By Bayo Bernard Business Editor
The bickering appears to have stopped for the moment. The die is now cast for election into the Governing Council of Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria, CRFFN. The Mike Jukwe led council is trying to prove critics wrong that it’s incapable of organizing a credible, fair and fair election for the body. if the council succeeds the jinx that nothing good can come under Jukwe administration would be broken, having presided over a chaotic CRFFN in the last few years.
The council has therefore scheduled the election for June 25, bearing any last minute change of arrangements.
An indication that the council will go ahead with the election surfaced following a letter the council sent to leaders of various Agent associations on Monday June 17, 2018.
According to the letter made available to the magazine, the council directed the leadership of various associations contesting the election to attend the Pre-Election Briefing and Signing of the Code of Conduct for the CRFFN Election of Practitioners to the Governing Council holding on Thursday,” 21/6/2018 in Apapa.
Contesting candidates have edge up campaigns in the last few weeks. Alliances have also been formed by various associations in the quest to dominate the council ahead of others.
This is not surprising considering past attempts to constitute the Governing Council, an important organ of the council had suffered. For instance, the election was initially scheduled for May this year, but was moved forward to reconcile the warring factions.
On June 8, four associations met as part of the consultations to organize a rancor free election. As it turned out, the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA was obviously missing at the meeting, called by Boniface Aniebonam, founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF.
The participants at the meeting resolved to share the positions among themselves, rather than conduct elections into the council. According to them, this is the only way to avoid the acrimony that usually assail such election.
Thus following the meeting, the associations wrote to CRFFN and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, informing them of their intension to merge ahead the election.
The four associations in a letter addressed to CRFFN Registar, Mike Jukwe titled ‘Resolution of Four Registered Associations of CRFFN With Respect to the Forthcoming Election into the Board of the Governing Council of CRFFN,’ said “ NAGAFF in particular and its other three sister registered associations indeed have all in good faith and sacrifices for the good of the CRFFN and our profession unanimously agreed to adopt this unique process to advance the course of CRFFN’s inclusive Council and its proper management and administration.” The letter was signed by Fred Akokhia.
The message from ANLCA, keen watchers of the industry told the magazine is that it was prepared to go into the election solo.
The National Executive Committee, NECOM and the Board of Trustees of ANLCA had last month in Lagos, made a u-turn from its earlier position that it will not participate in the election.
The new position was contained in a statement released by Joe Sanni, ANLCA National Publicity Secretary. The question now is whether the Tony Nwabunike led ANLCA stands a chance against the ‘NAGAFF Alliance.”
Politics is a game of number, the CRFFN election will not be different. If figures available to the magazine is anything to go by candidates from NAGAFF and ANLCA stand a good chance to win election into top positions of the CRFFN Governing Council.
According to figures made available to the magazine by sources in CRFFN, over 5,000 individuals and companies have been registered by the council in the last few years. Out of this number, NAGAFF claimed over 1,500 are its members. This portends a big threat to other associations, particularly ANLCA going forward into the election, some keen watchers in the industry told the magazine.
But a topnotch in ANLCA, Peter Obi has recently disclosed that the association cannot be intimidated. “it’s only an empty drum that makes the loudest noise. I have never lost any election, so am fully prepared. In one or two weeks, no association will be as prepared as ANLCA” Obi said in his response to threat posed by NAGAFF in the forthcoming election.
NAGAFF seemed not to be taking anything for granted and has therefore thrown everything into the contest. Apart from forming alliances with other smaller associations, the association has been mobilizing funds for its members participating in the election, this is necessary, “because the Founder of NAGAFF, Chief Boniface Anieboman does not want money to constitute problem in his quest to make sure that NAGAFF dominates the new Governing Council,” a member of NAGAFF BOT told the magazine yesterday.
NAGAFF has recently disclosed that well-meaning individuals have donated over N100m to pursue the election. “ our target is to get at least eight thousand individual practitioners and corporate members who are financially updated before the 25th of June 2018 before the election date, NAGAFF said in a recent statement, adding that “Dr Aniebonam Founder NAGAFF is sitting at the driver’s seat for CRFFN election 2018.”
If the election went as planned, a new chapter will be opened in the history of the 11 year regulatory body.