ISPoN Registrar Schedules an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting amidst Mixed Reaction
- How would I attend an illegal meeting – Aigbogun
- Proper procedure for calling an extra-ordinary general meeting of the institute was not followed – Ogunmefun
- It is the registrar that is the only bona fide, lawful person qualified to call a meeting now – Malgwi
The Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPoN) has called an extra-ordinary general meeting scheduled for February 11, 2017 at the National Headquarters, Lagos to resolve the crises facing the institute.
This was contained in an undated notice signed by the Registrar of the Institute, Mr Benson Adam-Otite, which was obtained by this newspaper on Tuesday, January 24.
He said the machinery of the institute at the various branches was “almost at ground zero”, blaming internal crises for difficulty in conducting usual training and consultancy services at the branches.
He described the meeting as “very important” and urged all members and fellows of the institute to ensure attendance.
The notice quoted the Registrar as urging all fellows of the institute to ensure attendance so as to deploy their wealth of experience in the resolution of the many grievances that may be raised by aggrieved members.
“The fact that our enviable Institute is in crisis is now very obvious to all members and in order to avoid a total fragmentation of the Institute it has become expedient to call for an Extraordinary General Meeting to enable us find the most plausible way forward,” the notice quoted Adam-Otite as saying.
“Please permit me to use this medium to appeal to all fellows of the Institute to create time to attend this very important meeting as their professional capability as Fellows of the Institute shall be very valuable during deliberations at the meeting.
“I also appeal to all members, whether aggrieved or otherwise to attend this Extraordinary General meeting so as to present your grievance(s) for an amicable resolution.
“Branch Chairmen are humbly requested to cascade this notice to their members and encourage them to attend.
“For our information, the business of the Institute is almost at ground zero as branches are finding it very difficult to conduct their usual training and consultancy which could be traced to the crisis within.
“I am looking forward to calm and peaceful deliberations at the EGM,” the notice further quoted him as saying.
Safety Record Newspaper gathered that the Registrar relied on Section 14(1) of ISPoN’s General Policy Guidelines in arriving at the decision to call the EGM.
Section 14(1) of the National Policy Guideline read, “(a). An extra-ordinary general meeting may, at any time, be called by the Board of its own accord or shall be called by the Board if requested to do so by not less than 100 registered up to date financial members, provided that such members either jointly or severally submit to the Registrar their request in writing signed by all of them stating in full the objects for which the meeting is required to be called.
“(b). If the Board on being requested to call a meeting in accordance with the section 16(a), fails do so within 28 days, the requestors may approach the Council of Life Members who shall, if there is a serious disagreement with the Governing Board, compel the Registrar to call the extra-ordinary general meeting within 30 days.
“(c). Notice for any extra-ordinary general meeting shall be given by the Registrar to the Board in a similar manner to that given for the AGM.
“(d). All extra-ordinary general meeting shall be held at the national secretariat except where the Board shall decide otherwise.”
Meanwhile, mixed reactions have trailed the announcement of the EGM by the Registrar.
The Vice President of the institute, Mr Haruna Yusuf Malgwi expressed support for the proposed EGM, stressing that the Registrar acted within his powers by calling for the meeting.
He added that the tenure of the present national leadership of the institute elapsed at the 35th Professional Development Conference/Annual General Meeting which held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State in November 2016.
He said, “Our (national leadership’s) tenure has expired in Awka.
“It is the registrar that is the only bona fide, lawful person qualified to call a meeting now.
“So if he has called for meeting, why not?”
Asked if he would be attending the EGM, Malgwi, who is also a member of the Governing Board, said, “Sure. Of course I am a full member of the institute, so any call by the registrar I must obey.”
A chairmanship aspirant in the Lagos Branch, Mr. Lucky Oderhohowo described the move as a step in the right direction.
“It is in line with the purported policy guidelines,” he said.
Another frontline member of the branch, Mr Julius Akpong expressed optimism that the EGM would achieve its aim.
He said, “I am positive and strongly hope this would set things in proper place.”
But a member of the institute’s Governing Board, Mr Dominic Aigbogun, described the proposed EGM as an illegality which he would not want to be seen to be supporting.
Asked if the Registrar had the right to call an EGM, he said, “He doesn’t have that right at all. It is illegal.”
“How would I attend an illegal meeting?” Aigbogun said in response to a question about whether he would attend the meeting.
Tracing the genesis of the internal rumblings in the institute, he said, “Internal rumblings stated at Warri (AGM of 2014), Delta state because they didn’t want to go by the Act. But we must comply with the Act.
“So, what is there really is that there are court cases. One originated by Delta (state branch); the other originated by the institute itself.
“Until these cases are done away with, I don’t see what else anybody can do.
“No one is above the judiciary, not even the Federal Government.”
He disclosed that there had been irregular commitments to capital projects in Delta and many other branches without the consent of the Governing Board.
