The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Western Zone Chapters Elections continue to be still as intriguing as can be given the barrage of commendations and condemnations trailing the conduct about of the polls two weeks after the event.
The elections, which took place on January 24, 2013, conveniently on a public holiday, at the Exhibition Hall of the Lagos Trade Fair Complex, Badagry Expressway, Ojo, threw up a huge dose of surprises for both contestants and electorates, as some of the contestants were disqualified and most would-be voters disenfranchised.
With the polling centre and environs guarded heavily by armed police personnel, only accredited members of the association where allowed into the hall where voting took place while the “non-accredited” members were disenfranchised.
Re-contesting executives of chapters like Tin-Can Island Portand Murtalla Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) were unexpectedly banned from contesting at the voting centre for, according to the ANLCA Association Electoral Commission (ASECO) Chairman, failing to clear their chapters’ accumulated debts before the Election Day.
The day turned out gloomy not only for the disqualified candidates, but also for contestants of Kirikiri Lighter Terminal and Tin-Can Chapter whose elections were nullified for malpractices.
With immediate past chairman of MMIA disqualified from re-contesting, a fresh candidate and his sole opponent in the contest, Nze Alloysius Igwe, had a smooth sail into being elected Chairman of the chapter.
Elections for the trio of Ikorodu, Idiroko and Lilypond chapters were postponed, over alleged indebtedness of the outgoing executives, and they equally had no opponents for the polls.
With the slimmest of margins, Prince Bola Adeniran retained his position as Chairman, PTML Chapter. Adeniran got 53 votes over the 52 recorded by his opponent, Elder Sunday Obe.
Despite strong opposition at Seme Chapter, Patrick Ozobialu, was surprisingly re-elected Chairman of the Chapter. Following incessant complaints from members of his chapter, during his initial tenure, Ozobialu was suspended by the ANLCA leadership. Yes, he was re-instated but one would say his members were quick to forgive him and give him their votes.
The surprises kept rolling in, as, for the first time in over a decade, a non-Igbo was elected Chairman of Apapa Chapter much to the dismay of Ndigbo in the industry.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY recalls that the Igbo in the ANLCA fold threatened to boycott the elections last November.
Well, not all Ndigbo as the Iimediate past Chairman of the Apapa Chapter, Sir John Ofobike, it was learnt, facilitated the offsetting of the chapter’s debt of about N6million naira to pave way for his ‘faithful’ Secretary, Olumide Fakanlu, to succeed him.
Ofobike’s words as the newly elected Chairman of ANLCA Apapa Chapter was sworn into office: “One good turn deserves another.”
To calm frayed nerves, the ANLCA National President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, constituted an Election Petition Panel to investigate allegations of irregularities during the election, cautioning the newly elected executives, who have been have been sworn into office, not to sit comfortably on their new seats of power pending the findings of the probe panel.
Even then the dust raised by the polls refuses to settle, and the angst continues. The Election Petition Panel has been described as “foolish, shameful, irresponsible.”
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