By Chidi Anthony Opara
The Council For The Regulation Of Freight Forwarding In Nigeria (CRFFN) on 2nd September, 2021 released a timetable for the conduct of the 2021 Governing Council Election, an election whose legitimacy have been put in serious jeopardy following the supervising Minister's(Minister of Transportation) breach of the CRFFN act(act 16 of 2007) by unilaterally inugurating an election Committee for the conduct of the said election.
Aside from this apparent legitimacy problem, there are other matters.
There are news media reports of supposed stakeholders bandying about narratives that cannot be said to have a single iota of professionalism.
These half educated persons whose Professional pedigrees rest on fraudulently obtained Customs licences and forays into the leadership of poorly formed and poorly administered freight forwarding associations have been quoted to have hinted at fund raising drives in the neighbourhood of millions of naira and have been quoted to have said that the forthcoming Governing Council election would be for "big boys"(and "big girls"). "Big boys"(and "big girls") in the context in which the statement was made meant rich men and women.
One other semi literate megalomaniac even boasted that they(whoever they are) won't allow anyone from the street (not rich that is) to come into the Council(that presupposes that those not to be allowed can be Registered Freight Forwarders who are up to date in their annual dues but are not rich).
Critical observers of the freight forwarding subsector in Nigeria will agree that this mindset in the freight forwarding subsector in Nigeria that every rich man and woman have leadership qualities and should be in leadership positions, only on the basis of the fact that these individuals are rich is the bane of the freight forwarding profession in Nigeria.
Already, the forthcoming Governing Council election have been packaged and sold to the money men and women(who by the way, mostly made their money fraudulently).
A conservative computation shows that a contestant would need at least three million naira to be able to run a successful campaign for a two-year part time job in which there would be no salaries and fringe benefits assuming that the contestant would win. Any person willing to spend that much for a slot in the Governing Council has a less than Professional motive.
An average hard working Professional freight forwarder in Nigeria who has something remarkable to contribute, even if the money is available, would not want to expend the aforementioned financial resource for the election, most however cannot muster such fund, except if there is an intention to tie oneself on the apron of a godfather with the attendant consequences.
The focus now is on the money and on those who have it, not the professional credentials of those who are "picking forms" with half a million naira and their ability to contribute meaningful ideas for the advancement of the subsector.
It should by no means be taken that money is not important and that rich men and women who have what it takes and can make meaningful contributions should not be in leadership positions. No, the point here is that being rich should not be the only basis for consideration for leadership positions.
I however, hereby reluctantly(I am left with no option)congratulate the "big boys and girls" who would be inaugurated into the next CRFFN Governing Council session, but would also like to use this opportunity to advise my colleagues "from the streets" not to expect anything remarkable.
It is going to be another two years of ego trip.
Thank you all for your time.
(Opara is a Registered Freight Forwarder and former member of CRFFN'S Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum)