Home News ANLCA Crises: We are Forging Ahead …..Set to Conduct BOT Elections ……..Enough is Enough — Nwabunike

ANLCA Crises: We are Forging Ahead …..Set to Conduct BOT Elections ……..Enough is Enough — Nwabunike

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The National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA), Tony Iju Nwabunike has debunked the insinuation in some Maritime industry quarters that there is tribal war in the Association.

Nwabunike who stated this in a Press Conference at the ANLCA Secretariat in Lagos, made it clear that the problem the association has been facing is as a result of the quest by the former board members to perpetuate themselves in office as well to scuttle his administration.

He pointed out that the Mustapha led board had done everything humanly possible to destabilize the National Executive Committee,  including hiring of hoodlums to kill him on the 6th of October, 2020 at the association’s secretariat, of which  they(NECOM)  have refused  to succumb.

The ANLCA National President who traced the problem to the purported Kangaroo election which  saw the emergence of Taiwo Mustapha, as the Board of Trustee(BOT) Chairman of the Association on the 13th of April, 2018, against the earlier approved election where Chief Henry Njoku was elected chairman of the Board on flimsy  tribal sentiments, which had never been  considered in such elections.

Nwabunike who apologized for his delay in taking  drastic and appropriate steps to sanction them for want of peace, however said, ”no more. Enough is Enough.” as he has exhausted every peaceful measures, hence the detractors  went ahead to foment more troubles even to the extent of threatening their lives while modalities have been put in place to conduct fresh BOT elections stressing that the tenure of the Mustapha led administration had expired.

The ANLCA Chief Executive further said that the former board had filed 8 number cases at the Court against the NECOM just to frustrate them and remain in office, whereas, they(NECOM) had not dragged them to court in addition to granting them pardon, just to foster peace and unity.

”March 8, 2018 was a remarkable day when this great NECOM was elected at Enugu State. And I will tell you it was a keen contested election. In fact as a matter of fact, the past President of the Association contested with me and I won the election with just three votes, that will tell you how strong, how competitive that election was. And I’ll tell you hence many people who actually felt that they were on the other side were very very bitter that the election has been won and lost.
”On 14th of April,2018, this great NECON was inaugurated, the very first wonderful NECON, the Very first well  organised NECON, the very first erudite NECON, took an oath office on the 14th April. But let me tell you of what happened on that 14th of April, before the 14th of April. it happened at this hotel called Golden Tilub. But before that 14th of April, The Board,( BOT) sat.  Ordinarily, because I was one of them. I contested election under Board on 13 of February, 2014 at Warri and I came first among all the Board members. Infact, the second person following me, I gave him almost a hundred votes behind and before then , the Board actually agreed on principle that whoever came first in the Board election should be the Chairman of the Board, though on principle. So we went to Warri, and getting to Warri, I came first.
”Coming back to Lagos, they said no that I am one of the newest member of the Board. I came into the Board for the first time and i won them so they felt it is not possible that I should become the chairman of the Board, but that was what they said in principle for they  believe Elochukwu or Henry Njoku may have won the election but to their greatest surprise, I won the election. and it became very difficult for them to have a chairman that time. We now said okay, if two of you cannot give us a peace in this Board, we now selected selected Taiwo Muastapha as our coordinator. So, Taiwo Mustapha became the coordinator immediately after 2014 election and he had that office for one year. When he was there, Shittu was the President, Mustapha was the Coordinator of the Board, by my right , was the ASECO Chairman and all of them were Yorubas’ and nobody bordered to say this is Yoruba, this is Ibo. So the issue became very clear that after one year, when this place was opened, the then President treated the Board very shoddily and we took a decision that  we must have a chairman and that was the day we went to Suffix hotel to elect who becomes our chairman.
”On that day, we sat down there for almost all day and we took a decision that okay, Henry Njoku and Elochukwu, one of you must become the chairman of the Board today, because they said, it must be somebody that has been in the Board that will become the chairman. The election continues to almost four times. They were pairing four four, four- four. somebody was voting for me and I told that person that was voting for me that I was not contesting  election and that was Taiwo Mustapha. I told him that you must vote and broke this tie. The fifth one, he voted for Henry Njoku, and Henry Njoku won the election 5-4.I want you to know the Genesis of this today because I was there, I was part of it. So, Henry Njoku became the Chairman of the Board.
To my greatest surprise, on 13th of April, a  day to my own inauguration and the NECON inauguration, they held a meeting at Golden Tllub. What happened there, I was not around, I was in that place but they never actually  told me to come. So, they  now came back, I never knew what they did until after my inauguration.
On Monday, which suppose to be either 16th or 17th of April, we started work here. Lo and behold, we were told that Board has changed its leadership.
According to him, ”I now asked them when because I was part of it. They said it happened on 13th night. I said this is very sudden. What is the exigency of this issue? Why are you people actually doing this now? The said that on principle, if Igbo man becomes the President, that a Yoruba man  will become the Chairman Board. I now reminded them that Taiwo Mustapha had become the Coordinator for almost one year under Shittu and ASECO is under the  now  President as the national Secretary., so why is this exigency? And again, when Henry was the chairman Board, the first one, Elochukwu was President and nobody actually said it’s a tribal issue, so why are you Guys now trying to bring tribal sentiment on my own governance? So said, they have spoken. I said they should give me time and that was the Genesis of the problem. I want you people to begin to know this.
So whoever that is telling you that Igbos and Yoruba’s are fighting in this Association is telling you lies. By my left is the Vice President, a Yoruba Man, by my right is the National Secretary, a Yoruba Man, the National Financial Secretary is a Yoruba Woman, My Chief of Staff is a Yoruba man. So I don’t understand this issue of tribalism in an association, it has never. happened. So there are plans to destablise this NECON from Day one

