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ANLCA BOT sues for peace, offers Mustapha group peace deal to end crisis
—says crisis unnecessary, time, resources wasting
The Eyewitness reporter
The battle-weary Board of Trustees of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA) led by Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, has offered to collaborate and integrate the warring group of Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha into their fold if they are ready to embrace peace.
It could be recalled that the freight forwarding group, reputed to be the oldest freight forwarding association in Nigeria, has been embroiled in a long-drawn battle of supremacy and show of powers between two parallel BOT that were contending for the soul of the association.
This has thrown the association into an energy-sapping crisis for almost five years without any sign of abatement.
However, after rigorous court processes and internal realignments, the hybrid processes of legal and constitutional mechanisms threw up Dr. Afolabi- led BOT as the authentic group whose genuineness was further reaffirmed and reinforced by the reopening and handling of the association’s secretariat to the National Executive Council of the Association led by Tony Iju Nwabunike by the police last week Friday
However, refusing to bask in the seeming victory and get intoxicated by the vindication of its stance as exemplified by the possession of the reopened secretariat, the Afolabi-led BOT has returned no victor, no vanquished verdict but called for the unification of the warring parties for the peace and unity of the war-weary association.
Speaking on Tuesday in Lagos, Price Ozo Chukwurah, the Vice-Chairman of ANLCA BOT declared that the board is ready to bend backward to accommodate the other warring group in order to end this seeming protracted crisis.
According to him, the board was willing to make concessions to the other group to foster the elusive peace in the association.
”This is a new year, I plead and sue for peace, even if it means going down on my knees. I will do everything possible for us to achieve peace.
”We should embrace peace and shun bitterness because time is fast running out.
”I will make a proposal to our board and NECOM so that we can convene an AGM/NEC meeting where the suspension of some members could be reversed and they would be reabsorbed into the association for peace to reign.
”Most of us in the elective positions in the association are on the final lap of our tenure. We need youths to come up and take over.
” Only four people from the Mustapha group are qualified to recontest their positions and they are Dayo Azez, Ernest Elochukwu, Taiwo Mustapha and Dennis Okafor who can join the nine members of Taiwo Afolabi-led board. We need to amend the constitution to accommodate them. This should not be a problem because laws are made for man and not man for the law.
”This is the part of the peace efforts the board is willing to make to ensure that this crisis is resolved and lasting peace is restored back to the ANLCA.
” Even these people I mentioned, some of them don’t have time for the association again because they are heavyweight. They don’t even have enough time for their numerous business interests. So we need to start to groom some capable youths to take over the leadership of the association.
”The second aspect is we should allow all the actions and inactions of Tony Iju to pawn off. Every chapter where he conducted elections should be allowed to serve out its tenure.
”Also, if we come together, the board will allow them to be part of the ASECO that will conduct the next elections.
”They are too big to be ASECO members but they can send in their representatives to the association electoral body.
”We run an inclusive government not by appointment but elections.
”I was elected as a member of the BOT for six years and I have served out two years, remaining four years. I am not willing to resign but intend to serve out my tenure.
” I have supported all the past members who have served on the board, I never called for their sack or resignation before they served out their tenure, including Taye Oyeniyi, until this crisis started.
”Therefore, I am begging everyone concerned to allow peace to reign in the association.
”I am calling on all of them to an enlarged meeting where we all jaw-jaw and not war-war so that we can bring the association back from the brink of collapse to the path of peace.
”No victor, no vanquished. We are all winners in this matter”, the BOT Vice Chairman declared.
He also explained that all the court cases that could have acted as barriers to the peace deals have all been disposed off except one that will be decided in February but which he said have been overtaken by event.
Prince Chukwurah further noted that the only one that could have presented a bit of challenge was the one instituted by Tony Iju Nwabunike when he was attacked by hoodlums loyal to the other group.
He however promised that if the Mustapha group could embrace peace, the BOT will prevail on Nwabunike to withdraw the criminal suit from court to give peace a chance.
”Another criminal case pending was the one where Tony Iju and his group were attacked. We shall look into that and prevail on the complainants to withdraw it if only the other group agrees to embrace peace”
The ANLCA chieftain lamented that the crisis has taken a heavy toll on the association, appealing to all aggrieved parties to sheath their swords and allow peace to reign.
He however claimed that it was only Joe Sanni, the Senior Assistant on Media and Publicity to the immediate past President of ANLCA, Price Olayiwola Shittu, who was profiting from the crisis.
”He is the only one feeding fat on the crisis, hence his intention to continue to fan the ember of discord with his inflammatory statements that are bare-faced lies and falsehood” Ozo alleged.
(Read the full interview Thursday)
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