…Chairman not imposed but by consensus
By Ray Ugochukwu
Chairman, 100% Compliance Team of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forworders (NAGAFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, has debunked claims that the Governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has been inaugurated.
He also said there was nothing like imposition of a Chairman on the board, saying that the selection of principal officers was done by consensus of all the elected and appointed members present at the meeting.
Explaining in details to Seabreeze News, Tanko said that contrary to the news that the board had been inaugurated, what took place was a meeting with the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, on the election of principal officers, including the Chairman.
“I’ve just returned from Abuja. While there, I was hearing people saying that the Governing Board of the CRFFN has been inaugurated. That is not true. They invited us to a meeting with the minister. To me, the purpose of the meeting was to elect the chairman and the vice”, he said.
He informed that as they settled down for the meeting, the minister walked in saying he had not more than one minute to spend with the members. He said the purpose of the gathering was to see if all could agree that “the status quo should remain” to which everybody chorused “yes”.
The 100% Compliance Team boss said as the minister was about leaving, one of them asked him about the formal inauguration of the board to which he answered that left to him the body was as good as having been inaugurated.
At this juncture, he disclosed, a lawyer representing the Ministry, interjected to clarify that the forum was not for inauguration and that formal letters to communicate when the exercise would take place, would be written to them. He said thereafter, the minister left and that the Chairman, Tsanni, addressed the members, thanking them for their support and promised to work them all. After that, he said, the meeting ended.
In his words, “What happened was that as we settled down for the meeting, the minister walked in and told us that he has not more than one minute to spend with us because of other engagements he has. He said the essence of calling for the meeting was to find out if we all can agree that the status quo should remain. By that he meant if the Chairman and the vice should continue, and we all said yes.
Tsanni, CRFFN Board Chairman
“Nobody objected to his suggestion. If anybody had objected, we would have conducted the election there and then but nobody did. I’m surprised to hear people saying he imposed the Chairman on us; there was nothing like that. I challenge anybody who says this is not what happened to come out and prove me wrong”.
Seabreeze News sighted one of the letters of invitation sent to elected members for the meeting, which did not state anything about inauguration.
The letter dated April 21, 2022 stated, “I am directed to invite you to a meeting with the Honourable Minister of Transportation as an elected member of the Governing Council Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)”.
Signed by one Ekanem U. David, an Assistant Director, Inland Container Depots, for the minister, the letter added that the time for the meeting was for May 4, 2022 by 1.00pm.
Alhaji Tanko, an elected member of the Governing Board, told our correspondent that before going for the meeting, NAGAFF representatives had decided to support the former Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni, to continue in office while Princess Chi Eze, one their own and who polled the highest number of votes in the March election, had indicated interest to go for the position of the Vice Chairman.
However, according to him, when the minister raised the issue of status quo remaining, they had expected Princess Eze to declare her interest but she kept quiet, which was interpreted to mean jettisoning her ambition. By that, the frontline freight forwarder informed, Chief Henry Njoku of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), retained his seat as the Vice Chairman.
Recall that shortly after the meeting with the minister, there were reports that the Governing Board had been inaugurated with the Minister imposing on the body his election campaign chief for another term.
The CRFFN Board is made up 32 members, 15 of which are freight forwarders elected into the Council during the elections that took place in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt on March 9, 2022. Government selected 17 members representing different agencies.
The agencies include the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Federal Ministry of Education and Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).
Others are Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT); University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT).
In addition, there are six appointees representing the geo-political zones in the country including Katsina for North West; Yobe – North East; Lagos – South West; Edo – South South; Imo – South East and Kwara – North Central.