I would act as absorber- Ezeh, only elected female member
By Gboyega Oni
Saturday 7 July, 2018 will remain a watershed in the history of freight forwarding in Nigeria. It was a day that forwarders, from diverse associations, set aside their differences and in unison elected their representatives into the governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) rancour-free.
CRFFN is established by the Act of the Parliament to regulate freight forwarding in Nigeria. And since its establishment a couple of years back, CRFFN has never been at peace over leadership and this has prevented it from performing its core mandate of regulation and training. For a number of years it had no governing board until the July 7 election of new members. The election took place at CRFFN headquarters in Apapa, Lagos.
All the candidates of the five registered associations – the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, National Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators and Association of Registered Freight Forwarders in Nigeria – won the 15 elective seats on the CRFFN board.
Those elected were Chief Njoku Henry Ifeanychukwu, Aare Sanni Shittu, Mr. Increase Onwuka Uche, Dr. Kayode Farinto, Chief Dikeanwah Kelly Austine, Mr. Bakare Adeyinka, Chief Peter Obih, Chief Ozo Chukwurah and Mr. Agubanze Emmanuel Emezie
Others were Mr. Awogbemi Timothy Toluwase, Alhaji Azeez Bamidele Tajudeen, Chief Ekemezie Ifeanyi Joseph, Alhaji Daura Lawal Bala, Chief Ezisi Tochukwu Emmanuel and Mrs. Ezeh Chinyere Grace, the only elected woman.
Speaking to the press were Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, Founder of NAGAFF; Iju Tony Nwabunike, ANLCA President; Chief Henry Njoku, Chairman of ANLCA BOT and some of the winners who praised the outcome of the election as peaceful and commended CRFFN for organising flawless elections.
While speaking, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam noted that the election affirmed the readiness of all the associations to work together in plotting a perfect direction for CRFFN towards the growth of their profession, saying that the election was done in accordance with the Act establishing CRFFN.
Aniebonam who traced the genesis of the crisis that bedevilled CRFFN for so many years to the election of the first governing board that was one-sided said the new election was inclusive and noted that the duty of the new governing board is to formulate policies that can move the industry forward and CRFFN is properly governed.
Also speaking, Iju Tony Nwabunike, President of ANLCA, said the election was smooth and was impressed by the turnout and orderliness. He said that the new board members would take over from where the former board stopped and assured that CRFFN would ensure that foreigners do not take over freight forwarding jobs in Nigeria.
Chief Henry Njoku, who was elected, said the election was an indication of a synergy among the associations to make CRFFN work, assuring that ‘’we are going there to ensure that things are done properly. We shall look at all the challenges facing the profession and the Council and provide solutions.’’
Aare Sanni Shittu, a former president of ANLCA and new member of the board, noted that the coming together of all the associations symbolised unity and determination to make CRFFN work for their benefit and for the overall growth of the nation’s economy.
While speaking, the President of NAGAFF, Mr. Increase Uche said the election processes from the start were followed religiously and noted the stake was very high for the new board of which he is a member. He maintained that his mission on the board would not be different from the position of his association and working with others on the board would be his utmost.
Uche said the new board would make capacity development of freight forwarders in the country, which is the duty of CRFFN, a priority and is effectively carried out. ‘’My position is not different from NAGAFF. I am not going there to pursue my personal agenda but NAGAFF agenda. Our sector collapsed under the previous board. But we are going there to start afresh, from the scratch, to correct the mistakes of the past,’’ said NAGAFF President.
Dr. Kayode Farinto, Vice President of ANLCA, described the election as peaceful and signified a new beginning of good things to come. He said his election into the board would serve as a springboard for the actualisation of the mandates of the Council to make the industry grow. He called on all the new members to see their mission as one and work to achieve it.
The only elected female member of the new board, Mrs. Chi Grace Ezeh, said that she was elated and overwhelmed to be elected as a member and would not shirk from serving and acting as an absorber to the board.
She informed that her election was recognition for women freight forwarders in the industry and assured them that they would get fair representation, calling on them to support her in the journey to facilitate trade. ”I am urging my other compatriot women in the industry to join me to improve trade facilitation; there are a lot of challenges and I believe as the only woman in the midst of men, I am in position to correct them,” said likeable Ezeh.
Also elected was Chief Emmanuel Tochukwu Ezisi who said this was the first time all the associations would come together to speak with one voice to bring liberation to the industry. According to him, ‘’I know the problems and challenges. Getting there is to solve the challenges facing the industry.’’ He however assured that the Ease of Doing Business policy of the government would be vigorously pursued.
Mr. Ifeanyi Joseph Ekemezie, who scored the highest vote, said that he would work for the growth of young freight forwarders in the industry and noted that the new board would work assiduously to come up with policies that will reform the industry.