Western Zone leader of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Sir John Oforbike has thrown a bombshell, alleging that the Vice President of the association, Dr Kayode Farinto is one of the major beneficiaries of the leadership crisis in the association and he doesn’t want the crisis resolved.
Oforbike in this interview with DAILY TREND NEWS also stated that Hon Tony Iju, the National President of ANLCA is on a mission to destroy the association, having declared that he is going to be the last President ANLCA ever had.
Oforbike who was recently declared expelled by Tony Iju led executive described the move as idiotic, saying that the NECOM has no power to suspend anyone, since they have been sacked by the court of law.
In 2018, Oforbike was elected as Western Zone Cordinator of ANLCA, however he has since vacated the office in line with a court order asking the Tony Iju led administration to stop parading themselves in office as ANLCA executives.
How did you receive news of your so called expulsion?
I was not supprised, because I have seen the characters of these people behind the expulsion, this was their last option, they have tried everything possible to rope-us-in, especially myself, I don’t know what their fear is all about. In the first place, when the secretariat was invaded, I was not in the picture, I was not part of it, we went to police headquarters at Ikeja where some of the boys that perpetrated that attack were held, they were wearing ANLCA Western Zone task force identity cards, at the back of the identity card, they put my phone number and signature.
I was invited by the police for questioning, at that station, the National Secretary of ANLCA, Babatunde Mukaila, told the police that I am the western zone task force Chairman and that they should hold me responsible.
I charged the police officers to investigate the case properly because I have never met any of the perpetrators, the police asked them if they knew me but they said No. Meanwhile, it was Farinto (ANLCA Vixe President) who inaugurated the task force and provided the names of the people in the task force, I never brought anyone, and as I speak with you, we have never given identity cards to the task force because we asked them provide to their offices so that if they commit anything we can trace them.
As if that was not enough, the NECOM started writing petitions against me, acusing me of sponsoring 47 armed men with army uniforms, and that I gave them AK 47 guns, and that they came to Tin Can Port and started shooting sporadically. When the police investigating the case came, he asked us to go and settle the matter at home, because there was nowhere I was indicted.
Now the NECOM are coming forward to tell me that they have expelled me from the association, have you seen where a tenant is evicting his landlord? I count myself as a landlord of the ANLCA secretariat because I was the one that got the contact of Dikko Inde Abdullah (former Comptroller General of Customs) may his soul rest in peace, I did it with our former President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, Dikko gave us names of some big companies that supported us in realising the National Secretariat, so if I call myself a landlord, I am not mistaken.
Farinto who is busy talking and shouting like a Chinese drunken master, saying that he invited me and that I was found guilty by the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee. Where was he when we secured the secretariat? He was never with us in ANLCA.
Was there an invitation for you to appear before the Disciplinary Committee?
There was none, why would they even invite me? To do what? What was my offence? I have never taken ANLCA to court, go and check the records, I have never done anything contrary. My offense is that; the court ordered us not to parade ourselves as NECOM. I was in my office when the court bailiff came to serve me the notice, I gave it to my lawyer and he warned me that if I parade myself anywhere as an executive of ANLCA, that is is contempt of court, this is a lawyer I have been using for 32-years.
Since the court order was served to me, you can never see me parading myself as Zonal Coordinator, I am just ANLCA Leader in the West. Because I decided to obey the court order, that was my offence.
Now, the court order have not been vacated, the court issued an order that Tony Iju and Co, should stop parading themselves, so, in what capacity are they now suspending me? It was an idiotic action they have taken, so I am not bothered.
They are scared that my profile was rising, they said I might want to come out as the National President, I have never dreamed of becoming National President of ANLCA, even when I was Chairman of Apapa chapter, it was God that did it.
