Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, APFFLON president.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) was established in 2007 through the act of parliament to see to the regulation of freight forwarding practice in the country. The idea for the formation of the Council was originally muted to run as a private regulatory agency, but because the government of the day decided to involve itself in the activities of the Council for the purpose of taking control over the affairs of the Council, it became a government agency, though there are still litigations in the courts over the status of the Council.
In the fourteen or so years of the formation of the Council, the transition from one board to the other has not been a smooth affair. The tenure of the board of the Council has since the past six months elapsed, but the process of electing the fifteen members that should come from the private sector to make up the total of thirty two members with seventeen coming from the side of the government has become more herculean a task than has been anticipated.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.
The major Associations in the freight forwarding and Customs Brokerage Associations have written and also spoken to the Minister for Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi to inquire about the modalities for conducting the election into the board of the Council, the other Council recognised Associations have also either written or spoken to the Minister on a clear-the-air on the election basis with little or no effect as to the who to contest, where, when and how the election is going to hold.
It is in that light that the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has written to the Minister on the thorny issue of the organisation of the election.
The letter which was signed by the President of the association, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite read in part, “While we recognise and appreciate the concerted efforts of the Ministry towards achieving a peaceful, transparent and credible election for the Governing Board of Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), as a body of professional freight forwarders, we do urge the Honorable Minister to intensify efforts towards the successful elections to avoid a vacuum in the Governing Council given the track record of the humongous challenges and setbacks during the last era of CRFFN without a Governing Board”.
The letter continued “It is indeed our expectation that this Governing Council election is scheduled in the first or second quarter of 2022 to set the tempo for professionalism and further enhance the development of freight forwarding practice in the nation”.
The letter also asked the Minister to reveal the findings of the covert investigation by Mr. Muhiy-deen Awwal who looked into the allegations of various infractions levelled against the Register of the Council, Barrister Sam Nwakohu in order to quell the fear of impunity and bias, it also states one of the reasons for the letter as making sure that a vibrant board be put in place to help stakeholders in understanding the dynamics of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and thereby take advantage of its benefits.
It is apparent that with all these musings and various letters that the onus is on the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Amaechi to quickly tidy up his act and have a proper dialogue with stakeholders in order to have a time table for the election and then go on to have the election proper. This year will witness a lot of political activities and so time is of the essence in this matter of the CRFFN election. Crucially, the issues raised in the APFFLON letter are Germaine and should be properly addressed.
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