ANLCA: The CCC Intervention Report
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
It is no longer news that the Customs Consultative Committee (CCC) Wednesday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja dialogued with both factions of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), aimed at returning peace to the battled weary association.
The ultimate news is that both sides agreed to eschew further crisis and also endorsed a mediated template for the administration of the association, inclusive of resolving the association’s election which has so far suffered a logjam.
In particular, both factions accepted to run with the template set by the mediator which included highly respected industry stakeholders and former leaders of the association, leading to the extension of the Dr. Kayode Farinto led National Executive Committee (NECOM) for two weeks, beginning from Wednesday; the takeover of the running of the association’s affairs by the Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha led Board of Trustees (BoT) as empanelled by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria(CRFFN); which is expected to work with the Association Electoral Committee (ASECO) to conduct NECOM election before the end of August this year.
The resolution which was exhaustive and far reaching, reportedly saw the gladiators in a relaxed, more friendly mood, and in the spirit of give and take, as they departed; also apparently leaving the mediators and other stakeholders present at the parley, with a huge sense of relief.
Additional highlights of the resolution included the agreement that every participant at the forthcoming election; whether as contestants or umpires (BoT and ASECO) must possess a valid practicing license as the minimum requirement; or to respectfully embark of self excuse and maintain the peace.
The mediators however identified certain drawbacks they believe is incompatible with the peace and wellbeing of an association, and advised against such tendencies in the renewed hope to nurse ANLCA back to health for the benefit of all as a one family.
Importantly the committee noted that whereas, the conflicts were not actually centred on individuals but rather misunderstandings bothering of association’s policy intentions; it however stated that part of the problems is a result of people losing elections and refusing to go; throwing up factional challenges with resultant multiple constitutions.
According to the committee, other indentified fault lines include the following:
- Crisis were triggered by election of members of the Board and Management.
- Election of individuals and appointment of persons into positions not done by merit, competence and capability but on sentimental factional basis and other primordial considerations
- Inability of CRFFN as the regulating body to give adequate professional direction.
- Disputes amongst members hastily taken to court without exhausting internal mechanism for resolving disputes.
- Members that lose elections do not accept defeat in good fate.
While the mediators recommended character, integrity and capacity as preconditions for the election of leaders, it urged contestants to conduct themselves with high sense of responsibility, and to also educate their supporters to eschew rancour and to behave responsibly.
Consequently, CCC recommended the adoption of the 2013 Constitution for the forthcoming election after which ANLCA may opt for a fresh constitutional amendment.
“The Association has been operating three versions of its constitution; i.e. the 2008, 2013 and 2020 constitutions. The 2013 version was the one registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, but they noted that the 2013 document was not ratified by the AGM.
“The house agreed that a constitutional amendment could be done, if need be, after all elections. They all share a common sentiment that the Association must be kept alive and all members are willing to make the necessary sacrifice to sustain it.”
The committee in its frank and honest intervention noted that the misunderstanding was largely characterized by individual ego and self centredness over and above the collective corporate interest; and urged members to pursue the path of professionalism and of growing the profession and industry at large.
The CCC intervention became necessary giving the intractable nature of the leadership schism that not only polarized the association and destroyed everything the preceding administration put in place, inclusive of the loses of focus and members benefits; but more so, concerns by stakeholders in the freight forwarding sub sector that the lingering crisis could have a multiplier negative effects on the overall wellbeing of the entire industry.
The Special Guest of Honour, immediate past Executive secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barr. Hassan Bello in a presentation titled “The Desirous Peace in ANLCA Administration as a Panacea for Professional Growth and Practitioners Well Being” lamented that whilst the crisis lingered, the profession and practitioners suffered.
He challenged ANLCA and its members to step up their understanding of logistics competence and world logistics passport, digitalisation of freight forwarding and supply chain services, adoption of cargo integrity concept with regards to load distribution; cargo securing; classification, documentation, declaration, ineffective data transfer and ease of doing business, amongst other trading dynamics.
He also urged the association leaders to seek ways of getting the federal government to consider approving a standard commission for customs brokers and freight forwarders like the 7percent annual commission been enjoyed by Nigeria Customs Service based on duty collection.
It was agreed that a press statement be jointly signed by the BoT Chairman and Vice Chairman “that an agreement has been reached on the present NECOM to round up in the next two weeks after which it will hand over the affairs of the Association to the Board while ASECO concludes the election within four weeks from today the 19TH of July 2023.”
Part of the resolution is the immediate withdrawal of all pending cases at the court by members, and the verification of the licenses of BoT members and ASECO as presently constituted by the CCC within one week, beginning from the date of the meeting, 19th July 2023.
The dialogue which was anchored the 7-Man ANLCA Leadership- Professional Mutual Accord Committee was constituted by the CCC Chairman, Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju, ably supported by other Committee members namely DCG Austen Warikoru (Rtd), ACG Liman Bello (Rtd), Mrs. CFO Ezenwa, Comptroller Victor Dimka (Rtd), Alh. Inua Mohammed and Dr Eugene Nweke; who served as the Committee Secretary.
Elders and past leaders invited to assist with peace dialogue are Chief Peter Eloka Okocha, Sir Ernest Elochukwu, Prince Shittu Olayiwola, Barrister Hassan Bello, Eze Amb. Damian Obianigwe, Chief Oye Ariyo, and Toyin Odeyemi.