In our association, there is nothing like “anti-association activities”
What is the permanent solution to this crisis, is it resolvable? Remember that some smaller associations are taking over the shine now
It is in a house with big family that you can see disagreement, in some families that are ruling class of a community, whenever there is vacant position, you see people fighting and going to court, this is because it is a very big family. So, the disagreement you are seeing in ANLCA is not the first time, however, we have not gotten to this level in the past, going to 4-good years now, we have not been able to get it right. By next year March 2022, the tenure of Tony Iju and his suspended executive would expire, as far as we are concerned now, there is no NECOM.
Talking about other associations taking advantage of ANLCA crisis, look at other associations like NAGAFF, they are very happy, because if ANLCA stands straight, nobody would hear them. Tony Iju told me that he would be the last President of ANLCA if we refuse to give him support, he said he would show me that he is a politician and that we would see his true character towards the end of his regime.
Remember that Tony had issued Farinto with a query, he saw me moving with Farinto and he was jittery.
Farinto is my friend of many years, I can’t deny it, but he is not a man of integrity, this is a man that we were working together and he even confirmed to me that Tony had equally issued same threat to him that he would be the last President of ANLCA.
There was a day that Farinto, Mukaila and Ennyman, came to my house in Ago, Okota, we were in my house for four hours eating, drinking and chatting, all in the interest of ANLCA, and all of us agree that we would not accept for Tony to destroy our association, we started talking to each other after than. This move that we made rattled Tony, but from nowhere, we saw Farinto has ran back to Tony and they are now birds of same feather. Can such a person be trusted? Does he have a steady mind?
What is Tony Iju doing with NAGAFF? He went to pay them a courtesy visit and Aniebonam and NAGAFF members were very happy.
When Tony Iju said he would be the last President of ANLCA, do you suspect that he is working with some people to bring down the association?
Yes, he is doing that.
When Tony Iju became the Chairman of CRFFN, he aligned himself with the government, recall that we chattered two busses, myself and late Kayode Oyinlola to support him in Abuja during the elections. Tony Iju defeated Taiye Oyeniyi with two votes and he emerged Chairman of CRFFN.
As Chairman of Apapa chapter then, there was a strike action we embarked upon at the port, the whole port was crippled for six days. They called me for negotiations and I refused. Tony Iju equally called me to play ball with the government but I refused, he has never been on our side, he left our association for 15years, look at the CRFFN under his leadership.
When he came out for the post of President of ANLCA, I kicked against him and I warned that the association would die under him, he is just fine for nothing, he cannot take the association anywhere, he just wanted to shine with the position and add it to his profile.
After three months of coming into office, he left us to contest election in his state.
In his stead, Farinto was acting president, he was power drunk and he started issuing query to everybody, this further aggravated the crisis.
Farinto has never been with us in ANLCA, he dragged the association to court during the tenure of Shittu. When there was a vacancy for the position of National Publicity Secretary, he came to me and Kayode Oyinlola, we contributed N400,000 for him to obtain form for him to contest, he never had money, he has never participated in the association.
In the last election at Enugu, he won Kayode Oyinlola to become the Vice President of ANLCA, and he came back to start working for 2022.
They went to Abuja and said the entire Western Zone was suspended.
Tony later came back and begged us, he acknowledged that what they did was wrong, but after that reconciliation moves, Farinto picked offence with Tony.
After the emergency NEC meeting where Tony brought back the Western Zone, why did the association go back to crisis? Who are the major beneficiaries of this crisis?
Farinto is benefitting, Tony is benefitting, Mukaila is also benefitting. Do you know that Farinto is a spare tyre as Vice President of ANLCA, the only function he has inside the constitution is to head the Disciplinary Committee or whenever the president travelled and hand over power to him.
Farinto knows that if the normal thing is done in ANLCA, nobody would hear about him, and naturally, he is not somebody that you can put at the back seat, he is power drunk.
When Shittu was President, did you hear Emenike talking? So, Farinto is benefitting greatly, if the normal thing is done in ANLCA, he would remain in the boot as a spare tyre.
The zone is supposed to work day to day with Mr President, the Zone is more or less the Vice President, everything that happens in the zone, the zonal Cordinator gathers it and warehouse for the President.
