Constitution of Electoral Committee of CRFFN by Transport Minister : Matters Arising

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First is to commend the Honourable Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, for eventually seeing the need to attend to one of the numerous professional concerns impeding advancement of freight forwarding Profession in Nigeria, which are begging for ministerial attention and directives.

On one hand, it is most appropriate and appreciated, that the Minister constituted an electoral committee to conduct an election for the freight forwarders, to elect their professional colleagues into the Council Governing Board (CRFFN), this is most noble and administrative responsiveness indeed.

On the other hand, is the uncertainty wether the Minister indeed cares much about both the professional integrity and the integrity of the electoral processes starting with the committee composition, especially with regards to scrutiny of their respective integrity and putting in the right perspective their parochial interests in representations, if any.

It is important to point out that, a fundamental error has been established in the making of intended electioneering process, as follows:
The outgone ( immediate past) Governing Council Board was not properly desolved.

Presently, at the expiration of the outgone Governing Council Board, while the elected freight forwarders in the board heeded to the court seeking for their tenure elongation to 4 years and not 2 years as provided by the Act 16, 2007; the appointed politicians immediately reappointed by the Honorable Minister, ahead of the freight forwarders election, from the last experience this type arrangement creates room for political manipulations and undue leverages.

Unconfirmed report has it that, there exists an internal understanding and arrangements for appointed politicians to work assiduously and to deploy a process that will guarantee the return of the outgone freight forwarders represented back into the Governing Council Board of the CRFFN.

Wherefore, the freight forwarding Practitioners are still very much doubtful and worried about the possibilities of the HMOT, unknowingly might have play into this initial conceptualized TACTICAL ELECTIONEERING AND VOTING PROCESS packaged by the outgone Governing Council Board.

It is on record that, the immediate past Governing Council Board setted up a Tactical & Strategic Electoral Committee before their tenure elapsed, but the components of such electoral arrangements are still very much around in the present making as encapsulated above.

It is important to openly lodge the skepticism expressed by the generality of the freight forwarding Practitioners which seeks a clarification to the effect that, this published election notice is not in any way a mere TACTICAL AND STRATEGIC ELECTORAL COMMITTEE AND SYSTEM or better stated, a furtherance of the formal Governing Council Board.

This expression is apt because we are aware that : “In a “first-past-the-post electoral system, a vote is tactical when it is cast for a selected candidate not on merits, but to best influence to ensure such candidate wins in the constituency”.

Tactical voting also includes strategic incentives granted to misrepresent the electorates choices via a manipulated and preference electorial system.

Tactical voting arrangements, involves subtly structuring and agreeing on an incentives that will be redeemed during or later, having the capacity to necessitate and influencing the electioneering process and the election results even when the candidates in favor is a misfits and unpopular.

Tactical & Strategic voting system is often organized to favor an incubent or to foster status quo.

The term Tactical & Strategic Voting are synonymous, a sophisticated voting system generally refer to an electoral Committee system where there are defined agenda, rules and guidelines that are factored to suite the unpublished interests.

Tactical and strategic voting system is often anti democratic norms and pro conservativism.

Another, crucial observations is the Identity of the Electoral Committee Members which has not been made public – again, this further cast integrity question on the electoral arrangements.

Base on the forgoing, the Freight Forwarders requires a confidence rekindling statement by the Honorable Minister on the issues raised above.

A clarification is apt, because it will be administratively counter productive to allow freight forwarders to obtain election forms at a whopping non refundable cost of #500,000:00 and to eventually discover later that, the election was a mere charades in the order not too different from the last election.

Such, arrangements will tatamount to deliberate acceptance of multiple litigations, thereafter.

In similar expression, the Freight Forwarders believes that most of the administrative policies and directives taken by Transport Ministry as a supervisory ministry to the CRFFN has continuously fall short of driving a Professional development process, rather it further makes the Practitioners less Professionals.

For instance, while it may be deemed considerable that the Nigeria Shippers Council, as provided in the Act 16, 2007, midwifed the election into the First Governing Council of the CRFFN in 2008, with the recorded short comings therein.

In 2010, the second Governing Council, the elected Freight Forwarders and appointed representatives organized and conducted an internal election, thereby fulfilling the democratic transition as provided in the third schedule, and it went smoothly without skirmishes.

6 years ( 2012 to 2018) of non constituted Governing Council board, following the earlier drawn of the Governiing Council curtains to close position, which was abruptly done by the Federal Ministry of Transport, who gave excuses on paucity of fund to prosecute an election.

It outrightly, refused all entreaties by the elected Practitioners who proposed to conduct the election within the ambit of its Professional providence but to no avail, hence, the non regulatory activities with the period under reference.

In 2018, again the Ministry cooked up another general election, appointed politicians ( 98% of them non Practitioners ) to represent the geo political zone of the Federation.

This politicians were well seated for about six months ahead of the composition of the ideal Governing Council.

In what the Practitioners saw as a collaboration with some of the officers in the Transport Ministry in consultation with the leadership of the accredited Freight Forwarding Associations, handed over an electoral script to the Management of the CRFFN to prosecute, while they sat back to supervise.

The outcome of that year election 2018 is a typical example of a TACTICAL VOTING SYSTEM.

Today, the Transport Ministry has constituted another election with consultation to with the stakeholders, citing sections of the Act to mean that the Act confer on the HMOT the Power to constitute and organize an election for the Freight Forwarders, which in the understanding of the Practitioners is not so.

Rather, the Practitioners is of the opinion that the HMOT merely misinterpret and misrepresents the object clause in the Act “the Honorable Minister to give directions of essential character” to the Council. In reality, judging from the First Governing Council, the said object clause is applicable where the Governiing Council requires to address issues with political considerations ( e.g. internal political appointments, siting of projects, etc).

The generality of the Freight Forwarding Practitioners, with mouths wide open, wishes to ask, “Can the Government Minister cum Ministry constitute an electoral committee for the: “Engineers, Accountants, Bankers, Lawyers, Doctors, etc.

It is worriesome to note that, some of the accredited freight forwarding associations has a long history of conducting successful internal elections, but under the prevailing circumstances are found unfit to conduct a free, fair, transparent and acceptable election in their Profession.

Indeed, seemingly, the Freight Forwarding Profession is the most disrespected and ignored among the comity of National Professional bodies in Nigeria, yet they are the most trusted and movers of the National economy.

On this note of expressions, we therefore, call on the Minister Transport to give a statement of essential character premised on professional integrity with regards to this subject of the election notice into the Governing Council Board of the CRFFN.

May make further statement in due course.

Hakeem Olanrewaju

Formal Governing Council Chairman – CRFFN.

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