Dr. Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonam, founder, NAGAFF.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The scheduled 9th of October 2021 election into the governing council of the Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) is turning up more dust than expected. A whole lot of arguments are being generated about the where, when and how the election is going to take place; and the fact that some of the various sectorial associations are in a great rush to register new members who will become eligible to vote in the election makes the whole process a lot more complicated.
The latest of the intrigues playing out is a letter written by NAGAFF and signed by its general secretary, Dipo ‘General’ Olayoku to the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.
Dipo ‘general’ Olayoku, NAGAFF general secretary.
In the letter, NAGAFF congratulated the Minister on being made the Chairman of the electoral committee, but also pointed out to him that the one month time frame mapped out for contestants to pick up the forms, campaign and then take part in the election is rather too short. The letter also pointed to the fact that unlike the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the electoral committee has not meet with the various freight forwarding associations to seek their opinions and contributions on ways to making the election a big success.
On the fact that Abuja has been selected as the venue for the election, NAGAFF gave a lot of reasons to discourage that decision, citing the fact that about 85% of all the freight forwarding activities happen in the South Western part of the country and particularly Lagos and so consideration should be given to Lagos to host the whole process of the election. The safety and convenience as well as the economic costs for the contestants, observers and other stakeholders during the process has also been adduced as a cause for concern and reason for suggesting Lagos as the host of the election.
The ongoing registration of members who will be eligible to vote has also raised eyebrows and is one of the points raised in the letter. The letter dwelled on the suspicion that some moneybags will use the registration process to eventually highjack the election, the statement cites the 2018 election where it was alleged that some students and motor park touts were brought in to vote at that election. NAGAFF advised the electoral committee that act 16 of 2007 setting up the CRFFN recognised three categories of members 1. Individual, 2. Corporate, 3. Association and the fact that there was a memorandum of understanding where the 15 positions in the council were shared in the ratio of 6,6,1,1,1 by the five freight forwarding associations.
The association urged the committee to explore all the legal and administrative tools to ensure a good process that will bring out the best capable hands that will pilot the affairs of the Council.
The statement concluded by urging the electoral committee to void for the purpose of the election any membership registration that came in after the ‘public notice’ had been issued for the election and that the guidelines set up for the INEC for the purpose of conducting elections in Nigeria should form the standard for the committee to follow.
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