ANLCA President, Nwabunike, Chief Njoku are to Blame for BOT Crisis- Sir Elochukwu


By Shola Fadeyi


Sir(Chief) Ernest Elochukwu, Former National President, ANLCA


The National President of the  Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA)  Honourable Tony Nwabunike and Chief Henry Njoku  have  been blamed for the  more than one year old leadership crisis that has engulfed the Board of Trustees (BOT) of  the Association.

Sir Ernest Elochukwu , the former National President of ANLCA and a member of the BOT laid the  blame at the door steps of the two  in an interview with Marineandeconomy in his office in Port Harcourt recently adding  that  if Chief Njoku  and Honourable Nwabunike  would allow the truth to prevail , the crisis would be laid to rest .

It will be recalled that the BOT has been thrown into a crisis since April 13, 2018 when it was believed to have held an election where Alhaji Taiwo  Mustapha purportedly  emerged as the Chairman  having defeated  Chief Njoku  by five votes to three  but  the claim  was disputed by the former and his group who have  insisted that  no real election  took place.

Sir Elochukwu  who said he was part of the meeting held in Chief Njoku’s room at the Golden Tulip Hotel , in Amuwo Odofin Lagos  emphasized that the election actually held and that the ballot    must be  respected and recognized by those who are denying it  for peace and development to return to the association.

He said those who have been claiming that the election was not part of the agenda of that day’s meeting were not saying the truth adding that election was  one of the items on matters arising from the minutes  and that it is the  valid place it could have been for it to  be part of the agenda of that day’s meeting.

According to him, Chief Njoku as the then BOT Chairman presided over the meeting but if he was present to discuss every item on the agenda and towards the end of the last item   which is the election   he decided to be absent, of course ‘’ at that point  then there is many wonders in this world and that act  would enter into one of them again’’.

He disclosed that the refusal of Chief Njoku to want to recognize the election that removed him as the Chairman is because he wants to continue to hold on to power while those behind him  such as the ANLCA President and Chief Peter Obi are doing so because of  their inability to  want to abide by an agreement that has been reached by  the Board to the effect that a new Chairman that would emerge then  must be a Yoruba man.

Elochukwu explained that  the agreement was reached  sequel to the granting of a  request from the Odu Maritime Group of the Association through a letter it wrote and which was read at a meeting of the Board  where the Group   wanted  a kind of tribal  balancing in the three key positions in the association, namely the National President Position which was set to be occupied by an  Igbo man  as at that time , the Chairman of the BOT which was  occupied by an Igbo  and the Chairman of ASECO  which is also  an  Igbo man.

He stated that his response to those who have been asking why ANLCA would allow positions in its BOT to be occupied based on tribal consideration has been that it  was for purpose of justice and peace  and for the fact that Nigeria also allows such  to maintain ethnic balance , the reason why there is  Federal Character  adding that this has led to a situation where a Northerner is now the President while a Southerner is the Vice.

The former ANLCA National President said the solution to  the so called crisis  is for Chief Njoku to   accept that he is no longer the Chairman because he had been defeated in a valid  election    adding that people like  Chief Obi  and  Honourable Nwabunike  who has the ANLCA President  is in a position to broker a true peace    should also stop supporting him but rather advise him to abide by  the result  of the election .

Elochukwu  said on the day of the election , Chief Obi had tried to stop it from holding based  may be on  an Igbo agenda  which  he had but  which he (Elochukwu ) did not understand  but that he did not succeed  and so the ballot had to proceed and ended the way it did.

Commenting on the proposition of those who are saying that the current Secretary of the BOT, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi should vacate his position for an Igbo man  if a Yoruba man must be the Chairman, he said  that would not be fair on him for the fact that when he was nominated unopposed nobody else indicated interest adding that if Chief Obi had done so then , maybe he would have been considered.

According to him, it would not be out of place if Prince Oyeniyi decides to stand down from the position out of his own volition, but that it would be wrong to make it a condition that he should leave his position which he was voted to before solution can be found to the raging crisis.

Already many waters has passed under the bridge  since the crisis broke out, as Chief Obi on behalf of Chief Njoku’s group  has gone to court asking it to determine those who are bona fide members of the BOT whose names are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

In the same vein,  the Western Zone of the Association which had dissolved the Association ASECO , had elected another to organise elections to fill some vacant positions in its chapters in recognition of the Chairmanship of Alhaji Mustapha  has also gone to court asking  it to uphold the steps it has taken .

While Alhaji Mustapha and his group had insisted that the election of April 13, 2018 remains sacrosanct, it  will be recalled also that the ANLCA President had told Marineandeconomy in a chat that part of the solution to the crisis  would be  for  both parties in the BOT to agree to organize another election even  as he has started to  explore other avenues to end the conflict , while Chief Obi has stated that  the Court would be the final  arbiter of the crisis.