After months of anxieties, the Western Zone arm of the Association of Nigeria Customs Licensed Agents, ANLCA, has sent the National President, Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike led National Executive Council Members, NECOM packing, riding on Nwabunike’s alleged anti-association activities believed to have manifested in the creation of factions within the group.
The Western Zone authority said the creation of factions in addition to alleged divisive tendencies by the embattled president’s has robbed off negatively on the professional enormous goodwill ANLCA has enjoyed over the years; and is obliged to respond to this threats meaningfully, by withdrawing total and official support to Nwabunike, and investing leadership authority on Mr. Emenike Nwakeoji, the man who contested and lost to the former, in April 2018.
Recall that despite the Board of Trustees, BoT, immediately following the general election, and in which Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha won with simple majority of five votes against three of his co-contestant, Chief Henry Njoku, the embattled ANLCA president appeared to have played up a strange script that almost invalidates the simple process to Njoku’s expected honorable exit through a so-called ’90 days grace period’ presidential intervention to allow Njoku quit and handover to Mustapha.
Considered the hub of ANLCA nationwide, the Western Zone said it has the responsibility to checkmate further decline of peace and harmony in the association, and has asked Nwabinike to stop parading himself as president until he vacates the court case challenging his victory at the election.
In a statement signed by the Western Zone Coordinator and Secretary, Sir John Ofobike and Alhaji Bayo Oyekangun, respectively, the Zone transferred authority to Nwokeoji and asked members to discontinue further official fraternity with Nwabunike. The statement reads in part:
“In view of the recent media declaration by Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike on the Board of Trustees issue, we hereby resolved and declared that we shall no longer recognize him as the president of ALNCA until the final determination of the case filed against him, challenging his purported victory in the last NECOM election.
“Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike refusal to recognize the outcome of the election that produced Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha is tantamount to standing truth on its head. It is on record that Tony Iju nwabunike became president after defeating Emenike Nwakeoji, with only 3 votes which resulted in the so-called manipulated victory. In the same vein, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha defeated Henry Njoku with 3 votes in the Board of Trustees election.
“On this note, we hereby recognize Mr. Emenike Nwakeoji as the President of ANLCA. We hereby enjoin all members of the Western Zone to refrain from participating in any ANLCA activities called by Tony Iju Nwabunike led NECOM.
“We would like to state categorically clear that membership of this great association in the Western Zone is not in any way tribal. Irrespective of our cultural and religious backgrounds, we remain committed to one indivisible united family with our brothers and sisters in the Eastern Zone.”
Even though stakeholders have expressed shock at the way and manner the embattled president has treated the BoT election, some said they have begun to suspect grimmer circumstances surrounding Nwabunike’s action as he continues to insist that a duly constituted process be scrapped and repeated. Last week, in an interview with Ports and Harbour, an online medium, Nwabunike called for the repeat of the Board election.
He was quoted as saying, “I don’t know why it is too difficult for them to have an election even if the first election has been held and Mustapha is saying that he has the highest number of votes. Let them do it in my presence or in the presence of NECOM or even me as an observer, then I will endorse them, whoever wins becomes automatically the chairman of my Board.”
Reacting, Chairman, BoT of the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria, AMJON, Elder Asu Beks faulted Nwabunike’s reported demand for the ANLCA BoT election to be re-run as unconstitutional. “Where is it written in the constitution of ANLCA that BoT election cannot hold because the president was not around? Is Nwabunike saying that NECOM meetings or BoT meetings cannot be held in his absence?”
ANLCA National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Sanni speaking through his social media platform lamented the present leadership laxity he says is even receiving unwarranted sympathy.
“Why are we quick to condemn wrong doings in the national political space of Nigeria, and then choose to overlook a glaring injustice/impunity being foisted on a professional, voluntary organization like ANLCA?
“I can say this on point of authority that in a NECOM meeting in May 2018 inside the National Secretary’s office, the NP, National President, came from a meeting with other BoT members and announced that a 3month’s period was agreed upon, within which the chairmanship position must change, in actualization of the outcome of the BoT election of 13/4/2018. Several months after the expiration of that tolerance/grace period, nothing has changed and yet, we still pretend that all is well? All we need now is to let justice prevail and every other thing will fall in place”, Sanni said.
Efforts by the embattled president to fight back albeit unconstitutionally through the deployment of kangaroo caretaker appointments of some persons to run the affairs of the western Zone, having purportedly sacked same at an Abuja meeting penultimate week, hit the wall following a judicial pronouncement in Lagos, divesting him of powers to sack and appoint; pending the outcome of appeal raised on the matter. Observers believe that Nwabunike appeared to have lost the leadership decorum to continue to lead a professional body like ANLCA.