By DAPO OLAWUNI
There are fresh indications that efforts of the National President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Tony Iju to bring back the association on the part of peace is not going down well with some entrenched interests.
Tony Iju however pledged his unresolved determination at ensuring that peace reigns in ANLCA, and she remains an indivisible and unified association, not minding whose horse is gored.
Some appointed officials by the National President, last week have accused him of betrayal and abandoning their interests.
Recall that at the wake of the ANLCA crisis in 2019, the president had appointed some foot solders and caretakers to take over affairs of running the chapters because the elected chairmen had disowned him on the pages of newspapers, saying that Tony was not their president.
The chairmen were also suspended at a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in Abuja December 2018, paving way for appointment of caretakers. However the caretakers could not take over the chapters due to eruption of violence and numerous court cases.
Speaking with DAILY TREND NEWS under anonymity, the aggrieved parties alleged that the President is now romancing the Taiwo Mustapha faction of ANLCA, while he maintains a frosty relationship with his Vice President, Kayode Farinto.
Some of the allegations levelled against the President was that he is now recognizing Taiwo Mustapha as Chairman of ANLCA Board which is against the ruling of the Federal High Court.
They also alleged that Tony recently visited the Secretary General of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha and the Minister of State for Transportation, Mrs Gbemi Saraki with some opposition faction.
According to them, Tony decided to go along with Segun Oduntan, Tin Can Chairman, and Lasisi Fanu from Seme chapter who are not in his camp.
A highly placed source within ANLCA confirmed to our correspondent that Tony was not also comfortable that his Vice President, Kayode Farinto had in his absence, completed a gigantic hotel at Ikorodu area of Lagos, he allegedly queried where Farinto got the money.
The source also alleged that at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in 2019, a peace resolution committee was constituted to chart a way out of ANLCA crisis within two weeks, but that because of some internal politics, the time was extended.
The committee is supposed to resume on 21st of January, but so far, no recommendation have come from them.
Some of the charge given to the committee was to ask all parties to withdraw their court cases with NECOM, and to find a way of achieving permanent peace.
Speaking, he said “The President is trying to play on the intelligence of people that defended him in his absence, I am sure you guys are aware that there was a time that this secretariat was locked by the other group with chains, and thugs, it took the efforts of some of us to ensure that the place is reopened”
“President is addressing Mustapha as BOT, even against the court ruling.
He invited Lasisi Fanu and Segun Oduntan to go with him to Abuja, knowing fully well that they are on the opposition, these are people that went to disown him on pages of newspapers. Yet he is now parading them as his good friends”
“We were on our own when he called us to come and face the war for him, but unfortunately, he sees us as a nuisance today. We want to tell him to retrace his steps, otherwise this tsunami will consume him”
“He is pretending that things are going well in the association, this is a fake news, he should not deceive the world because things are not going well”
“As I speak to you, things are not going on well between himself and the Vice President, if you watch their visits to Abuja, President was asked why his vice president was not there? This was the man that was holding forth for him when he went to contest elections at House of Representatives, why is he now dining with the opponent party today? He refused to come to his Vice president party”
“If he sees himself as unfit to rule ANLCA, he can resign voluntarily and allow those that are able to do it come in. It is not by visiting the minister, the SGF that would solve the problems we have with stakeholders in the port”
“Mr President should be asked why he has refused to visit the chapters he is governing for the past two years, visiting the SGS is not the solution to the problem of the common agent that voted him into office”
“Our expectation is for him to tell us what happened to Western Zone elections, all the chapters in the western zone, their tenure have expired, if the elections conducted in 2018 by some factions in ANLCA, if the President is validating that election, he should come out boldly and say so, because the election was not conducted by the ASECO nominated by the NEC”
“According to our constitution, we supposed to have two NEC meetings, but in 2019, we only had one, this is a sign of inefficiency on President part to run the association” he said
Our correspondent recalls that some western zone chapters where elections were conducted in 2018 included Muritala Muhammed Airport Chapter, PTML, Apapa and Seme border.
But the source speaking further said that “For your information, the tenure of Tin Can have expired since July last year, the President should tell us what is delaying the Tin Can elections, it is only the NEC that has power to extend the tenure of any chapter chairman for not more than three months for election to hold, this is ANLCA constitution”
In an exclusive interview with DAILY TREND NEWS however, National President of ANLCA, Tony Iju said the association would not be derailed in its quest to achieve peace by side talks.
Iju said as far as the association is concerned, the peace move he made in December 2019 was best for the association in its unification exercise, even as he appealed that anyone that is not happy with the peace move should bury their hatchets.
Speaking, he said “It is true that last year, I spent some time to face my carrier in national politics, so this year I want to consecrate attention on building the ANLCA that gave me a mandate”
“As far as I am concerned, the association is one indivisible association, you can see Joe Sanni, the National Publicity Secretary is working, you can see Dada Agubuzo the National Treasurer working, you can see John Oforbike, the Western Zone Chairman working, they are all in their offices, you can go and verify”
“The board is coming to an end on 7th of February, I wish them well”
“We have a whole lot of problems as it were, what we want to do is put our heads together and have a formidable freight forwarders and customs brokers association in order to tackle our problems”
“Our members are not actually happy with us, they are feeling that they have given us a mandate and we are not utilizing it, so I want to shield off all these local politics to face the challenges of my members.
I don’t want to weigh myself down with all these little talks” he said
Tony said that apart from the visit to the transport minister, he said the association is going to visit Minister of Finance, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) NAFDAC, Comptroller General of Customs and even the National Assembly.
He said “My rights as an executive president is to carry everybody along and work in tandem with my NECOM, if anybody is not happy about it, I am sorry about it, they should try and be happy.
We need to come together to have a formidable association”
“We are going beyond ANLCA to even meet with other associations”
“If my Vice President is not happy, I would plead with him to be happy, I am taking this as a serious concern to tell him to be happy and let’s move forward, and if their is any reason that he is not happy, I would correct it”
“As far as I am concerned, I was inaugurated on 14th of April 2018, and from that day, I became the president of everybody”
“Moving to chapters is a secondary thing, if there is any reason the chapters could not solve their problems, they have written to me and that is why I am taking their challenges to Abuja”
“The chapter chairmen relate with their CAC and give us reports, as the president you don’t expect me to be going to chapters when I already have chairmen on ground, I go there when they call me that my attention is needed” he said