By Wale Oni
“I want to run for the post of the Vice President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) because that is the position from which I can best help to move the association and the profession forward, and I promise to be 100 percent loyal to whoever emerges as the next National President.”
This is a quoted statement of Prince Ozo Chukwurah, one-time Western Zone Chairman of ANLCA and a well known Tincan Island Port based licensed customs agent in a chat with PortNewsNigeria in Lagos Wednesday 4th October, 2017.
Prince Chukwurah’s statement contradicts ANLCA’s well informed position that the presidency of ANLCA is zoned to the East after expiration of the tenure of the incumbent President, Olayiwola Shittu in 2018.
“Who stops a Yoruba man from contesting for president again, or a Hausa man from contesting? ANLCA is an association of equals, it is a level playing field where every bonafide agent can contest. The problem with us is that we have abused zoning system and it is damaging things. This zoning is not in our constitution.
“Why can’t Ozo serve as President?” He replies: ” I sincerely want to serve as the VP because that is where I can serve now in my capacity.”
The long-standing customs agent praised President Shittu for recording many landmarks for which posterity will remember him, but, however, blamed him for not grooming a successor in spite of the fact that he is the only ANLCA leader to have spent two official terms.
“This zoning problem has constrained President Shittu not to groom a successor, especially when he has limited his vision to the East which is why till date we have no front runners for the Presidency,” Ozo noted and quipped about prospective presidential candidates. “There is nothing wrong with Dr. Emma Opara, Tony Iju, or Emenike constesting for ANLCA Presidency. They are more than qualified to constest for that position. But the truth is that we all know them very well and their capacities,” he said.
According to Ozo, ANLCA needs those who can fight for its members at the operational field. ” President Shittu did not prioritse members welfare at the operational field. You are on your own, and our people therefore suffered under his administration. It has been real tough for agents in recent years as they have no leadership to fight their cause. The spirit is low, no enthusiasm, no love for one another and there is division. Therefore, we need now a dynamic, detribalised, forward looking and well meaning personality as the next president of ANLCA,” he declared.
On the releationship between ANLCA and International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA), Ozo averred that IFFA is complementary to ANLCA and has done so for close to twenty years.
“Eminent ANLCA members have been top members of IFFA for years and they are all loyal to ANLCA. Among them are Sir Ernest Elochukwu, Tedius Ifezue, Dr. Emma Oparah, Chief Peter Obih, Barrister Ada Akpononu, the late David Kanikwu, Oforbike, Don Onyeka and many more. Till date none of these persons has resigned his membership of IFFA,” he said.
Chukwurah blamed the apprehension about IFFA in high ANLCA, quarters, especially as expatiated recently by President Olayiwola Shittu on the perceived politics of exclusion by the present leadership of ANLCA. “Nowadays people who feel lonely and abandoned by ANLCA now run to and find succuor at IFFA. IFFA is not essentially a rival body to ANLCA, but a complementary body,” Ozo submitted.