… Mukaila Says “We are ready to leave office in April”, Speaks on AGM Controversies
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has postponed the controversial Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) due to the yet to be concluded collation of results from the Presidential and National Assembly Elections held on Saturday.
In an exclusive chat with DAILY TREND via telephone on Tuesday, National Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Abdulazees Babatunde Mukaila confirmed that the AGM former scheduled for Oriental Hotel Lagos on Thursday 2nd of March 2023, has now been shifted to 15th of March 2023 at Eko Hotel in Lagos.
Recall that ANLCA has been in leadership crisis for the past five years, even as the association is now factionalized. A faction of the association led by the Registered Board of Trustees (BOT) through the Chairman, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha last week condemned the CRFFN Chairman, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar for recognizing Kayode Farinto from the other faction to convey the controversial AGM.
In a phone interview with DAILY TREND on Tuesday, Alhaji Mukaila said that this should not be a source of concern for the BOT, adding that the CRFFN is the agency powering and Financing the meeting.
“I just got a message from the CRFFN that due to the Presidential Elections that is still undecided, the AGM meeting has been shifted to 15th of March 2023 while the venue has also been shifted to Eko Hotel, Lagos.
“The CRFFN is the one powering the meeting, they picking the bills, paying for the hall, food and everything.
“Now we have called members of the association to come up and register by showing their licenses, if they (Mustapha group) are not comfortable coming to me as a person, let them appoint somebody among them who would collate their licenses and invite them to the AGM, the most important thing is that you must have a valid license and you must be the principal owner for you to attend, this is because we have the name and owners of all our members, irrespective of the crisis and fractionalization.
“As of today, 150 companies with their owners known, have paid their N10,000 dues, we decided to overlook the past five years.
ANLCA has 1,900 corporate membership, irrespective of the fact that many have lost their licenses.
“It is only the NECOM that has the power to call for an AGM, and it is the President that would direct the National Secretary to do so, it is not a duty of the board.
“If the Mustapha led group doesn’t like Farinto’s name on this AGM, they can tell the CRFFN to call for the AGM by itself, because the CRFFN is the one calling for this meeting and financing it.
If they equally want the CRFFN to take proceedings of this meeting for that day, they can also state their concerns, by so doing, Farinto and everybody would only participate while the CRFFN would direct, at least this should make them happy.
“What we want to do that day is already listed, the CRFFN says bring four members each to form the BOT, while the last man would be determined by the members coming for the meeting, but up till date, they have not agreed to these” he said
Mukaila also accused Taiwo Mustapha group of frustrating the peaceful resolution process, alleging that they wanted the crisis in ANLCA to continue.
See full Interview below
We understand that both factions had kick-started a peaceful resolution process before CRFFN disrupted it with this AGM
I don’t know what else the other group wants, I was the one that conducted their elections into the board as ASECO Chairman back then, but till date, Mustapha refused to present his certificate of return which has a starting date and end date, Taiye Oyeniyi also refused.
However, Joe Sanni is quick to post the certificate of return of the NECOM.
I signed their own certificate of return and I handed it over to them in Warri, President Shittu counter-signed it.
The CRFFN did not disrupt the peace process, as a matter of fact, the CRFFN kick-started the process between Mustapha and Ozo Chukwura, at this meeting, they agreed to have the 4+4 members for the board, when were informed at the NECOM, we told them that we have no problem with that arrangement.
From the Mustapha group, they proposed that we should form a new ASECO with two people from our side and three from their own side, Ozo had no problem with that, and it has been agreed.
From Mustapha group, they nominated Oluwole Obe, Gideon Nwagbaraocha, and Obi Chima from Port Harcourt, we agreed to this, provided all of them have licenses.
From Ozo’s group, they nominated Alloy Anokuru, and Tope Fatimehin.
I encouraged them to come to the Secretariat, they should start working pending when they come for the AGM. Five of them should seat down, agree to their guidelines for the coming election, because we are ready to leave on 15th of April, but any attempt by any board to say that elections should not hold, which could lead to constitutional crisis, there should a board that would take over, but now we have the two board fighting for who would take over.
We have never heard about this meeting between the CRFFN Chairman, Ozo Chukwura and Taiwo Mustapha
Mustapha agreed to this agreement in a meeting held between himself, Ozo Chukwura and Chairman of CRFFN, this is what they told us, but now, he is trying to change because they don’t want to sacrifice one person among them.
As it is, one person among them cannot stand for election, Taiye Oyeniyi has gone to the board twice, he took oath of office twice, why Mustapha still wants Taiye Oyeniyi in the board to make eighteen years is what I don’t know, this is the real cause of the crisis. So, whether Mustapha likes it or not, Taiye cannot go back into the board under any guise, he is entitled to only two terms constitutionally, Henry Njoku and Peter Obi Ogbuagu has done two terms each.
We are trying to bend backwards here, they should also try to give peace a chance, if people pick forms to go into the board and won, among nine of them, they are ready to sacrifice five to remain only four members, and you are still saying that you will not shift grounds, despite serving out your tenure, I don’t know what else they wanted, if their intention is to kill ANLCA, the association cannot die.
The ANLCA constitution says that the board has to be for a tenure, we gave them a tenure at Warri when they were sworn-in, even if their name is still registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission, that does not mean you can extend your tenure without recourse to the association and it’s constitution.
The argument of the registered BOT is that their names is the one recognized by the CAC, so CRFFN cannot dictate to them
If your name appear on the CAC doesn’t mean you should continue to call yourself our Board.
We are ready to bend backwards because we want the association to bounce back, we have decided to leave office, the Ozo Chukwura board has decided to sacrifice five out of their nine members, but Mustapha group refused to yield grounds and insisted the five of them must remain, is this how we are going to achieve peace?
We have agreed with their Interim national executives to share the Secretariat with us, even though they do not have practicing licenses, the man they appointed as President, Pius Ujubonu does not have a license, but you journalists refused to talk about it, and he kept calling himself our interim President. They have been reporting at the National Secretariat everyday
We have a guideline in our constitution that says that you must be a director and have 10% of the company for you to use a particular license, this is why some people are disqualified when they want to stand for election.
I have said it in my interview that, in a time of crisis, truth is the first casualty, because propaganda would start flying around.