By Gboyega Oni
A contestant for the Vice Chairmanship of Murtala Mohammed International Airport Ikeja chapter of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in the December 2018 elections, Alhaji Dr. Abdul-Azeez Afolabi, has assured teeming members of the chapter of a more robust and effective administration if he is elected as the Vice Chairman of the association.
Alhaji Dr. Afolabi equally promised to work assiduously with the elected chairman to further strengthen the relationship already built by the association with all aviation stakeholders to achieve all the developmental plans in their manifestoes for the overall betterment of ANLCA members at the foremost airport.
Afolabi who is the Managing Director of CargoZeal Technologies Limited, a leading freight forwarding company, stated this in a chat with PortNews at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport at Ikeja on Monday December 3, 2018.
He said further: ‘’Members will expect more from me. Already they are getting more in terms of my robust and effective administration of my office as the incumbent Treasurer. They should expect more of that; I am ready to offer them the best.
‘’Our relationship with all agencies including that of government in the airport is very cordial and coming as the Vice Chairman, my duty will be to assist the elected Chairman to further strengthen the relationship in fulfilment of our manifestoes in the overall interest of our members.’’
When asked why he was going for the Vice Chairman and not the Chairman taking into account his pedigree as a distinguished freight forwarder with enviable antecedents in the association, the suave businessman noted that he very qualified to contest for the position of the chairman but chose to vie for office of the vice chairman because he believed he could function effectively in that capacity and offer best service for the association.
‘’In life, it is all about doing things that you feel you are capable of doing. After serving as the financial secretary and now as the incumbent treasurer, the position where I can function effectively now is the vice chairman. That I am going for the vice chairman does not mean that I am not qualified; everything is capability,’’ stressed the CargoZeal boss, who maintained that he has aligned with the winning team towards victory.
On the dominance of the south over the north in elective offices particularly that of the chairman, Alhaji Azeez debunked any dominance, saying that ‘’there is an arrangement but not constitutional. What our constitution says is that if you are qualified and you have what it takes you are free to contest for any office in the association. There are precedents and procedures but this is an association not a political party; what matters most is the interest of members. We work together irrespective of where you come from, either north or south.’’
On the state of cargo operations in the airport, he noted that there were a lot of bottlenecks which impeded trade facilitation as cargo, which was supposed to be cleared in 48 hours, took a week or more, stating that there was need for improvement both from the government and private stakeholders.
He was of the opinion that the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS 1) recently introduced by the Customs has brought a change in the system which some bad elements both in among customs officers and customs agents alike found difficult to adapt to because of greed.
‘’They never want the system to work either as agents or customs. We are going to improve in that area by sensitising our members. And we are going to train and retrain them on NICIS 1; this will definitely change their mindsets and boost trade facilitation,’’ submitted the CargoZeal boss.