…Hails ENSO’s Entry Into Race, Says ANLCA’s Restoration Moral Duty
BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
The presidential campaign team of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) of Mr. Emenike Nwokeoji and his running mate, Segun Oduntan (ENSO) yesterday received the unreserved endorsement of its former National President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu and former Board of Trustees (BoT) Vice Chairman, Chief Dennis Okafor, who separately enjoined members of the association to vote for the restoration agenda of ENSO.
Both former leaders noted that the task of rescuing the association from farther and likely total collapse by voting Nwokeoji and Oduntan has assumed a moral duty that whoever profess to love ANLCA and wish it well must undertake in the coming election; with every sense of responsibility.
The campaign train which arrived Okafor’s office at about 2pm had majority of the team in attendance, including supporters and chieftains of the association. After the Director General of the ENSO Campaign Organisation, Chief John Okafor presented the presidential candidate and his vice, he traced the history of the current decline and crisis to lack of capacity by the Iju Tony Nwabunike/Dr. Kayode Farinto’s leadership; including the underdog politicking of the latter, as well as the alleged divisive activities of Chief Henry Njoku, who he accused of setting off the current crisis by sitting put as BoT Chairman, even after a new chairman has emerged.
Taking turns to speak, Nwokeoji and Oduntan said their emergence to contest the offices was borne out of the genuine desire to stem the tide of deterioration of the fortunes of the association and its members and pledged that if elected, they would focus on the restoration of what has been lost in the past five years through a divisive leadership and narrow individual pursuits that was completely in dissonance with responsible and representative dispositions.
According to Nwokeoji, “It is very difficult not to answer the sincere calls of well meaning members of our association to step out and help to restore peace and rebuild the house that the unserious people who entered office since 2018 has destroyed.
“Prince Shittu together with my humble self and our team left a legacy, a big one for that matter, where ANLCA was not only respected but listened to and consulted. We have since lost that, it got so bad that even the customs service no longer see customs agents as partners in progress.
“Our team is determined to restore and reconnect with responsible representation and engagement, because what we need now is the capacity, the willingness and political will to come together again as one strong voice.”
On his own part, Oduntan said, “In the last dispensation, our profession was one we were all proud of, for some of us this is what has given us everything we have become, it is unfortunate that since 2018 when Iju and Farinto came on board, everything good about ANLCA has just been falling away.
“Stability matters to the life of every association, the power rotation we embraced has helped us to achieved so much peace and progress, why scuttle it? Those doing that don’t mean well for ANLCA, and you can all see that they cause some of this trouble just cover up for their lack of leadership capacity.
“We are asking for your support to get elected, our duty is to restore and rebuild confidence and the benefits we use to enjoy. We are not seeking for office to help us get our daily bread by surviving on association, we are bringing our resources, time and energy to fix the terrible damage this people have caused.”
Responding, Okafor noted that he was actually worried that some selfish members had plotted to derail the power rotation arrangement and was toying with the idea of picking the presidential form to protest non appearance of Igbo in the race that was meant to reside exclusively with the zone, until he heard that Nwokeoji has stepped out.
“We are having so many operational challenges because our leaders have shown that they don’t really know why they have been there. They just turned the job of nation building and robust engagements into a game of war and abuses, using the media. That is not how to grow and lead, because since that is the only thing they know how to do, this is where it has brought us, nobody reckon with us again.
“So l am very happy that Emenike and Segun have come out with their team, l am in total support of your team, please go in there and help us clean up, also help us to reconnect with government agencies and reopen positive engagements that will make customs agents and our association get back on track.”
This is even as Prince Shittu while responding said the time does not call for pretence, noting that ENSO restoration agenda is a moral duty that is incumbent on all those that truly loves ANLCA; and said he whole heartedly supports their emergence and agenda, and believe that they will deliver and bring to an end the locust years.
“As a former leader and elder, it is my duty to welcome all groups and wish them well. But the ENSO group is a very special one and is dear to my heart. We cannot continue to pretend that all is well, nothing is well in ANLCA anymore, therefore, l am totally in support of your team.
“I like your campaign slogan, restoration, that is what we want at this time, not self serving agenda of some people who think they own the association and can do as they please. Leadership is about service and stewardship, l feel personally sad that the ANLCA we built to international recognition have been brought down.
“ANLCA was an active member of FIATA, the presidency, the Finance Ministry, Nigeria Customs Service and its leadership and management, we were also on the same page with other critical stakeholders, and for all of that to go down just like that, it is painful.
“I thank Emenike and Segun and your team for coming out, remain firm and resolute, for all of us, your restoration government and voting in is a moral duty, so let me publicly say that you have my support one hundred percent, because l believe that your team will fulfill your campaign promise.”