*Mustapha Extends Olive Branch
The Board of Trustees (BOT), Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) is beginning a fresh tenure of six years, its Chairman, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha has said.
The fresh tenure is coming on the heels of the full payment of all outstanding fees at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Headquarters, Abuja which were not paid over the years.
Mustapha in an exclusive interview with Maritime Bits in Lagos said the BOT was propelled by the need to regularise its registration at the CAC which was left unattended since the board was constituted.
He hinged the fresh tenure on the fact that the courts have declared its first six years of its existence null and void due to its lack of registration.
Maritime Bits checks revealed that members of the board by the provisions of ANLCA constitution expected to vacate office on February 14, 2020. However the discovery in the course of the protracted crisis that engulfed the board in 2018 that its registration with CAC since year 2001 was not regularise. This was not unconnected with the fact that it failed to register the names of five out of its nine members since it was inaugurated. Mustapha also revealed that the board also failed to pay the annual dues to the CAC since 2001 just it also declined to file any annual returns to the CAC over the years. This was besides the fact that a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos also nullified the board elections in 2019 just as it directed that members of the board should stop parading themselves as ANLCA BOT henceforth.
A copy of the CAC registration certificate sighted by our correspondent showed that those registered were Chief Dennis Okafor, Dayo Azeez, Taiwo Mustapha, and Chief Ernest Elochukwu. Those whose names were on the CAC before 2001 were Taiye Oyeniyi, Henry Njoku, Aare Sanni Shittu and Peter Obi.
Mustapha’s exclusive interview with Maritime Bits was on the heels of the successful peace-meeting and elections at Dikko House, the corporate national secretariat of ANLCA in Lagos.
While conceding that the tenure of the board supposed end on 13th of February 2020 as this was the date they were elected in 2014 for a tenure of six years, he noted that in the eyes of the law, the tenure of the BOT is just starting on the 16th of January for another six years.
He extended an olive branch to those oppose to him as the Chairman of the board just as he reiterated the readiness of the BOT to work with the National President of ANLCA, Mr. Anthony Nwabunike to meet the yearnings and aspirations of its members in the years ahead.
His words: “I believe some of you are aware of the court judgement that was given to one of the board members, Mr. Peter Obih questioning my chairmanship of the board. The judgement was not against me but other members of the board. Among other things, the judgement said we should stop parading ourselves as members of the board. With that judgment, we felt that it was an indictment for us not to have made the move to register our names all these while. We went back to CAC and what we got there was really shocking and shameful. We realized that since 2001, ANLCA has not been paying the annual dues neither have the association made any annual returns to the corporate affairs, so we have been existing just in name as ANLCA but legally we were not. It was on the basis of this that all the annual returns were paid by five of us from our personal pocket”
He alleged that during the registration process, it was discovered that three of the board members namely Henry Njoku, Peter Obih and Aare Sanni Shittu had forged a letter to the CAC that ANLCA file should be in caveat and taken off the shelves at CAC corporate headquarters, Abuja.
According to Mustapha, the action of Obih, Njoku and Shittu made it difficult for anyone to carryout action on the association for several years. But thank God, we fought the issue and the registration was done. Four of us were registered and the names of the entire eight of us still appear on the certificate. As it is, ANLCA is now brand new association as far as corporate affairs is concerned and that is one of the reasons we have to had this meeting, so as to intimate the president officially that this is where we are on the need to regularise the association.
He revealed that at the meeting which took place last Thursday, an election was held to determine chairman and other officers of the board.
He disclosed that while he was elected as the Chairman, Chief Dennis Okafor was elected the Vice Chairman and Prince Taiye Oyeniyi was elected as the Secretary.
He stated that Njoku, Obih, and Shittu were absent at the meeting despite the fact that they were duly informed abou the meeting.
His words: “We have held another election on Thursday and I have been returned as the Chairman of the board, Chief Dennis have been returned as the Vice Chairman and Prince Taiye Oyeniyi have been returned as the secretary of ANLCA board. In order to avoid any misgivings because anybody can say the tenure of the board should probably end on the 13th of this month, because that was when we held the election in 2014. Agreed the election supposed to end this year, because it is a tenure of six years, but in the eyes of the law legally speaking and based on that court judgement that says we are not yet board members until we are registered in the corporate affairs, so as far as we are concerned, that tenure is just starting on the 16th of January for another six years. So we take it that on the 16th of January that is when we became the board members of ANLCA”.
In his contribution, Elochukwu expressed regret that the protracted crisis in ANLCA has denied members especially the ones that are yet to get their feet in the clearing and forwarding the purpose for which the association was established decades ago.
Elochukwu who is also a former National President of ANLCA expressed the commitment of the BOT to work with Nwabunike to address the operational challenges confronting members over the years.
Meanwhile, the National Executive Committee (NECOM) of ANLCA has kicked against the six years tenure extension for the BOT of the association.
The National Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Abdulazeez Babatunde who made the position of NECOM public in Lagos said the present board officially expires on 7th of February 2020 at 1200hrs and there would be no extension whatsoever.
He maintained that NECOM no longer recognize them as members of BOT for the association.
His words: “The first clarification is that the tenure of the present board of trustee has expired. I want to also state it clearly that nobody gets into ANLCA board unless through an annual general meeting (AGM) called specifically for that purpose. The last time such AGM was called happens to be at Warri in 2014. This is the same AGM that returned the present board. However, whatever are their challenges over their inability to get themselves registered after their election, this should be an internal issue between them. This does not mean they are not our board. Close to 600 people who travelled by road to Warri, Delta State gave them that mandate to seat as the board of ANLCA, so nobody can seat inside an air-conditioning room and extend such tenure. It is a joke of the century and it cannot stand.