By DAPO OLAWUNI
Immediate past National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Olayiwola Shittu has thrown his weight behind the calls for Individuals to be allowed to run independently for elections into the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)
The tenure of the last Governing Council of the CRFFN has since expired in 2020, and the Council is expected to conduct a fresh election any moment from now.
However, Prince Olayiwola Shittu who is also a former Governing Council member of CRFFN has cautioned against the corruption perpetrated in the last election where freight forwarding associations dictated the tune by selecting members that should stand for elections.
Shittu in an exclusive chat with DAILY TREND NEWS at the weekend also called for registration of more freight forwarding associations into CRFFN, saying that most of the five registered associations do not really meet up the requirements set by CRFFN Act.
Our correspondent recalled that Prince Olayiwola Shittu had in 2013 resigned from the CRFFN Governing Board against the backdrop of the collection of Practitioners Operations Fee (POF) and plans to share the proceeds to freight forwarding associations.
Speaking with our correspondent, he said that more litigations would still arise from the POF collection as a result of the sharing formula which currently proposes that a certain percentage meant for the declarant (individual freight forwarder) should be routed through the associations.
Shittu said “Those who are advocating for individuals only to participate in the election into the CRFFN are towing the right part and I throw my weight behind them, because this “selection” by adventurers by political consideration is the reason why the Council is not moving forward”
“In the coming elections, the associations should have no role to play, because associations are voluntary set ups, for people to seek redress about their mode of operations. Now the associations have been turned into a political platforms for those who hold the jugular of the association, to dictate the tune of what impacts on individuals who are registered freight forwarders”
“Freight forwarders did not register into the CRFFN through the associations, some associations only facilitated the information to their members and enlightened them on the need to register with CRFFN”
“As of today, the high percentage of freight forwarders registered with the CRFFN do not belong to any association, so also are some associations that are not registered with the CRFFN, so, if I am a member of an association that is not registered with the council, but I am personally registered with the council, I paid my dues and I have my registration number, I should participate in that election, not for people to dictate who among their association members should go and represent the interest of other practitioners” he said
Shittu who is Chairman of Skelas Group, said the the reason why the CRFFN have not been getting it right was because people of influence have decided to impose their thinking on the Council.
As for the position of the Chairman of CRFFN, he stressed that nobody should be appointed because that position is not by appointment.
“The CRFFN Act provides that the Chairman and the Vice Chairman should emerge amongst the elected freight forwarders, which means that haven done that election by general practitioners, those who emerged winners are the ones that would elect among themselves the Chairman and vice chairman of the Council”
“Appointing a Chairman for CRFFN is not only undemocratic, but it also shows that there is a hidden agenda to influence what happens in the Council, this is why Abubakar Tsanni, having been appointed could not make any impact, but if he were to be elected by his colleagues, the Council would have performed better” he said
Speaking on the registration of associations into CRFFN, the former ANLCA President lamented that the registration process has since been bastardised by the Council.
Part of the requirement set by CRFFN Act is that each associations are supposed to have offices in the three zones of the country.
“Registration of associations into CRFFN is a continuum, anybody can float an association, once you have the minimum required number of members, there are conditions for associations to be registered, even though those conditions have been bastardised over time, but once you can meet up the conditions, everything would be done transparently”
“There is no reason why the unregistered associations cannot apply for registration at any time, all they need to look at is the criteria, because there is no limit to the membership by individuals or membership by associations”
“There is still going to be a lot of litigations over the POF collection because the Council is routing the percentage of the declarant through the associations, membership of associations is voluntary, and there is no law that says you cannot leave at anytime”
“The last election into the CRFFN cannot be called an election, it was a corruption of ideas, there are some frontliners who believe that they are the once that can do and undo, some of them are quiet, but they problem of the Council, and they are adventurers because they are looking for money through the Council, if money is not coming out of the Council, people would not go there”
“If the council succumb to pressure again for association nomination, no matter who is in charge, the Council would never get it right” he said