CILT is addressing grievances of members over recent protest-Ndibe
Paul Ndibe is the acting national executive director of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria. CILT is an International Professional body for all sectors of the Transport and Logistics Industry. Founded in the United Kingdom in 1919 and granted a Royal Charter on the 26th of November, 1926, the CILT was essentially established to promote knowledge of the science and art of Logistics and Transport and to provide a source of authoritative views for communication to government, industry and the community at large.
CILT Nigeria as a National Council of the International professional body was established in 1958 and is involved in overseeing, regulating, training and certification of transport professionals nationwide.
Recently, there was protest sparked off by the Lagos Chapter over plans by the council to hold their annual national conference and general meeting at Port Harcourt instead of Lagos.
In this interview, Oluwatoyin Amao spoke with Ndibe on the position of the council on the controversy.
What is the national council doing to address the grievances of protesting members
The matter is for council decision and the council had even before the protest taken a decision on the grievances of members. The letter relating to the protest was delivered and is before the body and to the best of my ability and knowledge, the council members individually are looking at the request of the letter.
Why was the conference and annual general meeting (AGM) moved to Port Harcourt
There was a request to shift the AGM from Lagos granted that about three or two AGMs had been held here. The last two annual general meetings were held in Lagos; it was requested that this particular AGM be moved outside of Lagos so that those coming from outside Lagos this time may have the meeting near to their location and allow the members in Lagos to also move closer and have a feel of other locations. The council was also considering the prospect of sponsorship of the AGM by organisation around Port-Harcourt; these were the reasons that influenced the decision.
Why do you think members of the Institute are against the conference and meeting holding in Port Harcourt
The initial arrangement was for the AGM to hold in Lagos but other considerations were given by council and council voted to move it to another location. Adequate notice was agreed to be served on members and that was done.
There are allegations that the conference was to move from Lagos to Port Harcourt because the incumbent president wants to impose his candidate for the post on the Institute.
I don’t know how that can be substantiated because as the president of the institute, he will have one vote and other voting members will also have their own individual single vote. So I would not know how that can play out. It might be the imagination of some people but it cannot be proved. The critical things that can be verified are the issues I mentioned earlier and these are what came up at the council.
There has been allegation that the CILT is broke. What is your take on this
To say that an Institute is broke cannot be verified. The institute is a non-profit making organization, so we try to also float but not to necessarily generate or go out to making earnings of profitable nature. If we are going to hold an AGM we have corporate members that we can solicit for assistance to support and bear the costs for AGM and national conference, that is expected and if that is done, we should not be taking it to mean that the institute is broke.
When last was the account of the Institute audited
The institute is registered under Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); the last audit was last year and it will be discussed at the AGM. It is only at the meeting that the final account is discussed. It is listed as part of the agenda for the AGM and we have being consistent. It is a legal requirement and so we cannot renege on that because it is yearly audited.
Are the council members doing enough to support the Institute
Yes they are always supporting us
Has CILT lived up to expectation so far
CILT is living up to expectations because if we are not, members would not be protesting. It means the institute is there and active; lively but the particular decision the members didn’t like is what they are politely asking that the decision may be reversed.
Since you assumed office, what would you say you have achieved
For the part of membership growth, there is no problem with that and prospective members are asking to join and it is a professional institute and we have being up and running. Also in terms of satisfaction of members, the institute is doing well in that aspect.
CILT leadership has lost touch with members- Ehiguese
Francis Ehiguese, CILT former national executive director was alleged to have led the protests. Oluwatoyin Amao also spoke with him.
Since you left the post of National Executive Director of the Institute, would you say the institute has made progress or suffered retrogression
Well, from every indication and from what you have seen, the institute has not really made significant progress as expected. That is my honest assessment.
How do you mean it has not really made significant progress
I have seen that for over 2 years now we seem to have retrogressed. The institute seem to have lost what I will call industry touch. All our corporate members are not in anymore and there is contention as far as the CILT certificate is concerned particularly in government agencies. Though the Ministry of Education did say they don’t recognise CILT Nigeria qualification, we have always insisted that CILT Nigeria does not award any qualification. The Ministry of Education said the qualification approved by them is that of the United Kingdom and of cause the CILT in Nigeria does not have an independent one, it is the same. It is the CILT International Council that awards a CILT qualification. The CILT Council needed to have worked endlessly to ensure that they meet with the ministry of education to actually see how that can be resolved and that has not been done and there was this mention at the senate floor towards chattering the institute after it was mentioned, nothing was done by the house of representatives and as I speak, nothing has been done. I have also seen a number of people losing interest in CILT matters which ought not to be and I also said before I left the post that we need to maintain constant interaction with the industry but is not on and have also seen that the governance structure of the institute is getting weakened because the national council that is supposed to give general direction, come up with policies and programmes and allow the executive arm which is national secretariat to implement is not there. There is this confusion here and there between the executive arm and the council that is meant to be at the management board.
