Estranged Registrar of the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON), Benson Adam-Otite has harped on the need to make compromises to achieve lasting peace in the institute.
Adam-Otite made this known in an interview with Safety Record on Tuesday, February 26, when this newspaper called to confirm the authenticity of a public notice purportedly signed by him and published on Page 44 of Vanguard of January 28, 2019, and a rejoinder which was published on page 36 of the same newspaper on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.
In the public notice, Adam-Otite supposedly warned the general public against any business dealing with any other national leadership of ISPON except the one in which he is registrar.
The public notice was published 10 days after Justice A.O. Faji of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, dismissed a suit filed by Adam-Otite challenging the authenticity of the Dr Nnamdi Ilodiuba-led national leadership of the institute.
But in the rejoinder, he distanced himself from the public notice, saying it was not published with his consent.
Adamo-Otite said, “I am not the one who did that thing. Even if something came up that necessitated us to do it, but in my investigation I found out that there was no need for us to do that disclaimer. What we felt happened was not what happened. I’m the one who’s expected to do it but I’m not the one who did it.”
He explained that the rejoinder was issued to encourage moves that had been kick-started to return ISPON to the path of peace, adding that the faction of the institute led by Ilodiuba was fully involved in the process and attended the first peace meeting on November 24, 2018.
Speaking about how the latest peace moves was initiated, Adam-Otite said, “An association of safety professionals in Nigeria went for a conference in the US and they got worried about what is happening to the safety profession in Nigeria, although some of them are not members of the institute. Most of them who’re not members of the institute came together and said they want to ensure peace in the institute. They called for a meeting to negotiate how to bring an end to this crisis.”
He added, “Right now, the Ilodiuba-led group is in support of the move. Ilodiuba was present when we had one meeting, they invited all of us to that meeting and we all agreed that that body should facilitate the peace move.”
On his decision to distance himself from the public notice, Adam-Otite, “This disclaimer is my own contribution, compromise to (achieve) peace. Everybody must compromise towards having one body.
“The issue is not individual. Everything we are doing must be to the interest of the institute. My goal is to have one institute where we run normally as a professional body. We must not be pursuing individual interest to the detriment of the profession and the regulator. If we are regulating, we must regulate ourselves before we regulate the profession. That is why I feel that we must first talk to ourselves and see what our goals are towards the institute and be able to align for the betterment of the future of the profession.”
When contacted, Ilodiuba confirmed that efforts were being made to broker peace in the institute.
“Peace moves have always been there since day one. We are still having meetings. We had a meeting in Lagos in November, where we met (factional President Yusuf) Malgwi and Otite and someone else with my team. Nothing concrete yet,” he said.
He disclosed that aside the January 18 judgement, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State dismissed a similar suit on Thursday, February 21.
However, he disclosed that the governing board under his leadership would not agree to any lasting peace with the Malgwi and Adam-Otite-led faction until they recognised the authority of the board in line with a Federal High Court judgement of May 15, 2018.
Ilodiuba said, “The peace team is still on but we have not met of recent. What they do is that they meet individuals (first) and then call an enlarged one…
“For now, my team is telling them that Malgwi and his team must acknowledge that there is a governing board, president and deputy president in place. They must accept the court judgement in Owerri. That is our stand. Until they do that, there’s nothing we can do with them.”