By DAPO OLAWUNI
In recent time, there has been suggestions from various stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry on the permanent recipe to the almost five years old crisis in the foremost clearing agents body; Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)
While a school of thought has called on the Federal Government to proscribe ANLCA, another group of thought is calling for a clean sweep across it’s leadership hierarchy both at the National and Chapter level.
A “Clean Sweep” in this sense simply means that; all the gladiators in the crisis should be sent off, while fresh hands, preferably the youths, should be allowed to lead in a fresh election that would be supervised by an independent body who are not members of ANLCA.
These positions were canvassed because, ANLCA for the past five years have defiled all solutions and overtures for peaceful resolutions, even the various court injunctions and judgement obtained has failed to bring about a lasting peace. In the same vain, efforts by former Presidents of ANLCA to resolve the crisis has hit brick wall.
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) which controls all freight forwarding associations in Nigeria has also failed, despite setting up a committee to look into the cause of the crisis and proffer solutions. The resolution of the committee has not seen the light of day.
DAILY TREND conducted a public opinion across the maritime industry and brings you the thinking of various stakeholders on this matter.
Dr Eugene Nweke (Former National President, NAGAFF)
Firstly, I am interested to know the outcome of the recommendation of the reconciliation Committee set up by the CRFFN with respect to addressing the ANLCA quagmire to a logical conclusion. The action taken or implementation of the recommendation has not been made public nor could be said to have commenced. As such, I find this your question a treatise. Notwithstanding, I will address your perhaps prompted thoughts, because it has to do with my proudly profession.
Here again, from my professional experience with regards to Association’s democratic administration and its internal Politics inherent, clean sweep of old actors, and replacement with new sets hands is not the permanent solution to the problem, because a terrible pace and unhealthy leadership misgivings and excesses has been introduced in the Association’s administration, pointing to the obvious abnormalities, where : “Personal Interests and Ego overrides both corporate and professional Interests” or where, “Economic power overrides Association’s might, vision, mission statement and goals, professional Interests.
In my views, this ugly trends or development has since become a fundamental flaws capable of being reference as a normal practice and right impression by the so-called young hands, therefore such norm & impression must be corrected so as not to be construed as administrative norm. So I posit here in strong terms that, the sacredness, sanctity and integrity has to be restored and must be seen as respected at all time.
Ideally, a Professional Association thrives on the premise of instituting or setting “Legacies” worthy of emulation by the younger generation. Unfortunately, in the prevailing circumstance, it falls short of this expectations and standards.
I had in 2020 & 2021 written to Honourable Minister of Transport insisting for a ministerial intervention on the ANLCA brewing crisis then, stating reasons for this intervention, but the Minister was not interested, yet it plays a supervisory roles to the Accredited Associations via the CRFFN.
In 2022, I have to reroute the same quest through the CRFFN Governing Council Chairman, who responsibly picked Interest in this regards and acted accordingly hence, the reconciliation Committee that was set up.
Going forward, a natural or independent higher authority intervention is the way to go. Such independent higher authority must approach the issues with due sense of canvass for “professional salvation”. In doing so, such authority should endeavour to undertake a reevaluation of the professional and industry damages caused and recorded on the account of this imbroglio.
It can’t be said that, in an industry like ours, that there are no leaders with the capacity to call stakeholders back to their senses. We must demonstrate that, this a professional driven Association and industry environment and not a political party in a politicking environment. Even in both environments the rule of penalties and sanctions against ailing actors abounds.
Conclusively, a riot act has to come into force in the leadership and administration of the accredited professional freight forwarding Associations .
Capt Tajudeen Alao (President, National Association of Master Mariners)
Sincerely, the problems at ANLCA has dragged on for too long. Being the foremost Customs broker in the country, the Association needs to lead by Example.
What use is Victory for a group when the Industry is in a mess? Especially when, a common front is required to confront, guide and put aright, the regulations excesses.
A fresh blood may be necessary to navigate challenging times. And all actors advised to step aside, in interest of Trade Peace. No Victor, No Vanquish. At a point, an angry man with raised cutlass must bring it down, after a while, for peace to reign. This is 2023, the goal is to serve, selflessly, and achieve growth in the port.
When 2 elephants fight, the grass suffers the consequences, the industry is currently in pain.
Chief Remi Ogungbemi (Chairman, AMATO)
On ANLCA saga, personally, am concerned and disturbed, hence I spoke with some the members including the immediate past President, on the need for amicable settlement of the imbroglio, because ANLCA is a frontier body that some of us are looking unto as pacesetter in the Maritime industry, being the first Association of Clearing Agents.
I am 100% in support of CLEAN SWEEP, this method was what I was expecting from the mediators, and I think it’s not too late if they can do that.
The mediator should ordered the withdrawal of all cases in the Courts, order all the BOT’S to step aside, while neutral body from shall be put in place to conduct fresh election that will usher in fresh Executives, membership of the body can be drown from government Agencies in the maritime industry.
Chief C.A.T Agubama (Former President, NAFFAC)
Yes, a clean and thorough sweep can bring a lasting solution to ANLCA crisis, provided the new comers are not tainted with any atom of loyalty to present actors. From the chapter level, let there be people who are not even chapter executives, let fresh people who have no loyalty to the present gladiators be brought in, if they have any loyalty to some of the gladiators, whether on seat or not, the whole rubbish would continue, rather let us have uncommitted people take over the association and start afresh.
Mr Abayomi Duyile (Chairman, PTML Chapter NCMDLCA)
I honestly think that, this is the best solution to the crisis, since all the major actors are recalcitrant in moving forward, let new progressive and dynamic leaders take over the mantle of leadership to restore it’s lost glory.
Olorogun Andrew Ugwi (A member of ANLCA)
I do not support a clean sweep, Rather all who have served should keep off and allow the serving do their job.
Nobody owns ANLCA . We have a valid constitution, let us use it well and be guided
Comrade Ayokunle Sulaiman (ANLCA, PTML Chapter)
Why not, except for few that are truly democratic in association matter, most of the gladiators are mere actors and not for the good and success of ANLCA.
They are far from knowing the problems mitigating against ease of doing business at the ports, some have not seen or handled bill of lading in the last two years
Their only interest is ANLCA title, positions and the percentage that goes with it
Chief John Oforbike (Leader of ANLCA in the West)
In an association that is viable, there is always crisis, and nobody can just come and sweep everybody, you cannot use poison to cure a sickness. It is all about saying “I am sorry”, this is one association. Now, you want to bring people from heaven to come and do what?
It is like the proverbial women in the Bible, two of them gave birth in the night, one of them slept on her own child and the child died. But the wicked woman exchanged her dead child with the living child. Anybody calling for a clean sweep are like the wicked woman who requested that the living child be shared into two and everybody should just go away.