ANLCA Leadership Crisis: What Went Wrong

Chief Henry Njoku (L) and Iju Tony Nwabunike (R)

By Adumaza Joe Sanni, National Publicity Secretary, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)

 

The grapevine has been abuzz with some hidden plans to prolong the crisis in the BOT till next year, when the tenure of the BOT will officially expire, for the tin-gods in NECOM to take over their elections, to purposely subdue or sack the majority members for their ‘’person’’ to remain as Chairman of BOT for life. With this kind of mindset, will ANLCA ever come to the negotiating table, for our members to begin to benefit from our collective, purposeful actions?

 

Today March 8, 2019 makes it 365 days, a full year of the election of the current National Executive Committee (NECOM) in Enugu, Enugu State. Today reminds me that opportunities deliberately wasted, is a candle light in the wind. A sad reminder that in the lives of men, women and even children, time is of the essence.

Today brings forth the naked reasons why senseless wars are fought, lives lost unnecessarily, leaving friends as sworn enemies and families dismembered. Indeed, today brings back memories of reasons why due diligence, in-depth analysis, background checks are absolutely necessary for persons who seek to lead us, or seek public offices to superintend over our lives with a mandate sourced from the innocent electorate.

In the late hours of yesterday, when it occurred to me that one whole year, since our election has raced by, I almost chopped off my lower lips, in a short spell of anger, full of regrets and quickly looking back in comparison with the immediate past administration of ANLCA.

I shook my head again and again, when I remembered that in the last administration, everything on the manifesto of the then NECOM, was achieved under 18 months of the 48 months first tenure, between 2010 and 2014.

Immediate Past Vice President & co-contestant for the office of National President of ANLCA – Kingsley EmenikeNwokeoji (L) and Immediate Past BOT member & National President of ANLCA – Iju Tony Nwabunike (R)

To be sure, the current NECOM was officially inaugurated on the 14th of April, 2018. So, as it stands today, we are less than 36 days to the end of the first year in office of the present NECOM. It really hurts me, because I never bargained for this massive loss of grounds, credibility and inability to be of service to our electors, our immediate constituency.

Again, the last year of the first tenure of the immediate past administration marked the commencement of the awkward designs to deliberately bring ANLCA to its present sorry pass. Why? The reason has been stated elsewhere by this intervener. Simple. The events leading to the elections of the current Board of Trustees (BOT) members (Nine of them then on equal basis) and the results that set the stage for all the permutations and combinations engineered against the collective interest of members of ANLCA, by just two individuals in the BOT, who incidentally belonged to the same political party.

One has since changed political camp and by virtue of being elected as the National President on the 8th of March, 2018 but still committed to the same game plan of holding ANLCA to ransom. Both of them have so far succeeded in their evil machinations. The other has maintained his position which he has refused to relinquish in spite of being rejected by majority of his colleagues on the board on the 13th of April 2018, at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos.

Contestants to various offices. FRONT ROW: (L-R) Iju Tony Nwabunike, AlhajiMukailaAbdulazeez, Chief BioBioOgunfowora, Kingsley EmenikeNwabunike and Adumaza Joe Sanni

Both of them had a secret pact to railroad ANLCA into CRFFN, despite pending cases against CRFFN. One has since been elected as the Vice Chairman (when the Chairmanship position was cornered by HMOT for its own candidate) of the governing Board of CRFFN. Despite this achievement in their game plan, he has refused to quit. Gosh! What is really wrong with us Nigerians? Why do we all carry on as if all ANLCAns are under some form of spell, particularly a section of our membership, which feels/pays some form of allegiance to this same person for, according to some of them, rises to their challenges whenever called upon?

Truth is that he has no executive power to so act. There are elected zonal officers and even some past national officers who reside there but never given the chance to do their work, simply because ‘someone’ wants to continuously be everywhere, every time, definitely for pecuniary reasons.

Everyone should be reminded that in May of 2018, a gentleman’s agreement was brokered by the National President, to the effect that a three-month period was granted, to soft-land the tenacious holder of the constitutionally non-existent Chairmanship of the board. That again flew in the winds. And, just after the expiration of the three-month grace period, at an event in De Santiago Hotels & Suites, Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos it was learnt that an insistent Chairman of BOT, publicly announced that his soul mate in this unholy war against ANLCA has never lost in any election, and that when he eventually wins his Federal Constituency seat, he will vacate office for a Yoruba man, and he, as an Igbo man will remain as the Chair of the Board.

Now that the all-knowing, omnipresent, omniscience God has spoken against his wish, can he now honourably vacate the Chairmanship of the BOT to concentrate on that of CRFFN? Saner minds would have long resigned and moved on.

In no small way, the long absence from office of the National President has, in no small measure has seriously affected the smooth administration of the Association. That vacuum created an opportunity for some very over-ambitious members of NECOM to play god, dishing out all manner of orders, which offends quite a number of their colleagues and the generality of members of ANLCA. They all collectively lack the capacity to superintend over their offices and responsibilities thereof.

 In short, they have knowingly created several problems for the National President particularly. All of the events running up to the so called emergency National Executive Council meeting, away from the National Secretariat, which is the usual venue for such emergency meetings ,were fully responsible for the sorry pass ANLCA has found itself till date.

The recognition of the majority BOT by the Western zone chapters executives and members, was for the obvious reason of enabling the BOT to perform its constitutional mandate of supervising elections into the Western zone chapters. This position was immediately countered by the National President, who said that he recognizes the minority BOT. Where is 2 greater than 5? Nowhere in this physical world.

That, in itself spiraled into the public denouncement of the National President by western zone executives which led to the boycotting of the ENEC, which action earned all the chapter executives in the West, outright sack, without proffering any allegations against them formally, for their response and observance of the due diligence/process and rule of law. Western zonal officers and some national officers were also suspended for no just cause. These are injustices of the highest order.

I am fully aware that reliefs have been sought in the substantive cases before the courts. This intervention is to remind us that we have wasted valuable time unnecessarily. Another truth is, the inability of the dramatics personae to come to terms with the facts as they stand till date, and act accordingly for peace to return to ANCLA, remembering that no matter how long we may remain in the courts, we must eventually return to the negotiation table.

All we need is to tell ourselves the truth with the spirit of give and take.

The grapevine has been abuzz with some hidden plans to prolong the crisis in the BOT till next year, when the tenure of the BOT will officially expire, for the tin-gods in NECOM to take over their elections, to purposely subdue or sack the majority members for their ‘’person’’ to remain as Chairman of BOT for life. With this kind of mindset, will ANLCA ever come to the negotiating table, for our members to begin to benefit from our collective, purposeful actions?

Also, the desperation to violate court injunctions to hold elections into Western Zone Chapters, is a fruitless attempt to justify the squandering of nomination fees.

All of these and many more can be resolved at a negotiating table. But, who will bell the cat or ignite the process? Maybe it is you that is reading this piece, and why not. Leverage on your relationship with the dramatics personae and let them commit to making relevant moves.

Before we know it, ANLCA will bounce back, stronger, loved and more cherished.

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