He revealed that he had circulated a letter to Governing Board members of the institute advocating for an emergency meeting proposed for between last week of January and first week of February to address contentious issues bedevilling the institute.
Aigbogun added that the present Governing Board must set up a structure to hand over to a new Governing Board so that new members would have an opportunity of entering the board.
He said, “I have been in the Governing Board for years. To me, the younger ones should come. There is nobody who has monopoly of wisdom.
“Despite the internal rumblings, ISPoN will fly. The younger ones will take it over, but they have to follow the Act.
“We cannot just abandon the Act and ask them to do as they like. In a situation like that, there will be problem,” he stressed.
“As someone who has suffered for ISPoN for more past 40 years,” the first President of the institute said, “I will not want to leave it in an unorganised way.”
Also, the Ogun State Branch Chairman, Mr Gbolahan Ogunmefun said that the proper procedure for calling an extra-ordinary general meeting of the institute was not followed.
Ogunmefun, who is the Secretary of the ISPoN Chairmen Meeting which recommended disciplinary actions against the Registrar, said, “The guideline says who should call for the EGM, if there should be any whatsoever. I am sure we’ll lead by the book.
“So, let the Board that we have decide if there should be EGM because it is expressly stated in the policy guideline who should call the EGM and the conditions (for doing so) as well.”
Embattled Delta State Branch Chairman, Mr Edward Uni Ajobo declined comment, citing the court case involving the branch and the institute’s president.
When contacted, the President of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN), Dr Reginald Anyanwu said as head of Safety Council he was treading carefully to see where it would all lead before making a pronouncement because any statement from him would be given serious attention by the Federal Government.
“Any decision I take now, the government will look at it and work on that,” he said.
He added that the requirements for calling an extraordinary general meeting were clearly stated in the guidelines.
The President of the institute, Dr Nnamdi Ilodiuba did not respond to several calls and text messages placed to his known phone number and did not return same as at the time of filing this report.
ISPON Chairmen Pass Vote of Confidence on President, Governing Board
Some state branch chairmen of the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPoN) have thrown their support behind the President, Dr Nnamdi Ilodiuba and Governing Board as the crisis rocking the institute continues unabated.
The branch chairmen also mandated them (The President and Governing Board) to continue until all the issues bedevilling the institute are resolved and elections are conducted into national offices.
This was contained in a seven-point resolution adopted at a meeting attended by chairmen of 10 out of the institute’s 15 state branches which held at Le’ Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state on Saturday, January 21, 2017.
The branch chairmen also recommended that disciplinary actions be taken against the institute’s Registrar, Mr. Benson Adam-Otite, accusing him of “insubordination and gross misconduct”.
This is coming at a time the Registrar circulated an undated notice inviting all members of the institute to an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the institute to be held at the National Headquarters, Lagos on February 11, 2017.
Safety Record Newspaper could not confirm whether the announcement of the EGM by the Registrar had any influence on the State Chairmen Meeting’s call for disciplinary action against him.
The institute’s Registrar could not be reached for comments as at the time of filing this report.
The resolution, which was obtained by Safety Record Newspaper, was jointly signed by the Chairman of the ISPoN Chairmen Meeting, Mr Peter Jimmy and Secretary, Mr Gbolahan Ogunmefun.
“We condemn in strong terms the dragging of the institute and its governing board to court by branches and individual members and hereby call for the withdrawal of all court cases forthwith,” the resolution read in part.
The meeting also called for all income accruing to the institute from branches both in local and foreign currencies to be properly accounted for.
Furthermore, the meeting called for branches to remit all training monies “as per prescribed percentages and get all certificates signed by the president and branch chairmen.”
“The chairmen condemn in strong terms the insubordination and gross misconduct exhibited by the registrar against ISPoN Management and call on the governing board to mete out appropriate disciplinary action against him immediately.
“Delta state branch management should present account of Chevron Multi Dollar Training since the inception of the contract.
“The Institute’s disciplinary mechanism should be activated immediately to curb further professional misconduct of members.
“The chairmen expressed satisfaction on the performance of the president and governing board and hereby pass a vote of confidence on them. Also mandate the president and governing board to continue until all issues in the institute are resolved and election conducted for national offices,” the resolution further read.
In attendance at the meeting were Akwa Ibom State Chairman, Mr Peter Jimmy; Ogun State Branch Chairman, Mr. Gbolahan Ogunmefun; Imo State Branch Chairman, Dr Dike Marins; Abuja Branch Chairman, Bldr Julius Okoh; Bayelsa State Branch Chairman, Realman E. Obele; and Oyo State Branch Chairperson, Mrs Ibironke Ajayi.
Others include Enugu State Branch Chairman, Engr. Francis Iwu; Cross River State Chairman, Dr. Uffia Ogo; Lagos State Branch Chairman, Engr. Timothy Iwuagwu; and Anambra State Branch Chairman, Chief E.I Achilike.
The Delta, Rivers, Kaduna, Edo and Plateau states branches were not represented at the meeting.