do the meeting without any BOT,’’ said Nwabunike.
On the claim by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha that he had made an overture to him for peace through series of letters, Nwabunike said that Mustapha is a pathological liar as he had never written any letter to him. He said that Mustapha and his cohorts still have the chance to re-contest in the forthcoming BOT election, and if he wins, he can contest for the chairmanship.
‘’I am no more ready to listen to Mustapha anymore. He is a pathological liar claiming that he had written to me for peace. He has not written any letter to me; maybe my secretary has received such letters and kept them away from me,’’ said Nwabunike who claimed that he is the most maligned leader of the association just because of his peaceful disposition to let peace reign.
On why it has been difficult for the association to talk Henry Njoku to step down as the BOT Chairman, the National President said the past President Prince Olayiwola Shittu and one of his lieutenants, Dayo Azeez, made it impossible as Dayo Azeez said ‘’when it is not broken, it cannot be mended.’’
The National President noted that the invasion of the national secretariat of the association was a serious offence as many valuables were destroyed. He vowed that the perpetrators would certainly face the music as necessary investigations are ongoing to expose them.
Shittu has hand in the crisis – Farinto
Also speaking, Dr. Kayode Farinto, ANLCA Vice President, noted that the association would not have found itself in this situation if all the past leaders particularly Prince Olyiwola Shittu who in all intents is supporting the people in the Mustapha camp who are all his followers and has refused to call them to order. He maintained that Mr. Peter Eloka Okocha, a former president, had made a move to resolve the matter but others have not done so.
According to Farinto, ‘’the role of Prince Olayiwola Shittu in the whole drama is not good; all the actors on the other side are his people. He knows them but has refused to talk to them to tow the path of peace. It looks he is not happy with the NECOM. He has hands in the whole crisis. Since he handed over, he has never for once asked about the welfare of the association.’’
Litigations have become habitual – Mukaila
In his contribution, the National Secretary, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila narrated all the litigations against the association, saying that the real issue bedeviling the association is the BOT whose tenure had since expired. He noted that the association had notified the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) about its plan to organize an AGM to elect new BOT members.
‘’We have informed the CAC that we want to conduct our AGM where to pick new BOT members. And it has given us a go-ahead. Some of the members have picked forms to contest,’’ said Mukaila who maintained that many of the members of the expired BOT including Prince Taye Oyeniyi had served two terms and cannot re-contest but Mustapha can still re-contest because he has only served one term.
Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila maintained that most of these litigants were a distraction to the progress of the association as many of them have become habitual. He said that the certificate being paraded by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Chief Dennis Okafor, Prince Taye Oyeniyi and others as the authentic BOT had been nullified by the CAC who said it was issued in error when Chief Peter Ogeh Obi contacted it that he had instituted a suit against the tenure of the BOT. He informed that Mustapha also had gone to court to stop CAC from canceling the certificate.
The National Secretary rued the unruly behaviour of the so-called BOT members by arrogating the powers of the NECOM to them, citing the case of Prince Taye Oyeniyi who wrote to the CAC on his assumed office seeking cancellation of the constitution of the association over irregularities. He noted that the CAC replied to him that his prayers could not be granted pending the court cases.
‘’Prince Taye Oyeniyi lacks competency and jurisdiction to act as the secretary of the association,’’ said Mukaila who backed all his statements with various sections of the association constitution.
Mukaila maintained that the power of BOT would definitely be whittled down to curtail all this kind of brigandage in the future.