By Innocent Orok
Politics in Nigeria in particular is regarded as a dirty game. Its assumed to be a game for liars and blackmailers, as their stock in trade. The game of politics is largely human and homogeneous. Let no human says, he or she is ignorance or non participant in the political space, such will be a liar of all times.
Politics happened in all spheres of lives, families, groups, organizations, either political, religious, business etc. But the unique essentials of politics at any level and season is intrigues, choices, decisions and options. It also goes with the ingredients of backstabbing, blackmail, disagreements, propaganda and mischievous tendencies. If you say you are innocent in this game, then be the first to cast the stone.
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) is a body of professionals, both politically and ethnically inclined, with its members having the fundamental rights to choice of who to support or witch hunt.
At the last count, ANLCA having been established in 1954 is a democratically constitutional organisation which is govern by electoral processes and procedures under tenured duration for BoT members, National Executive Committee (NECOM) and Chapter Executives. While the BOT members have six years tenure, NECOM members have four years, while Chapter Executives have three years, all with second term options, if so desired.
With this organised democratic setting, it behoves on all accredited licensed members to via for positions, votes and be voted for, with an option to boot out any non -performing leader at any level of the organisation.
Its on record that since 1954 when ANLCA was founded, many Presidents/ NECOM, BOT members and Chapter Executives have held sways at different times, years and seasons. Some , mostly Presidents and BOT members have had difficult times and either ended their tenures peacefully, in crises or forced to throw in the towel.
It is also pertinent to note that, just like the typical Nigeria political setting, where sentiments, ethnicity, parochial interest and blind followership exists, the same has been the stock in trade in the Nigeria foremost Clearing and Forwarding association. And as the twenty- first century economy grows with greed, quest for money and power, so ANLCA has joined the train.
TONY NWABUNIKE TENURE AND ANLCA POLITICS
The Iju Tony Nwabunike’s leadership of ANLCA since his emergence two years ago has been smeared with high level “Politics of Attrition” spearheaded by self serving and power seeking individuals in the categories of Board of Trustees Members, former Presidents, chapter Chairmen and other members alongside their followers. With this crises of interest, most functional subsets of the organisation like BOT, chapter operations and even payment of dues by chapters and individuals have all seized.
It is important to note that as a non profit making organisation, ANLCA survives by paying its bills from the dues paid by its registered members through their chapters. And from our findings, since the inception of this present National Executive Council ( NECOM), most of the chapters have refused to pay their dues, especially in the Western Zone, which is regarded as the financial hub of the association. Of course, this act is to frustrate and crippled the activities of the association at the national level.
It was gathered that there is a deliberate attempts by some powerful members of the association to frustrate and mimic the Tony Nwabunike led ANLCA ,either for him to resign or be made a laughing stock in the committee of ANLCA leaders. This group we gathered have deployed various tactics such as court cases, holding on to their guns and fighting dirty as well as mobilizing their followers not to pay true allegiance to the present leadership, including not paying their membership dues.
WHY CHAPTER ELECTIONS MUST HOLD
ANLCA being a democratic organisation with a decentralized structures of Command. The structures are divided into Zones, Chapters and the National Executive Council. While, the Zones are administered by Zonal Coordinators, the Chapters are manned by Chapter Chairmen, all reporting to the NECOM as headed by the National President.
Of particular importance is the Chapter Chairmen, who are the foot soldiers of the NECOM in the various Zones. At present, ANLCA has about 24 Chapters spanning across, the North, West and Eastern Zones of the Country.
The Chapter elections are conducted every three years to elect new Chairmen and other Executives.
Just last week, the present ANLCA, NECOM decided to start conducting elections into its chapters, beginning from Kano and Abuja International Airport Chapters. Though, the election went well, but with so much fuss from the antagonists of the present regime who never wanted such feat to be recorded by this present leadership.
I have heard of Court injunction stopping the chapter elections. I have also heard of the so called court injunction as being expired and non implementable. Have heard of so many arguments, positions and frustrations. Most striking is the practice that BOT members are always in control of the Bonded Terminals in the chapters as their ” Juicy Pot” of survival. This has been the practice to keep the elders going , even when not in real functional practice of Freight Forwarding. With this control, the ANLCA BOT members have enormous powers to run things and either make every NECOM functional or crises ridden. This is the crop of the matter, why troubles are brewing between the ANLCA, NECOM and BOT.
The Tony Nwabunike led NECOM should be commended for pulling the Bull by the horn to conduct chapter elections after several postponements. Without the Chapter elections, this present regime has no democratic structures as spelled out in the ANLCA constitution.
It is therefore advisable to say that which ever divide, ANLCA members may be, it is the democratic structures that can vote out unwanted leaders and vote in preferred leaders . Imputing crises will only destroy and further fragment the association, which in turn will do no one any good.
For the ANLCA leaders and elders, peace is the best option to freedom and liberty, progress and human dignity. According to Charles De Gaulle ” Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so”. Let ANLCA Men determined to be real great Men.
For the ANLCA, NECOM, deploying peaceful means to lead is not weakness. But also invoking the power of authority to control and manage is not arrogance, apply both strictly and diligently. According to Buddha ” It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then, the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by Angels or by Demons, Heaven or Hell”.
And for ANLCA members, I leave you all with the words of Marian Wright Edelman ” You just need to be a Flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest Dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest Nation”.
Let peace reign.