…As Dakuku, Adeyanju, and other stakeholders call for solidarity
By Foster Obi
National President, of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr Kingsley Emenike Nwokeoji has assured that ANLCA is fully back to business even as he calls for all hands on deck to make the most of the reunification.
Speaking at the inauguration of the newly elected executive members and the reunification ceremony of the long-fractured association, yesterday in Lagos, the president noted, “The event of today is meant to once again inform the general public, and particularly stakeholders, that ANLCA is fully back in the comity of associations in the Maritime industry, to take its rightful position as the numero uno Customs Brokerage/Freight Forwarding association in Nigeria especially and, internationally in general.
“Importantly, 5 years plus, after our misunderstanding in ANLCA, it is time to come together to chart a new course of relevance for our association, for the benefit of our long-suffering members, for our Nation Nigerian and humanity’s sake,” he noted.
According to him, “Building on our Restoration mantra, we have done so much within so short a period in stabilizing the ship of our great Association. Peace and unity are more paramount than ever before.
“After years of doldrums, we should avoid divisions and work in harmony to collectively protect our common heritage before others, particularly foreigners, will shove us behind.
“Let us close ranks with sister associations and collectively rescue our profession from outsiders masquerading as Clearing Agents or Customs Brokers before it’s too late.
“It is in the light of this that I, and other members of my executive, seek the support of you – our mutual and common stakeholders, in the pursuit of a mutually beneficial collaboration and partnership, in this arduous, but not impossible, task of leading ANLCA back to National and International reckoning.
“We intend to hereafter reach out to all the stakeholders to synergize on issues bordering on the advancement of the Maritime and Aviation industry, and fact, on National Policy, issues as it affects our subsector, to present a formidable, common front.
“To ANLCA members, I must thank all of you for your resilience, perseverance, understanding, and patience, during the crisis, so much so, that you never fell for the cajoling of other associations to join them, by departing ANLCA for theirs.
Explaining the journey so far and gratitude to those who made sacrifices to make the new ANLCA possible, he said, “Let me commence by thanking God Almighty for journey mercies to attend this first, unique outing by the new National Executive Committee (NECOM) of ANLCA, and to you all for finding time to be here with us.
“NECOM was elected on the 7th of September 2023 and sworn into office the same day at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island. Lagos.
“NECOM secured an overwhelming mandate to superintend over the affairs of ANLCA for 4 years – 2023 to 2027.
“The 7th of September 2023 election at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, marked the end of an over 5-year unnecessary and avoidable crisis in ANLCA.
”I sincerely extend my heartfelt appreciation to my dear wife – Dr (Mrs) Ijeoma Edith Nwokeoji – and the entire Nwokeoji family for their support and understanding for the past years I’ve devoted my time and resources to the service of ANLCA.
“Immense gratitude must go to the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) for kick-starting the reconciliation process in ANLCA early this year. In the like manner, the Comptroller General of Customs – Alhaji Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR concretized the reconciliatory process on the 19th of July 2023 in Abuja, through the Customs Consultative Committee (CCC), under the leadership of Alhaji Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju.
“ANLCA shall continue to be grateful for the roles played by these individuals/institutions by berthing a reconciled, newer ANLCA.
“Most specially and in a unique way, my thanks go to the ANLCA Board of Trustees led by the Chairman, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha and Prince Ozo Chukwurah, Chief Ernest Elochukwu, Chief Dennis Okafor, Dayo Azeez, and others for your resoluteness, commitment, and steadfastness, in ensuring all parties were carried along during and after the process.
“This earned you the confidence, trust, and respect of all, which enabled you to deliver the most widely acclaimed credible election in the history of almost 70 years of ANLCA, even under a tense atmosphere.
“Completing this onerous task to the satisfaction and acceptance of ANLCA members, contestants, and all maritime stakeholders, is not a mean feat.
“And to my former boss Prince Olayiwola Shittu whose support has been total, I remain eternally grateful.
“Sincere gratitude to my Campaign DG Chief Sir John Ofobike – Dan Katsina – and the entire team that midwife this victory.
“In truth, I have been National Vice President for two tenures before (2010 – 2018). I had contested and lost elections in 2018 to be the National President. But, in truth, I never hesitated in congratulating the declared winner.
“To my Vice President – Prince Segun Oduntan, you’ve remained a reliable, dependable and trusted ally. I feel you.
“To the Women in ANLCA (the ANLCA angels), you deserve my special accolade at the appropriate time. Your steadfast love, commitment, dedication, and sacrifice will not go unrewarded by the grace of the God we serve. The entire NECOM is eternally grateful and proud of you”, the National President declared.
Chairman of the occasion and former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside called for solidarity from maritime stakeholders and the agencies in the industry for the newly elected executives headed by Nwokeoji.
He pleaded with the Nigeria Customs Service to support ANLCA members in their operations to enable their full relaunch.
He said, “The partnership between ANLCA and customs is like a marriage that can never be divorced. As for Customs, ANLCA is your wife in this marriage, and you must be a good husband, support them, and make concessions where you need to.
“Your regulatory powers do not mean you should suppress them, it means you should encourage them to succeed.”
Dakuku advised Nwokeoji not to use his position as President of ANLCA to oppress members but to use it to advance their course.
“You must have the trust and understanding of members of this association, it is when we are honest, humble, and accommodating when we don’t know the difference between South East, South West, North, South-South, we treat everyone equally, that is when you can earn our respect and trust, we would give them to you and you shall succeed.
While speaking, the National President of Maritime Workers Union, (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju said “I want to tell the new executives and Mr President, that being a president is not a tea party, you must close ranks and allow peace to reign within the sector. The port system is bigger than every one of us, the founding fathers of ANLCA have played a significant role in bringing the association to where it is today, you cannot allow external forces to influence the peace that makes ANLCA what it is today.
“To Mr President, you must not allow this association to go into extinction, you must allow peace to continue to reign by bringing all aggrieved members on board.”
The Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi who was represented by the Assistant Comptroller General Zone ‘A’ ACG Bello Jybo expressed confidence in the caliber and character of the newly elected NECOM members and assured of the full support of his administration to ANLCA.
Picture: Dakuku Peterside (left) and Customs ACG Bello Jybo showcasing the ANLCA President, Emenike Nwokeoji after decorating him with the insignia office during the event in Ikeja, Lagos.