Contenders for the plum positions on the governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) have lamented the indefinite postponement of elections into the board of the council.
The candidates, who are vying for the 15 positions reserved for the body of freight forwarders on the 32- member board, expressed frustration and agitations over what they described as deliberate attempts by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to wear them out with endless and needless wait.
It could be recalled that Amaechi had in September 2021, set up an electoral committee to conduct the elections into the CRFFN governing board.
The committee had scheduled the elections for October 11, 2021, which never took place.
The postponement was as a result of the controversy over independent candidature which the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the two leading freight forwarders groups among the five accredited associations, had vehemently opposed.
This has stalemated the run-on to the elections in addition to the sharing of the positions on the board on the 6-6-1-1-1 ratio in favour of the two leading freight forwarders groups.
The Minister had therefore ordered that the elections be put on hold pending the time the crisis of confidence over the controversial sharing formula and independent candidature among the body of freight forwarders was resolved.
Consequently, all the candidates were later invited to a peace meeting in Abuja where the matter was expected to be resolved.
However, according to a source close to the CRFFN board contenders, the meeting was never held as the Minister has since then perpetually kept the contenders in waiting.
“We were first invited to Abuja for a meeting with the Minister on November 26th, 2021.
“But when we were all seated in the conference room of the ministry, waiting for the Minister, he just sauntered in and told us he could not hold any meeting as he was tired and he then walked out.
” They gave us another appointment fixed for December 3rd, 2021 only to get there and learnt that the Minister had followed President Muhammadu Buhari on an investment trip to Dubai.
” It was so frustrating as we spent money on accommodation and feeding on those two occasions while waiting for the Minister” the source lamented.
He also declared that some of them have spent so much on the postponed elections.
“We bought nomination form for N500,00 and spent millions of Naira to register our members for voting.
“Now this waiting game that has no end” the exasperated source complained in a bitter tone.
He urged the Minister to put an end to the waiting game by allowing the elections to be conducted as soon as possible because, according to him, nature abhors a vacuum.
“Let him make whatever decision he wants to make and allow the elections to hold because, as it is now, the absence of a governing council of the CRFFN doesn’t augur well for the welfare of our members who are now like sheep without shepherd”
“The body of freight forwarders cannot continue to leave their destinies in the hands of those government appointees in the CRFFN secretariat who lack the knowledge of the industry, especially the Registrar who lacks requisite competence to oversee the complex world of freight forwarding industry ” the embittered source declared.