The President, Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON), Dr Nnamdi Ilodiuba, says that the judgements delivered by various courts concerning the leadership crisis that hit the institute in the last two years have helped to solidify its foundation.
He made this known in a letter dated March 24 and addressed to members of the institute.
In the letter he personally signed and sent to Safety Record newspaper, the President said that the court judgements addressed many contentious issues in the institute, including the powers of the Governing Board, rightful occupant of the office of Registrar, and legitimacy of the Governing Board inaugurated at the Annual General Meeting of October 28, 2017.
“I am happy to announce on behalf of the Governing Board that the suit (SUIT No. FHC/PHC/CS/664/2016 – FELIX EMIN & 7 ORS V DR. NNAMDI ILODIUBA & 13 ORS) which some members instituted against the President and members of the old Governing Board challenging the continuance of the Board in office after the botched 2016 Annual General Meeting was dismissed on the 21st day of March, 2019,” the letter read in part.
Ilodiuba said that the judgement effectively lay to rest the controversies regarding the due management of the institute by the Governing Board led by him.
The letter further read, “In the suit filed at the Owerri Division of the Federal High Court by other members of the Institute (SUIT NO. FHC/OW/CS/73/2017 – ONWUZURUIKE PROSPECT & 5 ORS V MR. BENSON ADAM-OTITE & 8 ORS), the court confirmed the validity of the Governing Board, and all the processes that we have undertaken from the botched 2016 Annual General Meeting up to the election and inauguration of the current Governing Board and made far reaching orders restraining the group led by Mr Haruna Yusuf Malgwi and Mr Benson Adam-Otite from parading themselves as officers of the Institute.
“The suit that the group filed in the Lagos Division of the same Federal High Court (SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/1611/2017 – INSTITUTE OF SAFETY PROFESSIONALS OF NIGERIA & 2 0RS V DR. NNAMDI ILODIUBA & ANOR) seeking to have themselves declared as the authentic body of Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria was also dismissed along the same lines.”
Ilodiuba said that while the court actions and internal wrangling have been a “terrible distraction” to the institute in the last two years, they have however “assisted us to have pronouncements of the court that go to strengthen our foundations as a body”.
He stated that the claims of Mr Benson Adam-Otite to the position of Registrar of the Institute have been dismissed by the various court judgements and Mr Bola Aborode has effectively replaced him.
He noted, “It is now clear that the Governing Board has the exclusive right to issue policy guidelines for the Institute which means that such policy guidelines when issued do not require the ratification of the General Meeting to become effective.
“This was settled in the case of INSTITUTE OF SAFETY PROFESSIONALS OF NIGERIA V AJOBO & ORS (SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/1178/2016).
“That case also established that the Governing Board can close any Branch in accordance with its policy guidelines provided that it gives such Branch sufficient opportunity to comply with the guidelines.
“Furthermore, it is now also established in the other cases cited above, that the only means of succession in the Institute is through an election at the Annual General Meeting organised by the outgoing Governing Board and that there is nothing like automatic expiration of the term of office of the Governing Board where for any reason elections into the new Board could not be held as at when due.
“Finally, the courts have confirmed that Mr. Benson Adam-Otite has ceased to be the Registrar of the Institute and has been effectively replaced by Mr. Bola Aborode.”
He added, “Following the resolution of these issues by the court, I believe that we now have better and more secure basis to be and remain professionally united and legally stronger with a common sense of purpose driven by our statutory objectives, functions and powers as established by ISPON Act 2014 and the General Policy Guidelines.”
The President said that it was time for ISPON members to forge ahead as one united family, noting that the Governing Board under his leadership would not victimise anybody.
He said, “We are one family. I extend the hand of fellowship to every member.
“Members in those Branches where the leadership had been part of the rebellion and disobedience against the Governing Board have nothing to fear from me and the Governing Board.
“They should continue to fulfil their obligations as members in line with the existing guidelines and the directions to be given by the Governing Board.
“The persons that were erroneously admitted as members by the illegal body or group should take steps to regularise their membership with the Registrar of the Institute, Mr. Bola Aborode.
“I appeal to all those who feel aggrieved to lay aside their grievance and join me in a renewed effort to build a more united and more successful Institute.
“The Governing Board and I have no plans to witch-hunt anybody or to pay anybody back in their own coins.
“However, we shall do all that we can to protect the Institute and its assets and members. We shall also not fail to apply due discipline in accordance with ISPON Act and the General Policy guidelines.”
He called on all members to endeavour to attend the Professional Development Conference and Annual General Meeting (PDC/AGM) scheduled for later in the year.