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‘Ministry romancing those usurping Council authority’ – Aare Olarewaju

Former Governing Council Chairman, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Aare Hakeem Olaranwaju has appealed to the Minister of Transportation and Permanent Secretary to desist from cuddling and conceding grounds to certain elements within the Accredited Member Associations, if CRFFN must maintain its role as an effective regulator.
Aare Olarewaju lamented that the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) and CRFFN have for too long, compromised on their roles and allowed the regulated to usurp their powers, while making pretensions to being the regulator, thereby creating an atmosphere or extreme lawlessness, official weakness and avoidable rancor which appears to be undermining governmental authority of what constitutes law and order.
The former Board Council Chairman in a statement made available to our reporter said unless the CRFFN stops the unacceptable romance and asserts its authority as regulator with constitutional overriding powers; it may fail in its duty to secure a fair and credible 2021 Governing Board Council election.
He recommended that the supervising FMOT should as a matter of obligation disqualify non financial members of the Council from leading political action plans and or, making attempts to tele-guide the CRFFN or the Ministry on what is appropriate, as opposed to the dictates of the CRFFN Act.
In addition, he enjoined the Minister and Perm Sec to review the imposition of seventeen (17) government officials into the Governing Board Council; describing their presence in the board as lacking in moral, ethical and official authority.
Aare Olarewaju argued that once these two recommendations are carried out sincerely and honestly, the apparent air of hooliganism and disruptive tendencies of certain characters in the Council will cease, and thereto discipline, harmony, peace, fairness and equity will be restored.
Aare Olarewaju urged the Ministry of Transportation Perm Sec, Dr. Magdalene Ajani to resist attempts by the Accredited Associations to tele-guide or impose their ideas on the ministry and the CRFFN; and to reject the proposed Council Membership Sharing Formula, in the light of its inconsistency with the rules of the Council.
He lamented that the ongoing show of power by the leadership of some of the accredited associations is gaining space because the ministry appeared to have demonstrated lack of capacity or have compromised; even as he appealed that the ministry must summon the courage to break the shackle of intimidation and assert its authority to ensure that the Governing Board Election does not end up a charade.
He also took a swipe at the pioneer Chairman of CRFFN and current National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), for promoting the controversial Council membership sharing formula.
His open letter to Dr. Ajani reads: “0n behalf of the well meaning practicing Freight Forwarders in the subsector of our Maritime Industry, I want to use this medium to express our profound gratitude for your prompt intervention aimed at not just saving the Freight Forwarding profession from potential anarchy but salvaging it from professional ridicules which self-centered and greedy leaders were deliberately poised to inflict on it.
“Madam Permanent Secretary, having listened to your reasons that prompted your official postponement of the inadequately structured electioneering processes for electing the 15 practicing Freight Forwarders into the CRFFN Governing Council, on the discovery that there was no formal stakeholders engagements or interactive session before rolling out the electoral guidelines and time table, indeed there is a proof that you are a seasoned and listening administrator per excellence.
“Your admonitions to the leadership of the accredited Associations and by extension stakeholders at the meeting, especially upholding to the intents and provisions of the CRFFN Act 16 2007, and the advice that the Forwarders , especially the gladiators within, should consider the interest of the profession over and above other interests, is very apt.
Offering a number of suggestion oh how best to get out of the apparent stalemate, Aare Olarewaju presented the following suggestions.
In the first governing council, following the advise of Barrister Mrs. Mfon Usoro (consultant and co-promoter of the bill , now Act 16, 2007, the appointments of geopolitical zones into the governing council was made from within the practitioners.
“It was with respect to the intent and true reflection of a professional regulatory governing council and not an advisory board. The appointed government agencies nominees were picked from each agency departments related with freight & logistics concerns, this made room for balanced and ease of regulation making processes.
“You are right at observing the abysmal performance that trailed the past governing council. Apart from presenting or fielding practitioners with less interest and commitments towards the development of the profession, a major impediment stems from the number of the appointed politicians representing the geopolitical zones. Added to the other appointed government agencies nominees making it 17 board members, way surpassing the 15 elected Freight Forwarders into the governing council 32 members. In this case the mindsets of the politicians (budgetary interests) and the mindsets of the elected professionals (presumably professionals issues), but were carried away by quest for affluence. We were never at par, hence, other than regulatory formulation objectives, scrambling and partition set in, subsequently, the politicians had their way, the elected fell prey, and the management team were divided into camps.
“Please look at these existing misgivings and be resolute with your earlier position that credible Freight Forwarders should be allowed to contest professional election with or without membership of an association.”
“One of the administrative challenges the first and second governing council contended with, was the subtle moves to take over regulatory powers from the Governing Council members and the management team.
“It was on the strength of the 2010 regulation that the governing council organized the first Freight Forwarders Summit, and thereby concluded the accreditation of the 5 freight forwarding associations, and through their respective presidents, taking of oath of allegiance to the CRFFN. Subsequently, the CRFFN Flag was handed over to them as a symbol of authority.
“The 2021 regulations was duly rectified for onward transmission and legislative attention. Among other unique ingredients contained in the 2011 regulations, was the statutory categorization of the accredited association and their corresponding annual subscription fees. Another ingredient was the standards trading conditions STC and the professional scale of charges. This regulation was pending before the tenure expiration in 2012.
“Suffice to note here, that beyond 2012, the formal presidents of ANLCA and NAGAFF, paid their membership registration fees of #500,000:00 (five hundred thousand) each to the CRFFN Purse, but not in the picture if they paid their annual subscriptions fees.
“The emphasis being that, it is an act of injustice and a negation to regulatory principles where the Act recognizes three (3) types of membership: (Individual membership, Corporate membership and Associations Membership). Both categories are prone to the payment of registration and annual subscription fees.
“Sadly, only the Corporate and Individual Membership pays both Membership Registration and Annual Subscription Fees to the CRFFN, while the Accredited Association stays aloof in its comfort zones to tele-guide the Governing Council. For instance, insisting and joining issues with the management on their due percentage from the POF collection.
“At this point, you may wish to ask what the Accredited Associations bring to the CRFFN table, other than fielding candidates that will oppose ideas that portend to change the status. Ideally Accredited Associations are meant to serve as a professional pool of the CRFFN, but rather it attempts to equate itself with the CRFFN, and even engage in power tussle with the CRFFN.
“Against this background, you can appreciate the reasons behind the so called sharing formula of 6:6:1:1:1. For reference sake, I will leave the burden of professional integrity on the doors of the pioneer governing council chairman, now a national president, but suddenly turned a promoter of election sharing formula.”
Aare Olarewaju argued that if sharing formula of 6:6:1:1;1 was in place in 2008, the pioneer chairman would not have won election into the Governing Council in absentia.
“There are many issues, but just to mention the once that relates to the issues of the moment. Let me conclude by saying that the concerned Freight Forwarders are watching with interest, the latest unprofessional ambushing perfected by the Accredited Associations, coded as 6:6:1:1:1.
“It is on record that with its introduction in 2018 through arm twisting , this ideas was launched from the backdoors. Since then till date, the promoters of the unholy alliance never see the need to use their alliance to tackle the numerous professional operational challenges facing practitioners.
“But as soon as another election is announced, once boastful one among them now resorts to realignment for an unprofessional election processes. So, they can only agree when it comes to election sharing formula and the POF sharing percentages.
“Madam, you have our total support towards organizing an all inclusive , transparent, free, fair and most credible CRFFN Freight Forwarding professional election 2021.”

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