‘Conduct Council Election, Don’t Succumb To Threats’ -Stakeholders tells Amaechi
BY EGUONO OJEGBA
Horrified by the veiled threats and shameful scheme to intimidate the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi and top officials of the ministry by some desperate and politically inclined industry players, a group known as Concerned Independent Contestants- CRFFN GOVERNIING COUNCIL ELECTION 2021, called on the minister to ignore such threats and go ahead with the planned election.
In an open letter do the minister, Fwdr Chukwuemeka Godfrey Nwosu, who signed the letter on behalf of the group described those issuing veiled threats to boycott the Council Board Election as professional politicians without ethical scruples; noting that they are impostors with backlog of financial obligations, who are only interested in using the board as a springboard to build their political profile and fester their financial desire.
The group notes that the threats to withdraw participation in the election is a subtle blackmail to gain undue attention, and urged the minister to ignore those pulling the stunts, further noting that the Registered Association is not known to law; and that whatever attention it is seeking cannot and should not be accommodated in the official businesses of the CRFFN.
Godfrey Nwosu and his group described those threatening withdrawal of participation at the Council Board Election as “political parties” seeking to “hijack the forthcoming election”. They further urged the minister to respect and uphold the position of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani on the need to allow the rules of engagement prevail; rather than courting sentiments.
The Concerned Independent Contestants described the actions of the Registered Association of CRFFN as “weak barking”, stating that their accusation that the ministry is violating the CRFFN Act is akin to the “pot calling the kettle black”.
The letter reads: “Honorable Minister Sir we read online the unfortunate and weak barking echoing from the table of some industry Political parties in the freight forwarding subsector of the maritime industry, who chooses to code name themselves as registered associations under the CRFFN.
“This political parties in their attempt to hijack the forthcoming election arose from a meeting where they x-rayed the bitter truth and counseling by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry during the recent stakeholders meeting at Eko Hotels in Lagos, as they find it difficult to accept the reality of the moment as it were, especially in the context of the provisions of Act 16 2007.
“Their resort to threatening the Honorable Minister, that they (industry political parties) and its “members may back out of the forthcoming CRFFN election 2021 if the transportation ministry continues to violate the provisions of the act”.
“This allegation of violation of the provisions of the Act 16 2007 purely is a case of the “pot calling the kettle black”, because themselves are in breaches of the CRFFN Act 16 2007 provisions.”
The contestants argued that the CRFFN Act recognizes registered individual freight forwarders and not registered freight forwarding associations, as being erroneously canvassed by those out to play politics.
“Honorable Minister, what is known in the CRFFN Act via Regulation 2010 is the Accredited Freight Forwarding Associations in Nigeria, the CRFFN does not have the legislative powers to register associations.
“Presently, there exists in the freight forwarding sub-sector of the maritime industry, not less than 20 different freight forwarding related Associations and groupings all duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission. The CRFFN can only register individual practicing freight forwarders as Practitioners and not freight forwarding Association. Reason for the choice words: “accredited freight forwarding associations” is obvious in this regards.”
The Nwosu group traced the scheming and apparent intimidations as plot to have control of the machinery of the Governing Board Council through the so-called 6:6:1:1:1 board membership sharing formula.
“This so-called Political parties masquerading as registered associations with CRFFN, devised a political arithmetic Coded 6:6:1:1:1 for the purpose of rigging the CRFFN Governing Council Election 2021.
“Honorable Minister, it is an irony these industry Political leaders are vehemently turning a professionally driven arena into a political theatre even doing so with impunity. The need to wield Professional hammer to instill professional discipline promptly cannot be over emphasized.
“In furtherance to the actualization of their political arithmetic coded 6:6:1:1: the parties brought their nightmares to the fore , when it noted that; “And for the records it is important that we inform the Hon. minister of Transportation that all of the so called individual contestants are members of NAGAFF. Dr Eugene Nweke and Dr. Increase Uche for instance are former and seating president of NAGAFF respectively. Both of them have been members of the council board”.”
The group noted that the fear of the professional disposition of Uche and Nweke is apparent, hence the twist and convoluted conspiracy to mislead the ministry.
“The truth is that, they are merely afraid of this individual’s Professional disposition in the industry, especially in their insistence to evolve and sustain Professionalism in the freight forwarding profession other than ambushing and tactically resisting every regulatory policy that will checkmate the excesses of Accredited associations especially in their current posture of hyping and parading themselves as above regulation.
“Funny enough, 85% of stooges being fronted in this political arithmetic are all seeking for reelection into the Governing Council, so who is fooling who.”
Providing more clarification on the CRFFN Act, in relation to the board council election, the group said, “Honounorable Minister, permits us, to set the records straight, sir. For all intents, character and regulatory purposes, the Act 16, 2007 does not organize nor recognizes the accredited associations as party to contest or vote in any CRFFN Governing Council Election.
“The Act does not mince words by its choice of explanation in stating that an election shall be “organize for 15 registered freight forwarders, whose names are registered in the Register of freight forwarders in Nigeria, and not for the freight forwarding accredited associations with the CRFFN.”
It continues: “In their usual display of arrogance, with a profound mentality of overlords, they are so confidence and preemptive of the Electoral Committee screening outcome, hence, they went ahead to flood the online industry platforms, ports & terminal gates with their re-elect campaign posters.”
The group accused the Registered Freight Forwarders Association of compromising the Electoral Committee set up by the minister, to conduct a secret screening exercise, calculated to screen out qualified and bona-fide freight forwarders.
“The pertinent questions from the concerned Independent contestants is; “Did the electoral committee conduct a secret screening exercise behind the independent Contestants thereby, giving preferences to the stooges over and above the independent Contestants?.
“Honorable Minister, we wish to urge you to support the Permanent Secretary in her public statement and promise that the Governing Council Election shall be conducted in the letter and provision of the Act 16 2007. Please do not take this unjustified ranting by parties who defaults in their Accreditation and annual subscription fees.”
The group also informed the minister of the existence of an order by the governing council board since 2012, to introduce the FEDERATION OF NIGERIA FREIGHT FORWARDERS’ ASSOCIATION, in line with FIATA protocol.
“May we also inform the Honorable Minister that, there is Regulation passed by the formal Governing Council, waiting for the official with the legislature since 2012, the Regulations is to give birth to the FEDERATION OF NIGERIA FREIGHT FORWARDERS’ ASSOCIATION.
“The essence is that, upon the rebirth of this federation it will be the single mouth piece or voice of the freight forwarders in Nigeria, this is in addition to prepare to take its appropriate place and status with the FIATA thereby replacing the CRFFN registration with the FIATA which was done on temporary basis.
“The Federation is all inclusive, but the last Governing Council dominated by the stooges of the industry political parties ignored this goal, just to ensure that other Associations don’t smell accreditation of the CRFFN.”
To press home its commitment to partner the ministry to achieve credible governing board council election, the group appealed to the minister to set up a different committee to do a tidy job, and secondly, for Amaechi to continue with the election process.
“Honorable Minister, the act provides for accreditation or de-accreditation of Associations and corporate institutions; register and deregister, registered freight forwarders. You may wish to set up an independent Committee to review the activities of the accredited Associations giving the parameter of Professional performance indicators.
“Please be decisive and stay resolute in adherence to the provisions of the Act 16 2007. Do not fall for the cheap threats of backing out from the election, go ahead and direct for the conduct of the election of 15 registered freight forwarders into the Governing Council. Doing so is fulfilling the provisions of the CRFFN Act.”