By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Congregation of Registered Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria (CREFFPON) has once again petitioned the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi over some alleged illegalities being performed by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) in connivance with some of its registered associations in order to rig the coming elections into the Council.
The petition signed by Comrade Edwin Chukwudire Obi, Desk Officer, for CREFFPON noted with concerns that CRFFN has deployed some of its officials to headquarters of the various associations for easy registration of members.
However, upon investigation, CREFFPON discovered that;
“Bulk payments are made to the provided account, and depleted as soon as the corresponding numbers of individual registrations is consummated, then another bulk payment will be made.
“Massive recruitment of non practitioners suspected to be streets urchins was observed leading to investigation of the registrations process.
“It was discovered that, no formal nor any format of screening standards was integrated to the registrations process, the system is open to all persons of no particular recourse as no form of prerequisites for professional registrations is required.
“Ideally, a registration process into the Register of the Freight Forwarders entails either by professional accademic qualifications or by letter of indemnity letter stating qualifications by practicing experience of at least 5 years written and signed by a Chief Executive Officer of a registered corporate firm with the CRFFN. Unfortunately, the present process presents an all comers affairs mainly tailored for an electioneering process objectives and afterwards , the Register of Freight Forwarders soars up momentarily and later suffers statistics distortion, making it a two election year reoccurring rituals, with thousands later to be recorded as non yearly subscribers
Still on the governing council election into CRFFN, CREFFPON doubted if the election would be transparent, free, fair and credible because already, the immediate past chairman of the board, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar has been anointed secretly to emerge.
“We observed that, the Ministry appears to have appointed a seating governing council chairman, as the immediate past governing council chairman whom incidentally was reappointed to represent the North West region was seen stilll cruising the CRFFN branded vehicles bequeathed to the office of the governing council chairman thereby invariably parading himself as the governing council chairman.
“The concerns expressed by the practitioners is that, if the paraphernalia of the office attached to the office a governing council chairman is presently at official use and convenience of an appointed politician, who made his way to emerge as the governing council chairman in 2018 during the internal election of the CRFFN Governing Council members it means that a governing council chairman has been determined before hand whereby the election of the practicing freight forwarders into the Governing Council is a mere formality.
Going by the ideal administrative provisions at the end of each tenure of the governing council , official vehicles allotted or assigned to designated members of the governing council are to be returned officially to the management team, but this is not the case as both the the immediate past governing council chairman and designated council members stills uses their branded vehicles at their convenience, implying that their earlier insistence of a 4 years tenure and their open objections to the court ruling of 2 years tenure for prevails, even as their re-elect soft copy posters trends virally in the industry social media platforms. Even campaigning with impunity ahead of the candidates screening and publications of qualified candidates lists by the electoral committee.
One of the freight forwarders associations in the sector had recently boasted of wining 10 seats out of the 15 seats provided for the election contest, and that it has set aside a hundred million naira for the purpose of prosecuting its winning strategy.
CREFFPON raised suspicions of a possible internal, behind-the-scene arrangement between CRFFN and the association to the effect of being too assured of the 10 seats as it claims.
On the election timetable, the petition letter reads in part
“a. The CREFFPON observed that, in item Nos.3:ii of the election time table, the committee noted thus;
. “Screening of candidates from Western and Eastern Ports at Rock View Hotel, Apapa Lagos on 21st to 22nd September, 2021 from 10am to 4pm daily.
Screening of candidates from Cargo Airports/Land Borders at the FMOT’s conference room, 8th Floor, Abuja on Friday 24th September, 2021 by 10am to 4pm”.
By virtue of this Screening venue the CREFFPON is of the opinion that, this act is a subtle importation of a political division ( nothern & southern dichotomy) in the Freight forwarding practice in negation of the intents, letters and character of Act 16 20087. This action further creates suspicion of the electioneering processes in the eyes and understanding of majority of the practitioners. The following buttresses their suspicions further:
b. Also observed that, in Item 5:iv of the Electoral Guidelines – with the caption, “Eligibility To Contest For Any Position “the committee stated thus:
” Pursuant to the provision of this act, all eligible persons must be elected based on the three operational zones as specified in section 2(1)(g) of the Act.
In item nos. 5:v : “All other Registered Freight Forwarders that meets the above requirements from (i – iv) are eligible but only those cleared by the Electoral Committee are qualified to contest elections into the governing council “.
In item 12 of the guidelines, committee stated that “……..The decision of the Electoral Complaint Committee shall be final. No appeal shall be entertained “.
c. Equally observed is that in the nomination form, the Committee carefully and deliberately omitted in the inclusion in the nomination form the candidates choice of operational zones as specified in section 2(1)(g) of the Act.
All of these further buttress the existing suspicions of a hatched political moves to returned the immediate past governing council members back to complete an erroneous conceived 4 years tenure, whereby suggesting that the electoral Committee seems to be executing an arranged script.
Honorable Minister, sir, your urgent attention and intervention over critical concerns expressed by the practitioners can not be over emphasized.
Please help to save and preserve the sanctity of the Freight Forwarding profession in Nigeria. Above all the needs to douse all expressed suspicions is purely your administrative honor and responsibility”