By David Oladimeji
There are strong indications that plans have reached advanced stage rig the election into the Governing Council Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)
Former chairman of the Governing Council Board, Otunba Hakeem Olarenwaju revealed that that the re-appointment of the appointed politicians into the board by the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi ahead of the council election is one of the strategic plans to rig the elections in favour of the elected professionals who may want to re-contest.
He said that there exists an internal understanding and arrangements for the appointed politicians to work assiduously and to deploy a process that will guarantee the return of the out-gone elected freight forwarders back into the CRFFN Governing Council Board.
He pointed out that as part of the ploys to rig the election is the Tactical Electioneering and Voting Process constituted by the immediate governing board.
While commending the minister for setting up the electoral committee to conduct the elections, Olarenwaju wondered whether the minister took into consideration both the professional integrity and the integrity of the electoral processes starting with the committee composition, especially with regards to the scrutiny of their respective integrity and putting in the right perspective their parochial interests in representations.
Olarenwaju, a long-standing freight forwarder, averred that the reappointment of the politicians ahead of the elections established a fundamental error in the making of the intended electioneering process as the immediate past Governing Council Board was not properly dissolved.
“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 were immediately reappointed by the Honorable Minister, ahead of the freight forwarders election. From the last experience, this type of arrangement creates room for political manipulations and undue leverages.
“Unconfirmed reports have it that there exists an internal understanding and arrangements for the appointed politicians to work assiduously and to deploy a process that will guarantee the return of the out-gone freight forwarders represented back into the Governing Council Board of the CRFFN,” said Olarenwaju.
Speaking further, he pointed out that the electoral committee set up by the minister is also made up of members from the Tactical Electioneering and Voting Process, to prepare their return to the board again.
“Wherefore, the freight forwarding practitioners are still very much doubtful and worried about the possibilities of the Honourable Minister of Transportation, unknowingly might have played 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 set 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.
“It is important to openly lodge the skepticism expressed by the generality of the freight forwarding practitioners which seek 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 electorate’s choices via a manipulated and preferred electoral system.
“Tactical and Strategic Voting System is often organized to favor an incumbent or to foster status quo,” he said.
For the elections to be credible and devoid of rigging, Olarenwaju said it is important for the minister to address all the rigging ploys. “Based on the foregoing, the freight forwarders require confidence rekindling statement by the Honorable Minister on the issues raised above. A clarification is apt because it will be administratively counterproductive to allow freight forwarders to obtain election forms at a whopping non-refundable cost of N500,000 and to eventually discover later that the election was a mere charade and not too different from the last elections.”