Opara Pick Holes in CRFFN 2021 Governing Council Election Notice
BY FUNMI ALUKO
Outspoken registered Freight Forwarder and former member of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Chidi Anthony Opara, RFF, FIIM, has taken a swipe at the purported constitution of CRFFN’s forthcoming 2021 Governing Council Election, describing the effort as a fiasco, and “a case of putting something on nothing.”
The erudite practitioner also expressed dismay that the Minister of Transportation has allowed himself to be ridiculed for too long over CRFFN issues, most of which he said are founded on quicksand.
In his regular and popular commentary, Opara repudiated the September 2, 2021 notice about the forthcoming 2021 Governing Council election as either an effort in futility or one driven by sheer official rascality and total disregard for due process.
He accused the transportation minister of misapplying the provision of CRFFN Act 16 of 2007, in terms of the statutory role of the minister, which he said is been abused, with intent to overrun the independence and credibility of the regulatory body.
He averred that the minister lacks the powers being fraudulently arrogated by the ministry to manage the Council’s election, and subsequently called for credible consultation for the purpose of the forthcoming election.
In his letter titled “CRFFN’S Forthcoming 2021 Governing Council Election: a Case of Putting Something on Nothing”, Opara said.
“I feel somewhat awkward having to always correct the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) each time it takes its usual avoidable public missteps.
“I would really have liked to do these corrections privately if not that the “nobody should dictate to us” mindset of CRFFN management and Governing Council members makes any private correction attempt impossible.
“On the 2nd of September, 2021, information on the forthcoming 2021 Governing Council election was released and signed by a supposed Chair of the election Committee.”
He proceeded to counter positions adopted in the notice as unqualified, lawfully unsupported, with a verdict that the notification is null and void.
“In the release, the public was informed that the Minister of Transportation by the power conferred on him by section (2)(1)(f) of the CRFFN establishment act(act 16 of 2007), had constituted an election Committee to conduct the aforementioned election.
“Act 16 of 2007 which established CRFFN had the intendment of limiting the supervising Minister’s control to giving to the Governing Council (not the management), “directions of a general character or relating generally to particular matters (but not to any individual person or case)” (section 5(1)). This intendment is aimed at ensuring the independence and credibility of the regulatory body (CRFFN).
“I am at lost here how any reasonable person would interpret appointing an election Committee that is charged with the nitty gritty of conducting the 2021 Governing Council election as the Minister giving “directions of a general character or relating generally to particular matters (but not to any individual person or case)”.
He continues: “For the avoidance of doubts, the quoted section (2)(1)(f) does not confer on the Minister the power it is said to confer. This section only talks about the representatives of government agencies like Customs, etc on the Governing Council.
“In the absence of any established parameters for the conduct of the forthcoming 2021 Governing Council election, the CRFFN management should have after wide consultations with the stakeholders, constitute an election Committee for the conduct of the aforementioned election.
“Pushing such responsibility to the supervising Minister, amounts to putting something on nothing as the Minister of Transportation, though the supervising Minister, have no such power.”