BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
The Emenike Nwokeoji and Prince Segun Oduntan (ENSO) Restoration Team has again been assured of maximum support and votes in the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA) national leadership election tentatively fixed for 15th August 2023.
The assurances is coming from three chapters of the association namely, Ikorodu, Kirikiri and Apapa, also regarded as part of the major support base of the presidential contestant, Nwokeoji and his running mate, Oduntan, in the western zone, forecast for the victory of the ENSO Restoration, which has become more real and growing louder by the day.
At each of the chapters, Nwokeoji repeated the same message on the need to vote change that can turn around the misfortune of the past five years, and help to rebuild structures, reshape hopes and operating licenses in a manner that will translate into benefits for all practitioners, the strong and weak, alike.
He assured that he and his team will work round the clock to bring about a rebound in the cost benefits equation where members can once again have a sense of fulfillment that they can cater for themselves and their families with the profession they are into.
He also warned them against the gimmicks of persuasive and dramatic contestants whose only capacity he said is deceit and self centredness, and who he says, will only seek their individual interests once in office.
He said, “If those who have been there for five years did not only fail to impact our collective wellbeing, didn’t bother about small and struggling agents amongst us, but were busy all the time antagonizing the system and those who registered us have come again to ask for your votes, ask them to give account of their time in office.
“I heard they have promised to establish a customs brokerage institute, what we need now is the capacity to put food on the table, to train our children, and to be able to cater for our families, we have a body charged with training of customs brokers, so don’t get carried away with campaign lies.
“Many agents have died out of frustration, the moment you get an SGD, your BP rises because of what you will meet on the field. We have been there before and we engaged the customs service purposefully and positively, and co-existed like wife and husband. That is how it should be, don’t overheat our workplace and create enmity for others. Where there are issues, we engage and resolve them. We don’t go to town abusing them or engaging in frivolous petitions, that won’t take us anywhere.”
Addressing issues of operational challenges raised by some members, he said such issues will be looked into as a beginning point if voted into office, and challenged members to demand accountability and fulfillment of promises after a year in office.
“Those who know me know that many successful agents have passed through me, l am sure that all of you also know about my joint ticket with Prince Olayiwola Shittu durinh his administration, in our first term in office, we started the National Secretariat. We created friendly atmosphere for businesses to grow, we traveled and put ANLCA’s name in the world freight map; we will do that again, and give everyone reasons to be happy again.
“By the grace of God, l am comfortable, l am not asking for your vote to be president so that through it l can survive, no. I am offering myself for service, to serve you, to restore ANLCA, to make our job easier, to give all of us equal sense of fulfillment. You also know my Vice Oduntan, he is not hungry, we will use our resources, influence and connection to rebuild ANLCA and make it a proud place, because however you look at it, whatever we are today came from being customs clearing agents.
“I am here to give back and to add value, if you look at my team, we are all responsible people, with your vote, we will return to the good old days, and l ask you to demand for our performance record after one year. I am giving you that challenge.”
He also promised to champion the building of an Abuja Secretariat if elected.
“I and my team are resolute, we are also thinking about building another secretariat in Abuja, so that we can be near those in power and continue to engage at closer range.”
Also speaking, Prince Oduntan assured their members across the three chapters that Nwokeoji’s emergence does not only provide fair and just balancing for Igbo practitioners in ANLCA, whom he said are wholly entitled to participate in the current presidential election, he said Nwokeoji has proven track record of competence and trust, and challenged the Igbos not to fall for propaganda but to vote en-mass for Nwokeoji who is carrying the ticket of the region.
“I have always said that this presidential contest is between our Igbo brothers, it is an arrangement that has been ongoing, under that arrangement, Prince Shittu and oga here (Nwokeoji) did two terms and there was power shift to the South East. Iju (Tony Iju Nwabunike) was doing fine boy and allowed some people that you all know, derail his administration and what happened at the end of the day? He ran away when the problem became too much.
“It is not the turn of Yoruba to contest the presidential election, it is the turn of the Igbo. This is your brother, l am speaking to Igbo members now, be wise, this is your own, vote for him. This one (Nwokeoji) will not run away, we all know him, his records are there, we trust him, we trust his capability to deliver and rescue ANLCA.
“Why are we doing this? So that he can bring back the good old days, so that we can work and see the benefits. By the grace of God l can take care of myself anywhere, but how many of us can? In ANLCA we are all joiners, so l am supporting Emenike as a spare driver to bring back the old good time. My own is to advise, his own is to drive the process. I will not challenge his authority like some people challenged their boss; open your eyes and vote the restoration team.”
All the chapter chairmen, except Apapa who was represented by the chapter Public Relations Officer, pledged to deliver their bloc votes as they urged their members to rise up to support change if they earnestly desire a better future which they assured can only come from the Nwokeoji restoration team.
As has been customary with the ENSO Team, Nwokeoji, Oduntan and leaders of the chapters began their campaigns after paying courtesy call to the respective customs command controllers, to alert them of their visit and to share their vision and campaign manifesto; centred on the restoration of the association that has suffered wholesale depreciation, said to have been damaged and badgered by ill manners and lack of leadership capacity in the past five years.
Responding to the ENSO Team visit, Customs Area Controller of Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command, Comptroller Timi Bomodi appealed that all contestants in the forthcoming election should exhibit sportsmanship spirit and ensure that there is partnership after the contest has been won and lost.
Bomodi who was represented by the DC Revenue, said, “The customs service and customs agents are collaborators in revenue generation for the country, and we value your partnership. As your association prepares to elect a new leadership, we wish you well and advise that it should be rancour free.
“As you go about campaigning, let it be issue based like they say, because at the end of the election, all of you are still one. So l will advise that after the election, the spirit of sportsmanship should prevail and the loser and winner should join hands to work together”, she said.