Is it true that CILT is broke
Well in this country, no organisation will say today they are really rich but being poor is relative. It all depends on if you cannot meet your obligation and I don’t have that information on CILT not being able to meet her obligations. I would not know how many vendors they are owning and unable to settle but CILT is not a business outfit so to speak, it is a non-profit making organisation. If CILT is broke as it is said, then we need to ask those managing the institute what exactly is happening and they should be able to offer to us an acceptable answer.
When last was the institute account audited
I was at the conference last year, I saw the auditor presenting the account of the institute to members. So, I will say that they are current as far as the account is concerned.
Why did you lead a protest against an institute where you once served as the National Executive Director
I think that is incorrect; I didn’t lead the protest. I know the person that led that protest was the chairman of Lagos branch, Mrs Fatimo Diko-Kuton
What are your grievances?
I read through why Lagos branch protested and the reason is not far-fetched. It came as a surprise to members that after three attempts to hold AGM in Lagos where we have all the member; Lagos branch controls not less than 80% of the membership we have in Nigeria (Lagos and its environs looking at the South west) because all the industry i.e talking about the transport industry parastatals, private organisations and logistics firm, they are all concentrated more in Lagos. This is where the industry is, it is not a surprise we have many of the members in Lagos and that is why the institute is also domiciled in Lagos. Am aware that the council on the 23rd decided that there will be an Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June and that didn’t hold, council came up saying AGM will hold in July but that did not come to reality because of the Ramadan fast. So it was postponed to August, less than three weeks after members have made their payments and I have also paid my conference fee to attend in Lagos. Just because the president feels he can do anything whatever way he wants, he decided to come up with an arrangement with council members because he is keening for a particular candidate and that was why he moved the AGM to Port Harcourt where he feels his candidate will win. And Lagos branch is saying we are actually contributing more to this institute, why are you moving it away from here where you have large members and actually there were efforts made to tell the president that what he has done is not right and that he should please listen to the voice of reasoning but he decided to black out everybody, that was why the members protested and I think members took the right step by protesting against such unacceptable decision of council.
Did they explore amicable ways of resolving the issues before embarking on the protest
Yes. I got a mail from the national secretariat which says that the president has said he is no longer going to entertain any communication from any member and that his decision is final; so he has foreclosed any avenue for discussion.
Don’t you think the damage done to the reputation of the Institute as a result of the protest will be more than benefit you intend to derive from it
If you refuse to get your house in order, these are some of the things you get but at times it can become a very positive signal later if the protest today though may not have been the best makes the institute to sit right and ensure that the leadership is satisfactory one. If the leadership listens to the followership then it will be seen. If that is what is going to solve the problem later in the future, so be it. I am not really looking at the damages done here and there because of the protest; the protest is to send a signal to the leadership that their obligation is to listen to their followership.
Has the issue been resolved
I know that there is still dialogue here and there and I am one of those calling on the president to reconvening of an emergency council meeting. I have spoken to the president on that and he told me he is consulting and I am still waiting for his consultation, which was my last discussion with the president.
Is it true that the leadership of the Institute is planning to impose a candidate on members
That is correct and actually that is what is bringing about the problem you see in the institute. I have personally told the president ‘even if you have a candidate you are supporting, create a level playing ground for everybody, don’t be seen as siding anyone. The institute is for everyone and if people are agitating, you should listen to both sides, don’t be clear that this is the person you are for and I think that is not right. I have told him that, from what have seen that he is no longer in the position to conduct a credible election for the institute.
What is the way forward for CILT
The way forward is for the president to offer acceptable convincing explanation to members; if members are saying president that is not the way to go, the president should have that leadership capacity to say members are the ones that elected him and if that is the way they want him to go, he should listen and if that is not done, there is a parent body and a report will be tendered to the body. My advice is for the president to listen to his followership and the institute is not for him, it belongs to everyone. Also it is a voluntary obligation, you cannot force anybody. He should also look at the effect of what his leadership has caused the institute for the past two (2) years if we have made further progress or not.
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