By Gboyega Oni
As the clock ticks so the number of days to the March 2018 national elections of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) is speedily reducing. But contestants are not leaving any stone unturned to achieve success as they intensify their campaign strategies – holding rallies, meetings with opinion leaders, speaking to the media – brandishing promises to better the lots of members if they are elected.
One of the notable presidential contestants is Mr. Emenike Kingsley Nwokeoji who is described as a chip of the old block; an intelligent, amiable and approachable personality who understands the dynamics of leadership of the association, which is a call to service for the overall interest of ANLCA members, development of customs brokerage and, largely, the maritime industry.
Speaking with PortNews in Lagos, Mr. Pius Ujubuonu, the Secretary General of Emenike Campaign Organisation (ECO), said that the presidential candidate, Emenike Kingsley Nwokoeji, with a rich background and understanding of the industry for nearly forty years and having worked closely with President Olayiwola Shittu as the Vice President rancour-free, is the right candidate who will further improve and build on the legacies of Prince Olayiwola Shittu.
Ujubuonu said that Emenike’s vast experience and understanding of the industry will help to booster the customs brokerage profession as he will closely engage the industry regulators such as the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, NAFDAC, NIMASA and other stakeholders like terminals and shipping companies constructively on issues that affect the industry.
‘Emenike Kingsley Nwokoeji is a chip of the old stock. He has been in the industry for forty years; he is knowledgeable about the industry issues having seen nearly 5 to 8 policy changes the industry has witnessed over the years. Shittu and Emenike are twosome and they understand each other; never at once have they worked at cross purpose against the interest of ANLCA. It has been a rancour-free working relationship between the two. President Olayiwola Shittu has achieved so much and built a strong ANLCA for the industry. Emenike may do much more to sustain and surpass the Shittu landmark and achievements.
‘He is a consummate customs broker and an operational personality who is always on the field in the terminals, shipping companies for cargo handling operations. He is an intelligent, practical person who knows the terrains, feels what other agents go though and understands the workings of ANLCA. He will engage these government agencies constructively so as to provide competitive and enabling environments for customs brokerage profession to thrive.
‘He won’t comprise welfare of members and they can be well assured that their welfare, be it operational or capacity growth, shall be adequately given attention by Emenike as the next president of the association,’ Ujubuonu assured ANLCA members.
On the payment of commission on duty to customs agents by the government, Ujubuonu said this is a fiscal policy issue of the government which government may view from the angle of loss but Emenike as the president of ANLCA would certainly approach it by convincing government on the need to pay it as an incentive.
He noted that the foray of foreigners into the customs brokerage in the country is worrisome as the presidential hopeful is also a victim of job and revenue losses the dominant presence of foreigners in the industry has caused. He assured that ANLCA under the leadership of Emenike will pragmatically handle the issue by engaging the necessary government arms particularly the legislature on the inherent economic advantages in making customs brokerage solely a Nigerian affair.
‘The issue of payment of commission on duty to customs agents is a fiscal policy which government may view from the angle of revenue loss. Emenike is an intelligent person and practical person who believes in due diligence and will certainly approach the issue by convincing government to see its advantage. Same will be the approach for the indigenisation of customs brokerage,’ he noted, assuring that customs agents particularly members of ANLCA will witness a better and robust working relationship with the Nigeria Customs Service based on trust and integrity on the part of both.
Speaking on the chances of Emenike winning the election, Ujubonu said ‘ANLCA is a democratic institution; the voting pattern and procedures are known. Those who are qualified to vote and be voted for equally are aware of the rules which are not tilted to favour any candidate. Emenike has sterling manifestoes; good programmes that are better than others. All these speak about the versatility, high integrity, quality and intelligence of our candidate, Emenike. His chances are very bright.’
Ujubuonu called on the voters to cast their vote for Emenike as the next president taking into account his leadership quality, candour, intelligence, integrity and visionary plans for the association. ‘Voters should look at the quality of leadership and personality Emenike represents. One thing is going for him – visionary plans, intelligence and integrity.’