But look at it today, if you call a meeting in the Shipping Company, Farinto is the one that would attend, if you call a meeting at chapter he is there to attend, if the Customs call for a meeting at any command, he is there to attend, even if you call a beer parlor meeting, Farinto wants to be there to attend and shout to intimidate people.
What was the cause of trouble between him and Tony Iju that caused him to be issued query? Farinto went to grant a press interview and even wrote a letter to customs headquarters as vice president of ANLCA when you have a seating President, it was an act of insubordination. He has benefited from this crisis, he even went to Hadiza Bala-Usman, his daughter is being employed there, another of his son is employed in another agency, if the normalcy returns, he would remain in the boot as a spare tyre.
Why can’t the President see all these you have highlighted?
Mr President, Tony Iju told me that he has been hypnotised and that he doesn’t know what he is doing, this is why he doesn’t have a mind of his own. If you discuss anything with Tony Iju today, come back tommorow and you would realise that he is not the same again, go and try it.
Mukaila is also benefitting, as Secretary, he is supposed to take minutes of meetings, he supposed to receive correspondences on behalf of the association, but today, they are the ones acting, the President is nowhere to be found.
Putting an end to this leadership crisis has to be about making concessions and yielding some grounds, do you agree?
There is no way you can shave somebody’s head in his absence, we have held several meetings, personally I have held meeting with Tony 18-times and I have my witnesses.
Every meeting you call, he would try to thwart it.
What is the fear they are having about the BOT? they are custodians of the association properties, is it Elochukwu or Mustapha or Denca or Dayo Azeez that wants to come and destroy ANLCA? These are men that have worked for the association.
What is the romance between ANLCA and Taiwo Afolabi
Taiwo Afolabi is a very gentleman, he is a young man that God has blessed, he is a good man that I have known for years, the NECOM only co-opted him into the association, they were bringing big names, they also brought one called E-Money, these people they are bringing into the board, have they passed through the association? Do they know anything about association? They are bringing people that they believe they can milk and collect money from their hand, you don’t bring people to come and become a board member without them first passing through the association.
Have you seen Taiwo Afolabi coming out to say that he is the Chairman of the board? Was he in their election in Owerri? Was he at the inauguration they did? This is because the man knows the law, he knows that there is contempt of court on ground.
The approach that Western Zone is taking in this crisis is somewhat subtle, why?
The Nigerian Judiciary systems is slow but effective at the end, everything is on record, the NECOM is just taking advantage. Our going to court is the best thing that any civilised and matured person would do.
If we should follow them the way they are going, the government would proscribe ANLCA, this is what Tony and his group are after.
The board chairman, Taiwo Mustapha has said the board is going to appoint another NECOM, do you see this working?
In the first case, is there any NECOM? The court has declared us suspended, and the constitution of ANLCA has stated expressly that when there is a crisis, the board takes over.
In the face of the ANLCA Crisis, how has it been easy for you to solve the challenges of your Western Zone members?
when you house is on fire, hardly would you be able to recover most of the things you have at home, when there is a fire outbreak at the house, you must save life first. Also in the time of war and crisis, the responsibility of government is first to restore peace, not to look at if there is electricity, good road or good health system, it is after they have restored law and order that we can now begin to say things are not working.
So, for now, we are in a crisis, whenever I try to perform my duties by ameliorating the suffering of agents, Tony Iju would write to the customs command not to listen to us, they also write to the shipping companies.
The challenges we have today inside the port, when I looked at it, I went to buy power bikes with N2.5million, registered it and established the task force to see how they can help our people, but then, Tony Iju would write that nobody should listen to us, Farinto also writes that nobody should listen to our task force, he is happy, what he wants is that whenever people have problems, they should come to his office, drop money for him to help them.
So, this suffering would continue for now, until we resolve the crisis.
Are you optimistic there would be an election into NECOM next year?
There would be an election, the board is in charge, the tenure is just for four years and it is expiring next year