According to him, ”from that day henceforth  till date, they have taking  us to Court for not less then 8 Court cases. We have not taking anybody to Court but we have been on defense  all time through. As if that is not enough for them, they have used all the machineries to truncate the government of this NECON.
”The latest  was the one one October 6th, where this place was turned into a war zone. So many ammunitions, so many Guns, so many charms and so many matchets. Over 40 of them, they sent to do whatever they want to do and I know they couldn’t have done that because God is able. They send them here to kill because somebody would not not be visiting you with guns,  matchets and ammunition just for a play. Over  40 able  men came here with guns on the 6th of October.
”As if that is not enough for them, they went to Police and made sure that the chief culprit of this same person called Yemi Hastrup was meant to be released. As at yesterday , the man was in the same meeting  where Mustapha is claiming  that he is the chairman and I don’t know who made him the Chairman . And he said Odudua came to this place and he actually soft-peddled them by asking them not to move further. That means he knew that they are coming. so it’s an evidence on the Court to be. So he knew because we want to know who brought this people. There is an investigation going on today who brought this hoodlums to come to this place., I call them murderers.” Iju opined.

Adding his voice, the National Vice President of ANLCA , Dr Kayode  Farinto said enough of the Macabadans. What you have been seeing in the Industry has not been portraying this Association in good light and  it is as a result of the fact that, ” when a child that is suppose to go through institution, is suppose to go through elementary school, you put him into secondary or University, there is every tendency for that child to misbehave and not to know the value of where he has been fixed’.” .
He said the association found itself in this situation because there are some elements in the opposition who believe that the association must be pulled down, adding that majority of their members who actually rose from the chapter, I was once a chapter Secretary, would not want this  roof to come down. If not for ANLCA, who would known us in this Industry. Whoever thinks that they want to pull down this house are not doing themselves any good.
Dr. Farinto sounded it clear that the NECON has decided to forge ahead despite the antics of their detractors, as well as going head to conduct the Board of Trustees(BOT) election hence the tenure of the present  Board had elapsed. ”To me, we do not have  BOT because the present BOT, their tenure has expired since February 13 It is high time we select responsible  diligent people that will add value to this association because our members are  suffering in the field.
Speaking also, the National Secretary of ANLCA, Abdulazeez Babatunde M, said the real issue about the association had always  been about the Board, be it Shittu, Elochukwu who he accused of joining forces to bring their government down, adding that as at  today, they have 8 Court cases brought against the NECOM , but most of the cases have died a natural death because of lack of fact and evidences.
Abdulazeez noted that immediately after their election, those who lost the election went to Court to discredit the process, disclosing that the first case instituted by the man who wanted to go into the office of the Vice President, Late Prince Kayode Eniola, who was defeated by the current Vice President, Dr. Farinto, but till date has abandoned the case.
According to him” we were able to put stud to that case because the plaintiff had passed on and we asked the Court if the Company really want to push on with the case, that we need a new date because the man died a natural death. The second case was instituted by somebody I will call an habitual litigant, against the office that made him, Deacon F. Olumide. He went to Court with his company name called integrated services and his prayer then was that those members that went on the pages of Newspapers to denounce the Office of Mr. President, they made a failed adverts claiming that henceforth, going forward, Iju Tony Nwabunike will not be recognised by them as President of this Association and promptly, the Association went to the NEC meeting and decided that there are laid down procedures for grievances even if they have issues against the person of the President, the same section 26 is very clear. it’s a condition precedent.  for any member of this association if you have grievance, you are not allowed to go to Court until you go through the process of  Administration and reconciliation Act. . But he went to Court and prayed to Court that if this NECOM is not thrown out based on that NEC decision, the Association will burn into pieces,
”After a whole lot litigation, the President in his wisdom decided to pardon them in a NEC meeting he initiated. So that case collapsed at that point
Concerning the attack on the Secretariat on the 6th of October by the hoodlums and the total cost of things damaged, the ANLCA National Secretary put the cost at not less than N20 million..


Photo: L-R ANLCA National Secretary, Abdulazeez Babatunde, National President, ANLCA-Tony Iju Nwabunike, National Vice President, Dr. Kayode Farinto, & other Executive members.

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