By Ray Ugochukwu
Barring any last minute change of mind, the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonam, will be exiting association politics for good on November 29.
This is to coincide with the Freight Forwarders’ Day scheduled to hold same day at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos.
Dr. Aniebonam gave the hint of his exit from freight forwarding politics Friday (today) at a media chat where he highlighted on the activities that were being put together to celebrate the event, which for the first time would be taking place outside the NAGAFF Village.
He said his earlier plan to exit from the scene next year was fast-forwarded because he felt “fulfilled having had six members of NAGAFF recently inaugurated into the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) by the Minister of Transport, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
In his words, “Recall that I exited the scene sometime ago but had to return when NAGAFF was sidelined in the Council which is our brainchild. I felt my mission was not accomplished if NAGAFF cannot get into the Council to drive its vision of making the establishment of the Council possible.
“Now that six members of NAGAFF have been inaugurated into the Council, there is nothing more left for me to achieve that is why I’ll be exiting finally of the Freight Forwarders’ Day”. You know it is always better to exit the stage when the ovation is loud”.
On the question as to whether the association has been well positioned to exist without his inputs, Dr. Aniebonam made it clear that NAGAFF was a movement that had a retinue of professionals that could run the affairs where he would be leaving it.
“There is nothing to fear. I have driven NAGAFF to autopilot where it is now on a cruise level. You can see the lineup. Increase (Chief Increase Uche) is there now as the President, you can see the person following him, who will take over when his tenure is due. Don’t forget these are well groomed professionals, who understand the industry”, he remarked.
Aniebonam also used the occasion to announce his decision to relinquish his chairmanship of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) next year for others to drive the process.
On the November 29 event, he announced that it was being sponsored by the sister arm of NAGAFF, which is the NNPP, which he said its officials and candidates for various elective positions in the February 2019 general election, would be in Lagos for the occasion.
He disclosed that on the eve of the event the political bigwigs of NNPP from all the states of the federation would assemble in Apapa for a serious get together preceding the Freight Forwarders’ Day.
Speaking on how best the country’s port reform efforts could be successful; the former Customs officer said freight forwarders should be made to be on the driver’s seat. He argued that cargo declarants should be made to be individuals, who should be trained and retrained freight forwarders and could be held accountable in the event of anything uncustomed.
Aniebonam added that this should be in contrast to the prevailing situation where issues were being based on the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) thereby placing such a responsibility on corporate entities, a development he viewed as absurd in view of the CRFFN Act, which is a newer legislation.
Boniface Aniebonam, Founder NAGAFF