In conclusion of our interview with Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila, Secretary-General, ANLCA, he supports concerns that the 4-year crisis is being fueled by external forces bent on bringing disrepute to the foremost customs brokers’ body. Link up to the first part of the interview we published September 16.
………No single day would be allowed to extend their tenure. When they said no, the association went ahead to elect new trustees. That’s the first disagreement.
The second disagreement is that the Board of trustees elected 2014 to 2020 violated ANLCA Constitution by the purported sack of a duly constituted ASECO. They lacked such powers. The Board does not have powers to singlehandedly sack and replace an ASECO once it is ratified by entire members of the Association. That’s the second disagreement.
The NECOM sided with the substantive ASECO to continue delivering on our election mandate. They refused and appointed a parallel ASECO ratified by themselves instead of by the Association and started conducting elections. That led us to the third disagreement.
The real issue is people overstaying their time in office. Why would somebody spend 12 years on the Board? Why would somebody spend 8 years on NECOM? Why would somebody spend 6 years at the chapter level as executive whereas we have a multitude of members? That’s another area of disagreement. The few of them that Mustafa appointed and swore in contrary to our Constitution decided not to attend an AGM at Owerri. They wanted it nullified. We said no!
That you did not attend does not nullify what the Association is doing. This sit- tight syndrome in office is the problem. 6 years on the Board; 5 years only instead of 8 for the NECOM; 4 years instead of 6 for the chapter is what we did. Much as it is to the detriment of the present NECOM, the new enactment says I can only do a single tenure of 5 years when that motion was carried and effectively passed. The second motion is the present government is in office already A motion is coming to support single tenure. Let’s finish our tenure, let the single tenure of 5 years start from the next government so that if they’re ready, I can still recontest. They said no, that the 5 year regime must start while we are still in office and we’ve done only 2+ years out of 4. Another motion was passed at that AGM that one year be extended to us to do 5 years and get out of office. We protested it but the majority carried the day after a vote. That has become another disagreement by the warring faction that why are we doing extension for ourselves? And I asked them: let us go out of office so that I can recontest as National Secretary. They’re accusing me of extra one year.
So, if they claimed we tinkered with the Constitution, it was a disadvantage to somebody like me who we would have loved to serve the Association as it used to be for 8 consecutive years.
Q: Do you smell external interests in this crisis?
Ans: If there are no external forces, why do you think that somebody who has used 6 years in a voluntary mandate will extend that tenure without recourse to floor members that cast their votes at an AGM to put him there in the first place?
Why will you think somebody will go to war with a group of people in office who have been shortchanged from 4+4 years and now to a single tenure of 5 years whereas they have done more than 70% of their tenure before the new law? And yet the people accepted because the Association has spoken? Why will somebody whose tenure has expired refuse to leave as Board member, yet accusing somebody whose tenure has been bridged and is given just a year as pacifier for him to lose the second tenure and he has accepted? Why would the same man break into the Secretariat and accuse somebody who has been at a disadvantage if not that there are external forces? Why would a group of people, ANLCA members, who know how elections are conducted, allow somebody to conduct an election for them and swear them in in contravention of ANLCA Constitution and tell them that they’ve been duly elected if there are no external forces? Why would somebody go to the extent of registering after due registration of all the 9 Board members elected at Warri even as 4 of them agreed that their tenure had been served? Why would 5 people refuse to go, rather relying on a certificate to perpetuate themselves in office?
It will not be out of tune to think that there must be external forces pushing an ANLCA member who knows the truth to decide to barge in through the gate to dethrone a legally- constituted executive if not to drag the name of ANLCA in the mud.
But the good thing is that the end justifies the means. Today, ANLCA is a cat with many lives. ANLCA will survive this onslaught, I can assure you. People who feel they can use brigandage to perpetrate this evil will come back to apologize if they have any future in the Association, moving forward.