By Gboyega Oni
The Mustapha faction of Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has categorically told the National President of the association, Honourable Tony Iju Nwabunike that he has no power and he is not empowered constitutionally to sack any elected official of the association.
The President sacked the eight chapter chairmen of the Western Zone of the association yesterday in Abuja after the meeting of the National Executive Council of the association which said to have been attended solely by members of the Sir Henry Njoku BOT loyal to the President.
The President also sacked Chairman of Western Zone, Sir John Oforbike and appointed Otunba Sunday Oyebola to replace him. Also sacked was the National Publicity Secretary of the association, Joe Sanni. He was replaced with Obicee Okonkwo.
Priory before the sacking of Sanni, according to information, Okonkwo, a loyalist of the President, had been undermining office and functions of Joe Sanni and this however led to infighting between the two of them. Obicee Okonkwo had occupied the office during the first tenure of Prince Olayiwola Shittu who denied him a second chance. Undermining Sanni is a way to show that his group in ANLCA in control.
The President said he sacked the chairmen for alleged indiscipline and flagrant abuse of the ANLCA constitution by boycotting the NEC meeting and recognition of Emenike Nwokoeji as their President.
Emenike Nwokoeji, the presidential candidate who was supported by the immediate former President of the association, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, was defeated by the incumbent president, Tony Iju Nwabunike, in the March presidential election of the association.
The affected chapters and chairmen were Prince Segun Oduntan of Tincan Chapter, Comrade Goddy Soleji of KLT and Elder Oluwole Obe of PTML. Others were Seme, Apapa, MMA, Idi Iroko and Lilypond. At Tincan, Ojo Akintayo was appointed to replace Oduntan, Patrick Ozubiolu appointed to take charge of Ijora and Femi Olabanji to administer Apapa.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with PortNews on the development, Prince Taye Oyeniyi, Secretary of the Mustapha BOT, declared that the President does not have power under the ANLCA constitution to sack any elected official, and the sacking is lawlessness and unknown to the constitution.
‘’Under what constitution is that? Is it possible? It is against our constitution. He has no power to sack elected officials. What he has done is illegality and it can never stand,’’ said Oyeniyi, a long-standing chieftain of ANLCA.
Bearing his mind on the sacking, Chairman of Tincan chapter, Prince Segun Oduntan, who was affected in the sacking, said there was nothing like that and there was no way they could be sacked because they were not present at their purported NEC meeting in Abuja.
‘’How can somebody we do not work with sack us? Their purported BOT meeting was attended only by members who are loyal to the president and Henry Njoku BOT. There is no way they can sack us since we were not at their meeting. The next line of action shall be taken by our leaders; Alhaji Mustapha and Prince Taye Oyeniyi who will speak authoritatively on the matter,’’ noted Oduntan.
To Mr. Joe Sanni, the National Publicity Secretary of ANLCA, the sacking was a total violation of the constitution of the association and an exercise in futility, as the constitution does not give such power to the president.
He described the hurriedly NEC meeting in Abuja as a constitutional travesty which was dominated by appointees of the President, most without operational and current Customs licenses, who sat in judgment over duly elected officials of NECOM, Western Zone officers and chapters.
‘’Information reaching me last evening shows that an emergency National Executive Council (ENEC) hurriedly put together by the National Vice President and National Secretary, in active cooperation with the National President and his PSO, has been used to commit a constitutional travesty.
‘’The so called NEC, dominated by appointees of the President, most without operational and current Customs licenses, sat in judgment over duly elected officials of NECOM, Western Zone officers and chapters, without as much exploring due process or due diligence. Sounds like primitive desperation in a purely democratic set up.
‘’Fact is, those that sat in judgment over especially the NECOM and Zonal officers have no constitutional right to do so. Under the emergency powers of the President – Section 30, he is only limited to taking actions against chapters executives and he must report such actions in writing to the Board of Trustees for approval or reviews.
’’Appointing administrators to Western Zone chapters (except MMI Airport) amounts to legitimizing injustice, where you act as the accuser, prosecutor and the judge all rolled into one. This definitely is a miscarriage of justice and it cannot stand an integrity and morality test. It is purely political brigandage. So, what is the offence of those who picked up nomination forms to contest offices in Western Zone, and now being deprived of the opportunity to stand elections, by appointing some other co-contestants as administrators?’’ asked Sanni.
Sanni who said attending NEC meeting is not by force constitutionally said ‘’the duo of Henry Njoku and Tony Iju Nwabunike are deliberately out to cause maximum damage to ANLCA, especially in Western Zone. Both of them have decided to stand truth and logic on its head. They have also decided to destroy ANLCA by allowing non-members (IFFA & NAGAFF-Linked) to infiltrate ANLCA, by appointing some of them. This is unheard of anywhere in the world where you allow strangers to intentionally take over your home.
‘’For Tony not to recognize that 5 is greater than 3, was his greatest undoing, stretched to the fact that he tactlessly endorsed 3 as greater than 5 publicly, without retracting such statement and, even asking all BOT members to come to Abuja to re-conduct the BOT chairmanship elections in his presence, shows he knows nothing about democracy and political leadership.
‘’Tony just lacks the capacity to lead an Association as great as ANLCA of a little less than 2000 corporate members. What will then happen if saddled with bigger responsibilities? Your guess is as good as mine.
For now, I am restricting myself to re-laying the facts bare, as I have earlier done, before zeroing in on the persons that are taking the greater members of ANLCA for a ride. Could Tony in all sincerity (I wonder if he is ever) swear that no elections took place in the BOT, from where he stepped out to be elected as National President?
‘’Even if he answers is in the negative, does he think that the 5 men of character and means, who elected one of them as the BOT chairman, in the person of Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, are dummies, who do not have brains?’’ asked Sanni.
According to him, the Abuja NEC was illegality and could never legalize the injustice of 3 greater than 5. ‘’Let it be known that no pronouncement emanating from the unconstitutional NEC in Abuja will be respected and will definitely be unacceptable. All elected members of ANLCA cannot be suspended without following the constitution. And until that is done, no amount of grandstanding by infiltrators into ANLCA can shake a hair of those purportedly suspended.
‘’The battle line surely has been drawn between the truth and lies, between light and darkness, and between the real ANLCA and pretenders in ANLCA.’’