Election crises is looming in the maritime sector as four out of the five freight forwarding associations registered by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has resolved that the 15 contestable positions in the forthcoming CRFNN Governing Council election be shared among the five registered associations rather than allowing them to contest for the positions.
After a meeting held at the headquarters of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), the four associations namely; the association of Registered Freight Forwarders Nigeria (AREFFN), the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), National Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC) and NAGAFF stated that the decision was taken in view of the envisaged logistics, crowd control, feeding, accommodation and security challenges that would be faced if the CRFFN insists on holding the election in Abuja.
A communiqué signed by representatives of the four associations noted that the sharing formula was to be based on the numerical strength and spread of the associations as follows: NAGAFF 6 Positions, ANLCA 6 Positions, AREFFN 1 Position, NAFFAC 1 Position and NCMDLC 1 Position.
“By this, it was agreed that this will produce an all-inclusive council. This sharing formula was unanimously voted for and passed into effect.
“As a follow-up to this resolution it was also agreed that instead of the full rigour of elections, the candidates of each association should be chosen by consensus by each association and should then be the members of the Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
“It is also agreed upon that every freight practitioner shall and must belong to one of the registered associations of CRFFN. This we all agreed shall be a strict measure for control and regulation of practitioners by CRFFN”, the communiqué said.
The communiqué disclosed that at the meeting, fears were expressed by the other three associations on the issue of the nomination fee for the election and that the associations wanted the CRFFN to reduce the amount as the economic situation in the country currently might not enable those who genuinely want to contest to pay the high nomination fee as this would technically disenfranchise them.
It continued,” Another area that was hotly debated was the choice of Abuja as the venue for the election. It was canvassed that the cost of carrying voters to Abuja from the North West (Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina) South East (Portharcout, Calabar etc) and South West (Lagos, Ogun etc) to Abuja including their feeding and accommodation would be astronomical.
“Other fears were that NAGAFF and ANLCA are likely to win all the elective positions thus making the Council exclusive rather than being inclusive. It was further argued that if all the voters should converge in Abuja there is going to be a very serious security issue and crowd control to contend with.
On why only four out of the five registered associations registered their presence, the communiqué said,” It is instructive to state that when this meeting was called, the invitation was forwarded to all five registered associations but for reason not known to all the four that attended the meeting, one association i.e the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) did not attend the meeting. No apology was sent by the association for their absence”.