• “It is illegal” – Echendu
  • Law, police in support – Iwuagwu
  • Akhigbe calls for unity

The upcoming election into national offices of the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON) has attracted much controversy in the safety industry with some hailing the move while others have outrightly condemned it.

The institute had in a circular dated September 30 and signed by its Registrar, Mr. Bola Aborode, called on members to attend the 2019 Annual General Meeting/Elections set to hold on October 26 in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

But when contacted for his reaction via telephone on Thursday, a Lagos-based safety professional, Mr. Harold Echendu, said he would not participate in the election, describing it as “an illegality”.

“Participate in which elections? No, not at all,” Echendu said.

“From my own perspective, I see it as an illegality and I must tell you that I am not in a position to comment on that election or whatever thing they are doing in Owerri,” he said.

Another ISPON member, Mrs. Monica Nwosu declined to answer any question put forward by our reporter, stating simply that she lacked any information about the election.

“I do not have so much detail about it so I cannot answer your questions,” she said before hanging up the phone.

A claimant to the position of Deputy President of ISPON, Edward Uni Ajobo, bluntly told Safety Record that he would not comment over the phone, demanding a face-to-face conversation instead.

Also, a claimant to the position of ISPON President, Mr. Yusuf Haruna Malgwi, failed to respond to several phone calls, as well as an SMS placed to his known phone number to elicit comments on Thursday.

However, in a twist of event, another member of the institute, Mr. Femi Abiodun, suggested that the elections might not hold, claiming that the outcome of a meeting between the warring parties and police authorities was still being awaited.

As such, he said, the elections could not hold.

Safety Record had reported that the Dr. Nnamdi Ilodiuba-led governing board of the institute had petitioned the police top hierarchy over the activities of the Malgwi-led group.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu had tasked the Special Fraud Unit, through the DIG in-charge of Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Mike Ogbizi, with the responsibility of getting to the root of the matter.

“Until we get the outcome from the meeting with the DIG, I don’t think there will be any elections,” he said.

“Let us first wait for that outcome before we jump into any conclusion,” Abiodun advised.

He, however, disclosed that he would not be attending the Owerri election.

“No I won’t be participating (in the election).

“I don’t have much information about that so I cannot really comment about that,” he stated.

However, the National Spokesman of ISPON, Engr. Timothy Iwuagwu, said that the AGM/Election would hold as announced by the institute.

He further told one of our reporters that the rival group led by Mr. Malgwi failed to put in an appearance for a meeting between the rival groups and police authorities in Abuja on Wednesday, October 9.

Iwuagwu said that the upcoming AGM/election was not only backed up by law but also had the support of the police top hierarchy.

Several other safety professionals like factional ISPON Lagos Secretary, Lucky Onoigboria and another popular safety professional, Engr Jamiu Badmos failed to respond to phone calls placed to their respective phone numbers to seek comments.

When contacted, Mr. Cletus Akhigbe, President of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN), the body that birthed ISPON, called for unity in the institute.

“All I want from ISPON is that we should come back together as one.

 “Let us reunite ISPON again.

“Let us throw away our differences and for the good of the whole institute; let us come together as one again,” Akhigbe appealed.

The institute has since announced that only members that are financially up to date or possess a 2019 membership Identification card would be allowed into the venue of the AGM/election.

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