By C.A.T Agubama
Letters, Letters, Letters; Petitions, Petitions, Petitions. Surely, Courier operators, also a segment of freight forwarders are having a good runs from Freight Forwarder Warriors to Dipcharima House, FCT, Abuja.
The effort of the early 2000s was to get freight forwarders United and have One common voice instead of the cacophony of noises from Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA) and her grandchildren; National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA)
The effort resulted in the Draft Bill for a Federation of Freightforwarders Associations of Nigeria – FFAN. While NAGAFF, National Association of Aifreight Forwarders and Cargo Consolidators (NAFFAC), Dr. Ikokide’s Institute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (IFFN) and the Freight Forwarders Trade Group of LCCI marched on to NASS to promote and defend this Bill for FREIGHT FORWARDING INDUSTRY in our country, the duo enfants terrible of ANLCA and NCMDLCA opposed and wanted a Council for Customs Agents.
This became a remote seed of future problem. In that originating FFAN Bill, all above active Associations were mentioned as the recognised Associations of freight forwarders. As is now generally known, CRFFN Act 16. 2007 arrived, instead of an FFAN Act. CRFFN came to regulate those that created it.
No matter, for Goodness sake, where was the International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA), the claimed biggest or 2nd biggest Association during when all these processes were going on? Answer is No where.
Elections followed and the result was a comic tragedy for the 4 Associations that promoted and defended the FFAN Bill at NASS. Dr Aniebonam, a prime mover of the Bill lost out by one (1) vote to Hon. Iju Nwabunike. One enfant terrible who lost took the first dishonour to be the 1st Clearing Agent to drag CRFFN to FHC in 2008 (he is yet to learn and accept that he is first and foremost a freight forwarder).
Another remote cause or seed of future trouble.
As far as anyone who cared could see them, ANLCA was NOT organised to run for the Election. Mother ANCLA was by then on Death row, about to be Buried and Rest in Peace.
Thus, the following persons of ANLCA went into the hustings on their OWN and won:
(1) Sir. Ernest Elochukwu, (2) Otunba Moshood Tijanni (3) Hakeem Olarenwaju (4) Chief Peter Ogbuagu Obih (5)Teddy Ifedi (6) Dr. Sam Onyemelukwe and (7) Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike.
All these were then ANLCA-birthed individuals but ran the Election on their own But flying ANLCA flag. The only non-ANLCA person who won a seat was yours truly, CAT Agubama here of NAFFAC. (Another seed of wahala)
Surely, NAGAFF had joined to win the battles at NASS But lost its sector of the war.
Dr Aniebonam watched on. It was like Cooking some Meal, Smelling its sweet aroma But Not tasting it.
The Governing Council arrives at the stage of Accrediting Associations and the relevant Committee for that came up with Criteria that slantly accommodated ONLY ANLCA for Accreditation.
My opposition was dwarfed by the numerical strength of these other 7 ANLCA-birthed persons. They had their say and way But Aniebonam would have none of that. He pulled his literal ‘guns’ and shots against the ÇRFFN.
Who would see himself losing out of all he had fought for, losing out to those who had opposed his effort and will not do so if he had the resources? Peace, anchored by Nigeria Police, ensued and ÇRFFN accredited NAGAFF.
This is the remote and immediate causes of so described ‘Back Door’ Accreditation of NAGAFF. After this, mark it, we in the Governing Council started hearing about an IFFA for the FIRST TIME. As some of us saw it, IFFA was nothing but an off-shoot of the crisis arising from Accreditation of NAGAFF. Only its RC can tell its age.
IFFA is perhaps 10 years old; has it had Elections at various levels or Chapters? If persons can Only realise that ANLCA is not the ONLY berth of Customs Licence holders, that our Mother Industry is Freight Forwarding and Not Customs Brokerage, the better for us all. Yet, Licensed Companies are in all the Associations and this is how IFFA has two-legged members, one leg in ANLCA and the second leg in IFFA and domiciles its spurious claim of size.
There is no use labelling any as ‘mushroom’ Association.
A close look at the Letters and Petitions against 66111 shows that the authors are mainly our brothers and colleagues in an elite group; CREFFPON and also breakaway ‘Horses’ of NAGAFF including NAGAFF-born APPFLON.
For real, they surely have their grounds of opposing 66111 but methinks it’s personality issues which can be resolved amongst the major Dramatis Personae only, but then, when we also start telling ourselves truth and eschewing the vices of Ego, Impunity, Selfishness, Influence-peddling, Conspiracies and blatant Falsehoods that do nothing BUT confuse Hon. Minister Rotimi.
With all these happenings since 2008, who can stand on any level of Moral ground and blame ÇRFFN for not delivering on its Mandate to us?