How “Harmonization” Came Into ANLCA Politics


By Chidi Anthony Opara

Recently, a formular known as “harmonizaton” was used to select members of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Eastern Zone Chapter Executive Committees.

The gainers have been celebrating, while the loosers are crying injustice.

Observers have been trying to fathom the origin of the formular, which they erroneously tagged “novel”. While some observers are looking towards the ANLCA National Headquarters, others are looking towards the Eastern Zone Headquarters.

The “harmonization” formular was however the brain child of Chief Henry Njoku.

It was in the year 2000, Chief Njoku was rounding up his second tenure as Chapter Chairman of Port Harcourt Int’l Airport. He was aiming to hand over to one of his loyalists, Chief Ernest Nwosu. Unfortunately for Chief Njoku, Chief Raymond Onyimba, a loyalist of his arch rival, Chief Obakpa, wanted the position. Chief Onyimba had youthful vigour and lots of strategies. The young man decided to leverage on the Olaiywola Shittu factor.

By then, Shittu had emerged as ANLCA’s National Publicity Secretary and had facilitated my appointment as Press Relations Officer. An ANLCA journal known as “Freight Agent” had been established with Shittu as Editor-In-Chief and myself as Contributing Editor. The Olaiywola Shittu factor was a powerful one.

It was this powerful factor that Chief Onyimba leveraged on. He came around with Chidi Nwagboso, we interviewed him and discovered that he was a better candidate. We put the instrumentality of “Freight Agent” at his disposal to reach the electorate and beyond with his programmes. The “Freight Agent” maiden edition had about a five-page pull out of Onyimba’s plan of action. Although, Chief Nwosu requested for and got interviewed, by that time Onyimba was the household name in terms of the Port Harcourt Int’l Airport Chairmanship election. The election of Onyimba and his team was going to be a fait accompli.

Sensing the high possibility of an embarrassing defeat of his candidate and his team, Chief Henry Njoku approached Shittu with what he termed “harmonization in the interest peace”. Shittu accepted.

The “harmonization” resulted into the sharing of the executive committee positions between Onyimba’s and Nwosu’s teams with Onyimba as Chairman and Nwosu as Vice-chairman, thus introducing “harmonization” into ANLCA politics.

Chidi Anthony Opara, RFF, FIIM
(former ANLCA National Officer and Contributing Editor of ANLCA’s “Freight Agent” journal)

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