By Ray Ugochukwu
There are strong indications that the planned October 9, 2021 election into the Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), may be marred by serious irregularities.
Seabreeze News gathered that because of the shoddy way the Election Committee is alleged to be handling the exercise, most of the contestants are now recruiting university students and some miscreants in Abuja, venue of the election, to vote them in.
Findings show that unlike in the last election when the various freight forwarding associations were busy registering their members for the exercise, this time around nothing of such appears to be going on as attention has shifted to Abuja for the recruitment of merceneries as the electorate.
Stakeholders had expected the Election Committee, put together by the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) to use the CRFFN Register of Freight Forwarders for the exercise but that appears not the case.
Aniebonam, Founder, NAGAFF
Seabreeze News scooped that the Registrar of CRFFN, Barr. Samuel Nwakohu, who is supposed to provide the Register, is said not to be even aware of the Council election as he is not being carried along.
According to many stakeholders, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, what is more worrisome is the fact that the Election Committee has not had any consultation with stakeholders for their input or give explanations on the modalities for the election. Also worrisome to the electorate is the haste with which the FMOT is said to be handling the exercise as if there is no tomorrow.
Insider sources in the Ministry allege that the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) party has hijacked the CRFFN, which it now perceives as a cashcow in preparation for the 2023 general election.
Meanwhile, the Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, has denounced the shoddy arrangements by the Election Committee towards the CRFFN election.
In a media briefing Tuesday, he wondered why the voters should be made to converge in Abuja in the face of the security situation in the country presently. He pointed out that the bulk of the country’s maritime business was domiciled in Lagos; hence it would have been more appropriate to hold the election there.
He recalled that during the Obasanjo presidency the agencies of government were directed to move to Abuja but were later made to return to Lagos because that was the base of their operations.
He also wondered why the electoral body would jettison the Register of Freight Forwarders in preference for concocted lists compiled by individual associations.
Aniebonam regretted that the exercise was a replication of the first election to the Governing Council that was marred with irregularities for which the body was yet to recover from.
He expressed the opinion that the haste with which the Ministry was handling the election was not necessary, hence he advised that all stakeholders should be carried along in order to have a credible election that would add value to the Council.
Already, the government is said to have appointed 17 persons as its representatives in the Council thereby leaving the five associations to make up the remaining 15 vacancies.
Our correspondent gathered that most of the associations are not keen at sending their members to the FCT because of the huge logistics implications, preferring instead to use machineries. It was learnt that they are recruiting students in higher institutions and members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Abuja and environs to vote in the election.