Controversy has trailed the 2021 national council election of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), slated for Oct. 23 in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the controversy revolves specifically around the position of the president of the professional group.

Mrs Ufom Usoro, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, has been screened and cleared to contest for the coveted position.

But other candidates for the position have alleged that Usoro was not qualified to run for the election.

Mr Alban Igwe, also seeking to run for the office, had approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking to nullify Usoro’s candidacy.

In a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1217/2021, filed by their attorney, Felix Onolememen on Oct. 12, 2021, Igwe and his co-plaintiff, Alex Okosun, accused the outgoing leadership of the institute of plotting to manipulate the electoral process in Usoro’s favour.

They argued that she was not qualified to contest for the position of the president.

Igwe later announced his withdrawal from the race, while the matter was still pending in court.

He told newsmen in Owerri on Thursday that the race “is becoming more political than professional”, hence his withdrawal.

He said: “I pulled out from the race, sacrificing my ambition for the peace and sanity of the institute when I noticed unprofessional political undertones.

“And I believe that having stepped aside, the court case will be vacated in due course.”

Also, another contender for the office of the president, Mr Igna Owums, said that failure to address Usoro’s qualification for the contest would create image problem for the institute.

Owums, who spoke in a telephone interview, called on the electoral committee to “effectively address the controversy surrounding Usoro’s candidacy”, in the interest of professionalism.

The National Executive Director of the body, Mr Paul Ndibe, said the institute had yet to be notified about the suit filed by Igwe and Okosun.

Ndibe appealed to members of the institute to maintain positive disposition toward the election.

He said: “CILT is not perfect and matters such as these help an organisation to identify its loopholes, highlight weaknesses, reposition itself and become more vibrant.

“So, I see this as a building block for a more virile national institute.

“We have an electoral committee that has guidelines for the election and having screened all the candidates and approved their candidacy, it behoves members to align with the recommendations of the committee.”

The Chairperson of the electoral committee, Hajiya Moji Ajimoh, confirmed that Igwe had stepped down from the race.

Ajimoh expressed the hope that the suit would soon be vacated for the election to hold as scheduled.

When contacted on telephone for her reaction, Usoro declined comment over the unfolding development.

NAN reports that CILT provides professional training and regulates the practice and business of transport, logistics and supply chain in the country.

It was founded under the Royal Charter of the Queen of England in the United Kingdom in 1919, while Nigeria was named its territorial headquarters in Africa in 1958.