By Mcanthony Onuoha
The crises that has rocked the administration of Iju Tony Nwabunike, the National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, for the past two and half years now, formally received a frontal confrontation as the embattled helmsman made those fanning the embers of discord to know that he has taken enough of their disloyalty.
Ever since Nwabunike assumed office as the National President of the association, after a keenly contested NECOM election held in Enugu, where he took the lead over Chief Emenike Nwokoji, it has been series of Court summons and attacks .
Recall that recently, hoodlums suspected to have been sponsored by detractors of Nwabunike, invaded the association’s National Secretariat at Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, with lethal weapons and charms of varying kinds to unleash mayhem. The hoodlums were seen smashing window louvers and destroying vehicles parked in the premises as well as carting away some valuables. All that were lost in the brigandage according to audit report by the Secretariat amount to over Twenty Million Naira (N20,000,000)in monetary value.
Addressing newsmen at a world press conference at the association’s national secretariat on Thursday the 19th of November,2020, the embattled president unveiled the list of ANLCA chieftains who have vowed not to see his administration succeed,these bitterly aggrieved chieftains listed are; Ernest Elochukwu,former National President of ANLCA, Taiwo Mustapha,Taye Oyeniyi, Dennis Okafor and Dayo Azeez, these individuals were fingered as the major actors that have seized the present administration in the jugular.
The embattled helmsman of ANLCA disclosed the identified men and few others not excluding the managing director of Obokun Freight Forwarders Limited,Mr. Olumide Fakunlu, had at different dates headed to the court to Institute cases against his administration, saying that eight court
cases have been instituted within two and half years of his tenure.
However, Hon.Iju Tony Nwabunike, pointing out that despite series of litigations against him, that he was yet to file a single case against any of his detractors, disclosing that he had at different fora, extended an olive branch to them as well as granted all of them a blanket forgiveness, even as the National Working Committee (NECOM) has asked the litigants to withdraw all court cases, saying that every appeal has continued to hit the brick wall.
A visibly angry Nwabunike thundered as he came up with a caveat saying Enough of the distractions and senseless attacks on his personality and office, saying pointedly that he has decided to take absolute charge as the National President of ANLCA, as well as went ahead to dare the disgruntled few, saying never again will he condone their excesses.
In his words,” Enough is Enough,l have taken your insults and insubordination all these while because of my quest for lasting peace and progress in ANLCA. I have made peaceful moves extended Olive Branches, I have bent backwards to tolerate, accommodate and carry everyone along despite the obvious disregard of some people for my administration. I am the most bastardized and most insulted president of ANLCA”, Nwabunike said.
Earlier on, Iju Tony Nwabunike traced the root of the crises in the association to February 2014, when the Board of Trustees (BoT) election was held in Warri, Delta State.Since then, Taiwo Mustapha, Ernest Elochukwu, Dayo Abdullaziz, Dennis Okafor and Taiye Oyeniyi he said, have been fanning the embers of disunity and beating the drums of war in the association, in their quest to stay put as members of a defunct BoT.
Besides,the trio of Iju Tony Nwabunike,Kayode Farinto and Alhaji Mukaila Abdullaziz, who jointly addressed newsmen at the conference reiterated that the association does not have a BoT for the time being.
Hon.Iju Tony Nwabunike went ahead to reveal that a nine- member BoT was elected in February 2014 for a 6 year tenure which was supposed to have ended in January 2020. That while other members of the BoT had presented their valedictory speeches and bowed out, the other four have refused to go, adding that Mustapha moved to obtain a certificate from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), to hang on as the board Chairman, disclosing that the Commission later withdrew the certificate on the grounds that it was mistakenly issued to him.
Nevertheless, the association according to its national President,is set for its Annual General Meeting (AGM), in a very short time,to elect new board members, saying that Taiwo Mustapha and others can file out to contest in the election if they desire to continue as board members.
Adding his voice,the Vice President of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Collins Farinto, lamented that some disgruntled elements who don’t have the interest of ANLCA at heart, have been working tirelessly to cripple the current NECOM, but expressed great optimism saying that it was a futile embarkation as NECOM would not be grounded.
Farinto went ahead to accuse the immediate past president of ANLCA,Prince Olayiwola Shittu, saying that his role in the imbroglio is not heart warming in anyway, adding that from all indication, it really appears he has not been happy with the current administration.
Dr.Farinto dismissed with a wave of hand, the general assumption and story making the rounds that the crises rocking the association was being fueled by tribalism, he maintained that it was a figment of their own imaginations, saying there is no such thing. In his words,” the National President is an Igbo man, myself, being the Vice President, a Yoruba man,the general Secretary, Alhaji Mukaila Abdullaziz is also a Yoruba man, as well as the Chief of Staff to the National President, l don’t think there has been any reason for discrimination or antagonism of any sort within members of the current administration led by Iju Tony Nwabunike .”
However, the General Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Mukaila Abdullaziz, reiterated that the association’s board of trustees tenure was over hence the urgent need to elect new board members, pointing out that the tenure of board members is six years, according to constitutional provision. Adding that Taiwo Mustapha’s tenure ran out on 12th January, 2020, insisting that the association was set for its annual AGM, during which new board members will be elected.
Alhaji Abdullaziz made it clear that the association may not enjoy a smooth sail until it takes a critical decision to yank off the hands of the board from election activities, saying that they keep creating the impression that they have the power to influence and manipulate every election of which it is obvious they lack. He went ahead and cautioned them to desist from making promises they can not fulfill to candidates.