By Innocent Orok
That the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) is in deep crisis and more troubles are still burbling is not a fallacy. That the troubles/ factions in the association started before the election of the present National Executive Council (NECOM) led by Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike as the National President and that the crisis has been further heated up after the election is also a fact. Unfortunately too, all peaceful moves to resolve the conflicting interests in the Nigeria’s foremost Customs Brokers Association has failed as architects of the crisis seemed hell bent on achieving their pre-Iju Tony Nwabunike presidency’s permutations.
Sadly too, the bad blood politics in the association has degenerated into personality crisis, character assassination, sponsored blackmail and litigations among other voodoo practices. What is really the problem in ANLCA that has defied all moves to restore peace in the last two years?
Digging deep to fully understand the unabated problems in ANLCA today is very revealing. It is a fact that the crisis in the association is being sponsored by some interest groups in the association, who are supposed to be elders and peacemakers in the group.
We have heard of “Anointed Candidate” for the position of the President by the last regime, led by Prince Olayinwola Shittu, who unfortunately was defeated at the election by Iju Nwabunike. We have heard of BoT crisis that purportedly had Chief Henry Njoku on the firing line for giving support to Nwabunike at the last minute. We have also heard of Peace and Reconciliation Committee of which the key aggrieved elders and former Presidents nominated their representatives to resolve the disagreements so that the association can move forward, but again all these efforts came to nothing.
We have it on good authority that the same elders who handpicked the members in the committee, also turned round to reject the recommendations of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee, a move that cannot fool even the most foolish that what they wanted was not peace but, their failed pre-elections permutations.
TONY NWABUNIKE AS THE TARGET OF THE SPONSORS OF THE ANLCA CRISES
There is no gain saying the fact that the current President of ANLCA, Iju Tony Nwabunike is the target of those orchestrating the ongoing crisis in the association. As the president who the buck stops at his table, the troubles also hits to his veins distracting him from concentrating on his set goals. He is at the receiving end of the backlashes, insults, accusations and name callings. Will he ever come out of it? Can he in the next two years of his first tenure remaining resolve all the differences and return the association to the path of peace? What will he do now, that he has not done in the past two years to pacify the aggrieved elders, but to no success?
To seek solution to these issues, investigations into the ANLCA political intrigues reveals that despite the efforts put up by the president and the present NECOM to resolve the crises, it has always hit the brick wall as all parties are holding on to their grounds, even when the president has conceded his positions for peace to reign in many occasions.
WHEN THE ELDERS BECOME THE PROBLEM
For instance we gathered that the Peace and Reconciliation Committee was to settle the Chapter Chairmen elections, BoT crisis among others. The committee report which was tailored according to the wishes of the affected parties was accepted by the president, but the same elders that the committee report was tailored according to their demands, later rejected the recommendations because some of the decisions of the committee did not favour them. The same elders went back to instigate the zonal chapter chairmen against the present leadership. A deliberate act to create confusion in the house as they could not have everything go their way.
Investigations also reveals that the Iju Tony Nwabunike led NECOM has appealed to all the parties to sheath their swords, visiting them and begging for peace to be given a chance, but what he gets in return is more ‘wars’ and insults. However, the elders who are fixated on achieving the pre-election permutations were bent on rubbishing his regime and making a mockery of his leadership.
In many occasions, some past presidents, board members and elders of the ANLCA are instead of seeking amicable resolution of the crisis are fueling it just to bring the current leadership to disrepute. Some elders are even instigating some present elected NECOM members to fight the ANLCA president, as such; this present ANLCA leadership is like a house divided against itself.
All these gimmicks are to scuttle the incumbent administration and claim victory. But unknown to them, it is ANLCA that they are destroying as Nwabunike will leave when his time is up, but the destabilized and fractured ANLCA will remain but in tatters. What a wrong way to play the vampire (if it is not me nothing will work) politics.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, LET HEAVENS FALL
Meabwhile, those thinking that the crisis in ANLCA will soon be over, may be living in a dream land as if the feelers from those fanning the embers of the ‘war’ is anything to go by.
However, a close ally to the ANLCA President told us in confidence that the president would no longer fold his arms and allow people tarnish his image and long built reputation simply because he won an election his predecessor did not want him to win.
The source said: “Tony Nwabunike is a man of peace, he loves the association and that is why in the last two years he emerged as president against all odds, he has focused on bringing everybody together even as he marches doggedly to take the association to greater heights.
“Many thought that having won the election, and have devoted so much of his energy and resources to peace making and bringing everybody together, not minding whether they were for or against him during the election, he deserved to be allowed to work for the association that elected him as their leader.
What we are witnessing is that the same people, who did not want him to be elected, still don’t want him to rule even though he defeated them at the poll. Why are they fighting him?
Have you ever heard of Tony Nwabunike fighting any ANLCA president or administration? Even as pioneer chairman of CRFFN, he fought for the general interest of ANLCA in the Council. What has he done wrong to these few guys in the association who are in the minority but have the means to finance instability by the use of paid writers, sponsorship of frivolous court actions etc?
“ANLCA is nobody’s birthright. Nwabunike should be left alone to run his administration or they should now be ready for the consequences of their libelous write up and other misdemeanor. Even those using some media platforms to attack him should be ready. They should be ready for litigation, enough is enough?
“Tony Nwabunike as a person and President of ANLCA is a very simple and honest leader, he loves peace. His only sin in ANLCA is that he won the ANLCA Presidential election, despite all the intimidation, tribalism and voodoo politics of the immediate past regime to ensure that their preferred candidate emerges. But, by God’s Grace, Nwabunike won. Then why are they still fighting him two years after? Let somebody come out and say this is what he has done wrong, either as an individual or as President of ANLCA. If not, I think we are ready now to match anyone in the courts of law and that of public opinion.
I repeat, enough is enough”.