Allhaji Babatunde Mukaila, Secretary- General, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), is a reporter’s delight any day. He is cerebral as well as deeply knowledgeable in the affairs of the foremost customs brokers’ body.
In this exclusive interview with FALCON WATCH, he examines basic issues sustaining the 4-year-old crisis in the association, and recent efforts by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to resolve them. He doubts the capacity of any CRFFN Board member using his position to influence the outcome of the CRFFN’s decision on the crisis. We serve you Part 1 of the incisive interaction……
Q: The CRFFN recently set up a Committee to resolve the lingering crisis in ANLCA. But concerns are that the outcome may not be as fair as expected because of ANLCA top shots on the CRFFN Board.Do you agree?
Ans: Everybody on the present CRFFN Governing Board got there on individual capacity, not on association basis. So, anybody talking about influence on the Committee’s decisions is not honest. Secondly, the CRFFN Board Chairman said it boldly that no ANLCA Board member should be part of the Committee. The Committee is made up of people who have no interest in what’s going on in the port.
So, I disagree that ANLCA bigwigs will have opportunity to override any decisions arrived at. I believe in any process where you have opportunity to talk.
You watch what has been happening in the past 4 years. Some of us have always ensured that it is better to discuss than take laws into our hands. Therefore, I see it working. Both sides have presented positions. We’re all waiting for the CRFFN’s position.
Q: Are you optimistic about possible resolution?
Ans: I am optimistic that whatever the Minister comes up with, having gone through the facts as presented, will resolve this matter. ANLCA is bigger than every person. Whatever comes up we will take it.
Q: Do you agree with views that going by his standing in ANLCA, ex-President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu ought to have intervened before now to resolve this matter?
Ans: It’s all left for Prince Shittu. He has served his tenure. I think he has decided that people in office should run their race too. If he doesn’t see any need
to get involved, I don’t see why he should get involved. Don’t forget that he had his own problems in his last tenure of 4 years. He was completely isolated by the same Board of Trustees because of power tussle. It got to a point Shittu couldn’t count on his fingers those to call to sit with in the last 4 years of his tenure. I happen to be one of the very few. He knows who they are.
Q: Dr Aniebonam suggested recently that it’s time ANLCA elders retreated and allow the younger ones to run the show.
Ans: It is a normal course of events. There’s nothing anybody can do about it because it is nature. The elders should go while the younger ones come up. Aniebonam is 100% correct because if you don’t leave the stage, how will the younger ones come up? Part of what you see in ANLCA today is enough of somebody staying in office for 12 years in an association of corporate outfits with over 2000 members. How can one person representing just one company be in office for 12 years? If you had something to offer, you should have exhausted it, know what you’re coming to add, add it and step aside. This is part of the struggle and what the old order refuse to accept. While we respect their knowledge over the years, we expect them to be guiding the younger ones from behind. If we lose our elders at the forefront of battle, where do we draw inspiration from? We’ve told them this severally.
Recently, the current President, Tony Iju Nwabunike, created what we call “patrons” for those that have delivered and are ageing. Henry Njoku and several others have accepted to be patrons. When we call the patrons to a meeting in conjunction with the trustees and give them the position we have, they can give it a leeway. Rather, they want to be at the forefront all the time.
Our areas of disagreement.
- ANLCA Board of Trustees has a 6-year tenure in our Constitution before amendment with an option of re-election for another 6 years, making it 12 years. Now, you have a BOT elected in Warri 2014 for a period of 6 years to terminate 2020. But for whatever reasons, 5 of those elected in 2014 refused to leave office when their tenure lapsed. Their reason? Their replacement certificate was delayed by the CAC. And that the certificates were finally issued January 6, 2020 (about 26 days to their exit date). They said they were going to use the certificate to perpetuate themselves in office for another 6 years.
We at NECOM said no! Whatever be the reason for delaying their certificate, the mandate granted and given to them willingly and voluntarily by ANLCA members to serve as trustees is for 6 years and it has a certificate with a terminal date…….