ANLCA leadership Crisis: Gladiators commit to amicable settlement
BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
After a four year interminable darkness that enveloped the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) over leadership crisis, a glimmer of light for amicable settlement and a return to normalcy and peace presented itself last Tuesday, as the warring leaders approached the dialogue table.
The dialogue believed to have been brokered by the Nigerian Police in its commitment to promote public peace and security, had heavy weight representatives from the two warring factions; the registered Board of Trustees (BoT) and the National Executive Committee (NECOM).
Chairman of the registered BoT, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha who confirmed the development, said that although no definite agreement has been reached, he admitted that the dialogue was robust with strong promise to ending the stalemate very soon.
The dialogue he said was a culmination of prior efforts especially by the BoT to end the crisis which he described as unfortunate and unwarranted; even as he expressed happiness that the matter has received sufficient mutual commitment to put behind them their differences.
He also confirmed that the dialogue took place at the Lagos State Command of the Nigerian Police Force Ikeja, presided over by the Commissioner of Police, apparently at the instance of the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba; who Mustapha said has shown rare professional and leadership understanding in the bid to help to resolve the crisis.
According to the amiable BoT chairman who have continually espoused peaceful approach to the crisis, he said during the dialogue, the BoT conceded the elections conducted by NECOM in the North, East and Abuja, and demanded in exchange that the NECOM should also concede the Western Zone elections conducted by the BoT; with the exception of Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA) Chapter, which he said is still been discussed because of the unique political atmosphere there.
On the issue of the one additional year tenure elongation hitherto opposed to by the BoT, Mustapha said, “If NECOM is ready to take one year to their tenure, all chapters should be allowed to do same without exception.”
Explaining the MMA political dilemma, he said tact and selflessness is required to produce an acceptable agreement because the chapter chairmanship position has been zoned exclusively to members from the South West.
“Airport is a little peculiar, and l think that much of the result will depend on how sincere and selfless we want to be in re-uniting and in picking back our pieces. There are three contenders for the chairmanship slot; my position is that since all the three contenders are Yoruba, members who are Yorubas whether from BoT or NECOM should apply tact. We can hold meeting with the three of them …the Yorubas have three tenure to run at MMA before it moves to the turn of our Igbo brothers.
“Each of them with their groups (other executives) can run one term each, whether you win or loss election, we need to be creative at this time to be able to recreate quicker oneness and harmony. If we again go a step further like we did on Tuesday, there is no reason why we cannot settle the matter.”
He continues: “I have always said that our quarrel and fight was unnecessary and very lamentable, there was no genuine reasons to have allowed the crisis to take this length of time, but it’s okay, the important thing is that the ANLCA family is now ready to reunite. I feel very happy at the prospect, because to tell you the truth, only a foolish man will allow a family estate to go waste under his leadership.
“I must also particularly single out the leadership of the Nigerian Police for thanks, from the IGP down to the Zonal AIG and State Commissioner, and even those at the Area Command level…honestly l didn’t know that the police engage in dispute resolution and diplomatic relations.
“They have been extremely wonderful in helping us to calm down and advising us to stick together. I learnt quite some useful leadership lesson from them.”
Also speaking on the development, the estranged National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Sanni , towed the position of the BoT chairman, saying that although dialogue have begun, he said matter of fact that no agreement has been reached.
Sanni debunked the settlement as mere rumor in a terse telephone response to our reporter’s inquiry about the development, while also hinting that the National Secretariat that has been under lock will be opened to everybody to aid the dialogue.
His words, “We have met and we are dialoguing. No agreement was reached. The secretariat may be opened for all members within the following week, and we will take it (dialogue) up from there.”
It will be recall that the ANLCA Constitution was amended in 2020 at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) conducted in Owerri, Imo State by NECOM. This constitution extended the tenure in office for NECOM officials from four years to five years single term, while the tenure of chapter executives was also raised by an additional year, from three to four years.
While grapevine sources report that both parties have agreed to allow the amended constitution stay, the import according to those whose business it is to know say estranged NECOM members like the former Western Zone Coordinator, Chief John Oforbike; former National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Sanni, are billed to resume back in office to finish their tenure alongside the embattled National President, Tony Nwabuinike led NECOM.
It will be further recall that both Oforbike and Sanni were part of the erstwhile NECOM that parted ways with the NECOM, following a court order in 2019 that directed NECOM members to stop parading themselves in office.
It is reported that a 4-man Committee has been set up to document all the resolutions and return to the police to table the final resolutions. The committee is believed to be composed of Dr Kayode Farinto, Prince Segun Oduntan, Sir John Oforbike and Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila.