The leadership tussle that has engulfed the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in the last five years has finally been resolved.
Two factions of the association had been at loggerheads over the tenure of the Board of Trustees (BoT), which had stagnated the progress of the association and that of its members for the period it lasted.
There have been accusations and counter accusations, suspensions, expulsions, violence, alleged attacks, police involvement, leading to closure of the association’s secretariat at different times.
Both factions decided to sheath their swords on Wednesday at the association’s 1st Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, presided over by the The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
A new eight member Board of Trustees (BoT) was also inaugurated at the AGM, which was witnessed by the CRFFN chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni.
Member of the board include: Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Dayo Azeez, Ernest Elochukwu, Chief Dennis Okafor, Prince Ozo Chukwura, Alhaji Shamsideen Awopeju, Kingsley Offor and Eniola Igbaruola.
Earlier, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi, a former member of the BOT, had stepped down from the Board and was appointed a patron of the association.
CRFFN chairman, Tsanni noted that the AGM has reduced the tension among members of the association. He urged members present at the event to relay the decisions taken to those absent as they have taken responsibility for them.
He explained that it is important for every member of the ANLCA to register with the CRFFN, as that would guarantee them operating in the industry.
According to him, a tribunal has been set up which would soon start working, with the aim of ensuring that only registered freight forwarders operate in the country.
“That is why we said that only registered freight forwarders should attend the meeting and whatever decision taken is binding on everyone. The essence of the meeting is to have an understanding in the association and whatever that was not concluded today will in due course be concluded”, he said.
In his response, a Board member and former factional BoT Chairman, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha expressed happiness following the successful resolution of the leadership tussle that has lingered for far too long. He pleaded that whatever was brought to the table should be acceptable to all.
Mustapha said that he had been expecting a situation where both sides of the divide would hug and laugh together as was the case in the past, adding that he was happy to see his dream realised in the course of the meeting.
“We were able to calm the nerves of our members before coming for this meeting and we beg that whoever we offended, in the spirit of forgiveness should forgive us,” he said.
On his part, Prince Ozo Chukwura, another member of the BoT also pleaded for calm from all members, noting the need to move the association forward.
Also speaking, the acting National President of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto pointed out that the industry and members had suffered for the past five years and so the need to make peace.
“What we are having today is a political solution. I allowed you all to vent your anger because you have the legitimate right but we need to move on for peace to reign. We have witnessed collosal losses and I am happy that we are coming back together”, he said.
Farinto urged members to key into CRFFN and be registered, adding that by the end of the year, if they were not certified and were practicing, they could go to jail.
“We have collapsed two structures, the old and new Board and the next AGM we will have soon, we must confine the role of our Board to what is stated in the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). This crisis has exposed ANLCA and made people to know that the role of the Board is meant to be advisory. But we had a situation where the Board was taking executive function”, he explained.
On her part, CRFFN Acting Registrar/CEO, Mrs. Chinyere Uromta described the peaceful resolution of the crisis as a plus to the Council, the Nigerian economy and the freight forwarding sector.
While appreciating the Chairman of the Council, for his pragmatic and dynamic leadership in bringing the crisis to an end, she equally thanked members of ANLCA for cooperation in order to resolve their differences.