Benson Adam-Otite
Benson Adam-Otite

In this exclusive interview with Safety Record, Registrar of the Yusuf Malgwi-led ISPON group, Mr. Benson Adam-Otite explains why the Friday, October 25 election that returned Dr. Nnamdi Ilodiuba as president was an “illegality”. He also flays the process that produced a new policy guideline that proscribed branch elections. Excerpt…

The Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria says it elected a new governing board on Friday, October 25 instead of Saturday, October 26 that it had initially earmarked for the exercise. How do you react?

All those are propaganda. The law says your election is supposed to be on or before 26th of October. You fixed it for 26th of October. Persons now went to court and took injunction that you cannot hold election either on the 26th or any other day that you’ve chosen. You came out the next day to say that you’ve held election on the 25th. Any discerning mind would understand that it is just propaganda; election didn’t hold anywhere. They may have met as (branch) chairmen or whatever and said let us tell them like this. What is the notice given? Was there no notice to that effect? Who and who were invited to that meeting – members or themselves? So, nobody is fooled anymore by Timothy’s propaganda. Everybody knows that what they are saying is a lie – there was no election anywhere.

ISPON National Spokesman, Engr. Timothy Iwuagwu said that a new policy guideline has been introduced by the governing board of the institute which states that election into branch offices is no longer necessary…

(…Cuts in) Forget that matter. There is nothing like a meeting. In the former guidelines, there is a procedure for amendment of the guideline. Article 32 has the procedure for amendment of a guideline. It says that, if any member feels that there is need for an amendment, he will write to the Registrar three months to the date of amendment which will now form part of the agenda after the board has agreed on the amendment. So is there any notice anywhere that told members that we’re going to amend the policy guideline? So there is no notice of even the 25th meeting. So it couldn’t have been an AGM that they claim. So if they met on the 25th, it was not an AGM because notice of meeting was not served. If at all anything like that happened, it is already an illegality on its own. So it is dead on arrival.

So who introduced that guideline when there’s no meeting? Just forget about everything he is saying. I can tell you that there’s no meeting. Who are those who attended the meeting is what you should ask. Where was the guideline made? Even If there’s to be a guideline to be made, is Timothy a board member? Will Timothy be in the meeting where board members will be taking a decision on guideline? Was he in the meeting where the guideline was made in the first instance? So what is his position to be in a place where guideline will be made? Timothy’s tenure has expired as a chairman. He was elected September 20th, 2013. So even if there is going to be a second term or appointment, is he the person to be appointed? The current chairmen have all expired their two terms. They should not take advantage of the crisis to begin to mess up the institute. It is very clear now to everybody that they are not sincere with the crisis. They are only enjoying the crisis because that is where they can do anything. They have no job. They cannot stand on their own to do anything. So it is clear to everybody right now. It’s only a child that will believe anything that Timothy says.

So if you want to confirm, it shouldn’t be things like whether they did election or amended guideline or not. Timothy is not a board member, so he couldn’t have been in a meeting where policy is being made. The (ISPON) Act says that the board will come up with policy, isn’t it?

Yes…

So is Timothy a board member?

Is it not possible that the board did it and then communicated with him to pass the information to members?

It’s not possible. How many people are in that board? Name them for me. Go to their website and count the number of people whose photographs are there. Who are they? (Director of Occupational Safety and Health, Federal Ministry of Labour), Dr (Mrs) Anyanwutaku that they are brandishing, she cannot be a board member without an approval from the Minister. Air Vice Marshal Sani in Abuja rejected the position outright. So who did they call to come and meet? Is it Aigbogun that cannot travel? So all those stories are just stories as far as I’m concerned. They will go and answer to the court. That is a legal matter. They will deal with themselves when they get there.

Many people are worried that with the hullabaloo confronting the institute, the crisis will drag on forever. How do you react?

The crisis will not drag on forever. There is nothing that drags on forever. It is only God that drags on forever. Are we comparing the institute to God? Nothing lasts forever. That’s simple. The crisis is about to end so they are now running from pillar to post because they don’t want it to end. That’s the truth. Let’s look at it too. Nnamdi (Ilodiuba)’s tenure, how many years are they supposed to stay? They are saying that they elected him for second term, the first time what was it?

He was elected as deputy and he became president in 2013. When the Act came in 2014, he was transmitted, to say, okay now your tenure actually starts 2014. If he didn’t count that as his first tenure, why did he want to have AGM and run his first election in 2016? So his first tenure was the one that was given to him in Port Harcourt in 2014 which expired 2016. Now let’s take it that there was a crisis and he claimed to have been elected on the 26th of October, 2017, which was what he told the police in Abuja. Based on that, they drew his attention to the law that if your date of election is 26th of October that means that on 26th of October, 2019 your tenure ends, which is the second term. Isn’t it? So why are they fooling themselves? Who are they fooling? You can fool the people sometimes but you cannot fool all the people all the time. So forget whether there was election. Don’t ask me anything about election or no election again because the law is very straightforward about it. That tells you that they are not a serious party. They are not people to be taken seriously.

Again, let us even face it. This is an institute of members. They thought that only a few of us had something to gain. Now they are seeing that we don’t have anything to gain. For somebody like me, my gain is for the institute to settle and be run properly. Members are waiting for it to settle but if members do not react, how will it be settled? Let us use (the example of) a country. If the people are docile, the leaders will do whatever they want. This is an institute. The members have equal right. They cannot sit down and allow one buffoon to be going around claiming what he is not. That is the situation. If the members want to sit down and see it drag forever, then it will drag for as long as they don’t react, as long as they are docile. That is the truth.

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