After a protracted leadership crisis lasting over four years between the registered Board of Trustees, BoT, and the National Executive Committee,NECOM, of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, the former has sent the latter packing which is believed to have exceeded it’s lawful tenure in office by about five months.
However, the sack has thrown up echoes of disquiet as two of the affected national officers, the esrtwhile Acting National President, Dr. Kayode Farinto and the former
National Secretary, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila have accused the Lagos Police Commissioner, Abiodun Alabi of biased support for the board of trustees.
Until the latest development Wednesday, Dr. Kayode Farinto was the acting National President, following the absence of leave of the substantive National President,
lju Tony Nwabunike.
The Chairman BoT, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha told Vanguard Maritime Report that the decision to send the former executive packing followed the expiration of their term constitutional term and alleged plot to extend their stay in office by deploying sit-tight tactics; including allegedly
perpetuating various kinds of illegalities that has negatively rubbed off on the integrity and long standing image of the association.
Following the sack last Wednesday, the Mustapha led BoT appointed an interim committee led by Mr. Pius Ujubonu to run the affairs of the association for the next six months, pending a fresh general election.
However, reacting, Farinto described the sack as a joke saying the NECOM led by him in acting capacity remain the constituted authority, even as he accused the Lagos Command of the Nigeria Police of providing the BoT protection to take possession of the association national secretariat known as Inde Dikko House, located at Amuwo Odofin lndustrial Estate, Lagos.
Heading the interim NECOM in acting capacity is Mr. Pius Ujubonu appointed by the board as National President
with Jamiu Adeyinka, Vice President; Joe Sanni, National Secretary; Francis Ituah, National Publicity Secretary; Alhaji Usman, Treasurer; and Waheed Gbadamosi, Financial Secretary.
At the zonal level is Sir John Oforbike, Leader Western Zone, Sanusi Waking, Leader Northern Zone; and Obi Chima Leader Eastern Zone.
According to the board, the Farinto led NECOM not only appropriated ownership of the national secretariat through acts of lawlessness, part of which includes refusing members and the board access to the secretariat, and allegedly using the name of the association to blackmail institutions of government; and generally treating the secretariat as their private property and as parking lot for their personal vehicles.
Mustapha also accused the sacked NECOM of willfully locking up the secretariat against over two thousand members who are joint owners, all in the bid to allegedly continue in office albeit illegally.
He urged industry stakeholders including government institutions to dessist from according the sacked national leaders including Farinto, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila and others official recognition, describing them as impostors.
Mustapha said: “One of the mandate I have as Chairman of the BoT today is to pronounce that the NECOM have been dissolved. Their tenure by virtue of the democratic process has since ended, whatever constitution amendment they purportedly carried out in Owerri remains null and void.
“In line with section 13C of the Supreme constitution of ANLCA, we pronounce that there would be an interim government that would run the association. The Board is empowered to run the association for six months, but we are transferring that power to the interim executives for a period of either 3-months or 6-months,” he said.
He accused the Iju Nwabunike’s camp of wishfully frustrating all peaceful initiatives to resolve all forms of misunderstandings that has thrown the association into crisis in the past four years, just so to sit tight and serve it’s personal interests.
“The climax of the whole crisis was when the Secretariat was sealed for five weeks. I remember we all met from both sides at the office of the AIG of Police Onikan, asking both sides to settle. We thought we were getting together but we didn’t, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos intervened, and we agreed for a give and take situation.
“We agreed that whatever they have done on their side, we shall overlook and vice versa, the major thing is for us to work together and move forward, but they reneged.”
The BoT Chairman charged the Pius Ujubonu led Interim executives to be law abiding and to work for the interest of all members.
Also speaking at the meeting, Board Secretary, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi explained that ANLCA registered board is custodians of all associations properties, liabilities and assets.
According to him, there is no other registered board of ANLCA other than the one headed by Taiwo Mustapha, hence they are saddled with the responsibility of appointing acting National executives to run the association.
“We are not sending anybody away from the association, the law of the association states that in case of any division or crisis, the board should take over. We were locked out of the association, we were being threatened, they were sending all manners of messages to us not to come to the secretariat.
He commended the BoT Chairman Mustapha for being a man of peace, whom he said refused to dance naked with the sacked NECOM, the way they would have loved to.
“This crisis lasted this long because our BoT Chairman is a man of peace and honour. He believe in achieving the right thing through lawful process, each time lju, Farinto and the others preferred to dance shamefully in public, our Chairman says we must not do likewise.”
Also speaking, former President of ANLCA and current Board Member, Chief Earnest Elochukwu said that
ANLCA Supreme constitution 2008 is the only legitimate and operative constitution, and urged well meaning Nigerians and institutions to ignore any purported amendment said to have been carried out through the back door.
“The constitution stipulates 4-years term for the NECOM, their term expired on April 16th. We were supposed to have done this inauguration since 17th of April, but due to one reason or the other, it has not been possible.
“We know that members have been suffering, the port has been a nightmare, ANLCA used to interface with the authorities, but found out that nothing was working again.
“So we are here to take over the running of the association. Section 22 (2c) of the constitution empower the BOT to administer the association for six months in the case that election could not be held.
‘We want to assure you that there is nothing we have done here today that is outside the constitution.”
Also speaking, Sir John Oforbike, leader of the Western Zone commended the BoT for taking the bull by the horn and doing the needful by inaugurating the interim executive
He said, “We were elected into office at Enugu State in April 2018, and our tenure expired on April 16th 2022. I was called upon by them for my tenure to be elongated by another one year but I refused. They went ahead and amended the constitution to allow five year tenure.
“Our members have continued to suffer because there was no leadership. This present board tried to broker peace, but these people never allowed it to work.
“We have waited so long to see the BOT react accordingly, but today we are happy that you have woken up from thier slumber. ANLCA has now become a laughing stuck in the midsts of other associations, the number one has now become the last in the scheme of things.
In his acceptance speech, the Acting National President, Mr Pius Ujubonu who assured that they will not fail to deliver on their mandate, noted that the inauguration of his team marks a watershed in the history of ANLCA.
“You are the owners of the association, we can only be great if we corporate together. Impostors cannot hold us to ransome, the position they are holding have expired. If you are having an expired driving license, the police would tell you it is null and void.
“Gone are the days when the association will be put under lock and keys for weeks. All ANLCA members are enjoined to henceforth start coming to the National Secretariat of the association. The building belongs to all of us. Ours task is to reconcile all frayed nerves and bring everybody onboard. We cannot work if the chapter chairmen, zonal leaders, the board are not with us.”
Meanwhile, two of the erstwhile exco members,Farinto and Mukailla has condemned the action of the board and vowed to challenge it lawfully.
In a video recorded interview by SEABIRD TV uploaded on YouTube that has gone viral, Farinto said, “It is the political shenanigans by canterkerous old men who refused to leave. They are expelled members of our former board, they are no longer members of ANLCA for now.
“Unfortunately we were on national assignment when we heard that they have encroached on the secretariat, forcefully taking it over. The interesting thing is that we had two police officers guarding the place 24/7, so we want to know the reason, we want to know whether the police is working with these errants.”
Also speaking to SEABIRD TV anchorperson, Mukailla said, “Police should not be used to perpetrate illegality. As you are aware, we are here on a very important assignment and coincidentally, they timed their coming to the same hour of our meeting here. I think they are up to something, and the very annoying part is that even after forewarning the police, the police still went ahead to give them cover to break into the secretariat, because the key to the entrance of the secretariat is right here with me.
“So for police to even overpower their own assigned police officers through additional reinforcement from the same station based on the CP’s directive is very upsetting,” Mukailla said.