By DAPO OLAWUNI
As the elections into the National Executive Committee (NECOM) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) draws near, and campaign activities by the various political groups wind to a gradual close, the coast is now clearer on the voting mode adopted for the elections, which is NEC Mode.
This was announced last week by the Customs Consultative Committee (CCC) which is the Federal Government’s final arbiter in restoring peace back into the crisis-weary ANLCA.
According to ANLCA’s supreme constitution of 2013 adopted by the CCC, chapter executives would be the one to determine who becomes next President of ANLCA.
The Sole Administrator recently appointed by the association Board of Trustees (BOT) Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila at a meeting with chapter executives recently, also established the fact that, voters list and practicing licenses to be used by the Associations Electoral Committee (ASECO) in the coming election will be certified by Chapter Chairmen and executives.
There is no gainsaying that members of ANLCA at various chapter levels have suffered a big blow, economically, emotionally and financially under the administration of Tony Iju Nwabunike.
Thousands of struggling ANLCA members at the ports were left without support and protection for five years, owing to the selfish, closed door leadership as well as lack of capacity by the past administration.
The clearing agents reputation at Nigerian Ports have been battered. They no longer enjoy the respect and corporation of critical government agencies, including the Nigeria Customs Service who licensed them.
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) was greatly relied upon for direction among the clearing agents, but it failed woefully. The CRFFN could not separate itself from the ANLCA crisis, reason being that, some of the gladiators in the crisis are board members on CRFFN Governing Council.
Now that elections are at hand, and chapter executives are expected to determine where the pendulum swings, members must use their tongue to count their teeth.
Critical questions that should bug their minds should be; What have we benefitted in the past five years of ANLCA crisis? How many of them have a sense of belonging in the association? How many of them have befitting Secretariats at the chapter level?
The Emenike Nwokeoji and Segun Oduntan Campaign Organisation (ENSO) also known as THE RESTORATION TEAM have so far proven itself as a viable option and solution to righting the wrongs, to build-up the broken walls and fixing the rot that exists in the association.
It is time for the various chapter executives and their members to take their destinies into their hands and by so doing, chose wisely, vote for competence in order to change their fortunes.
A vote for Emenike Nwokeoji as President and Segun Oduntan as National Vice President will no doubt ensure Restoration of the lost glory of ANLCA. Most of the ANLCA chapters currently do not have befitting Secretariats, chapters like PTML Chapter, Apapa Chapter, KLT Chapter are being chased around the port like orphans.
It is on record that chapters with befiting Secretariats like Lagos MMIA Airport Chapter, Seme Border, Onne Port chapters commissioned their permanent Secretariat under the administration of Prince Olayiwola Shittu with Emenike Nwokeoji was a critical part.
The ANLCA National Secretariat in Amuwo Odofin, Festac Lagos is the brainchild of Prince Shittu and Emenike Nwokeoji’s administration.
Suffice to say that Emenike Nwokeoji has drank from the wealth of experience of Prince Olayiwola Shittu, he has what it takes to bring about true RESTORATION and healing of ANLCA.
Emenike was a former Chairman Port Harcourt Area 1 and the pioneer Chairman Onne Chapter. He has served in various capacity as Zonal Secretary and Zonal Coordinator before serving as a very loyal National Vice President (2010 to 2018). His presidential aspiration is supported with the right leadership experience, the wherewithal, clout, capacity and sincerity of purpose.
Unlike those who are desperate to use the office to pursue their personal interests, Nwokeoji has a history of responsible, loyal and selfless service.
This is demonstrated through his diligent working relationship with his boss, Prince Shittu, step by step; all the way. He did not at any time attempted to pull the carpet out of his boss’ feet, he did whatever duty was assigned to him and has no record of subversive tendencies.
Owing to his honest and reliable leadership acumen, it is also on record that Nwokeoji has served in a number of inter-governmental committees, some of which has been at the presidential level. His capacity and sincerity is therefore common knowledge.
Emenike’s running mate, Prince Segun Oduntan also has a track record of meritorious stewardship in the politics of ANLCA. Between 2017 and 2021 when he was the Tin Can Chapter Chairman, Oduntan grew the asset base of the chapter, and established a free insurance scheme for members for members, some of which are still thriving till date
For all it is worth, the upcoming election is not only a defining moment for members but one of decision time. It is the offering of a rare opportunity for members of ANLCA to choose wisely by voting the ENSO Team.
From all indications, testimonies and affirmations, the two gentlemen holds the answer to the revival of the association, and are sure guarantee to better time for members and their businesses.
At one of the recent campaigns in Lagos, Nwokeoji and Oduntan believed to be eminently accomplished and blessed, said their motivation is to serve and to help rebuild ANLCA.
The task is also more of their desire to give back to the association through honest and selfless service. What can be more serene, their emergence was clearly a product of recognition, consultation and amity; unlike the demonstration of morbid desperation in some quarters, who unsure of themselves have resorted to mayhem and physical attacks of opponents during campaigns.
lNwokeoji and his running mate have lived past everyday struggle for survival. While simply maintaining and nurturing their businesses, their present efforts to return to active association politics just so to help pull ANLCA out of the ditch stand them out as gentlemen.
In doing so, they have resolved to give their time and energy, give themselves and resources, which is the hallmark of genuine service. Like the National Secretariat that has lost colour, fixture, beauty and attraction, and has become a dungeon of sort, Nwokeoji and Oduntan has promised to have it renovated and made attractive once again for the use of all members and stakeholders.
They also promised to build an Abuja Office if elected to make their presence at the Federal Capital a reality that will bring the association closer to government.
With their experience and abounding goodwill, ANLCA and will sooner move past the pariah status it has since been relegated. It can only get better when ANLCA is again able to relate appropriately with Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Aviation Authority, amongst others; and there is no doubt that these two gentlemen holds the ace to total recovery.
The other option is for ANLCA and its teeming struggling members to remain where they have been in the past five years, looking forlorn and neglected like an orphan, with vulnerable members having no one to fight for them when they run into problems with the authorities.
These are the deficits that Nwokeoji and Oduntan have pledged to come and reverse and make good, and all they are asking is for members to show the required courage to choose service above sentiment, capacity over brigandage, competence over arrogant posturing, lawfulness over impunity, and by no means the least, accountability over rascality.
As things stand and without any gainsaying, Nwokeoji and Oduntan by providence are well established and comfortable; to the extent they individually can sort themselves out in the industry.
Now is the time for ANLCA members to choose wisely, by voting the ENSO Team, who will not only fulfill their campaign promises but re-establish the broken down members collective-interest structure.