Tensions within the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON) have intensified with the emergence of a third faction spearheaded by Engr. Timothy Iwuagwu, a former Lagos State Coordinator of the institute.
HSENations learnt that the first faction led by Mr Evaristus Uzamere and the second by Mr. Ebi Kaizer have made concerted efforts to settle their differences and forge a united front for the benefit of the institute, efforts that may now be derailed by Iwuagwu’s insistence on being recognised as president of the institute.
It was learnt that Iwuagwu has been reportedly parading himself as ISPON President since the faction loyal to him purportedly held an election on October 31, 2023, in Lagos.
He has since constituted a Governing Board to assist him in running the institute, this newspaper learnt.
When contacted, Registrar of the 1st faction, Mr. Bola Aborode told HSENations that the election that purportedly brought Iwuagwu to power as president was flawed.
He said that by virtue of ISPON statutes, there could not be an election without an Annual General Meeting (AGM), adding that an Electoral Committee must also vet and clear any aspirant to the office of President.
These conditions, he said, were not met.
He disclosed that Mr. Uzamere, who was first elected as ISPON President in 2021, was re-elected in Abuja on October 31.
Aborode alleged that Iwuagwu and his loyalists have been actively working to frustrate numerous efforts to unite the Uzamere and Kaizer-led factions of the institute.
According to the embattled Registrar, Iwuagwu first became Lagos State Coordinator (previously State Chairman) of ISPON in 2013.
He said Iwuagwu’s colleagues in other states at the time have since quit the stage.
Aborode further alleged that Iwuagwu has turned ISPON into “family business” and has been paying himself and his wife salaries from the institute’s purse.
The embattled Registrar told HSENations that Iwuagwu is claiming that Uzamere’s tenure as president has elapsed, and he should have left.
However, Aborode refuted this, saying that Uzamere was first elected president in 2021 and was entitled to seek re-election in 2023.
Aborode said that having declared himself ISPON President, Iwuagwu proceeded to change the keys to the offices at the ISPON National Secretariat, Ikotun, Lagos, and instructed the security guards at the gate to deny him (Aborode) and other officials of the first faction access to the premises.
Aborode further told this newspaper that on November 13, 2023, Iwuagwu got him arrested by the Ikotun Police Division, where the complainant accused him of burgling his (Iwuagwu’s) office at the secretariat.
Aborode said that when he arrived at the station, he informed the police that the office in question is his since 2011.
He disclosed that on the same day, the case was transferred to the Area M Police Command, Idimu, where he restated his stance that the office is his.
He further disclosed that the parties would be reconvening at the Area M Police Command on Wednesday, November 22, over the burglary accusation.
According to Aborode, Uzamere has approached the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking to stop Iwuagwu from parading himself as president but has not been able to serve the court process on the respondent who has allegedly been evading service.
Efforts to get Iwuagwu’s reaction to the allegations were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the Ebi Kaizer-led Governing Board of ISPON gave its own side of the story of the crisis rocking the institute in a statement titled, “ISPON Reconciliation…Journey So Far”.
It said that both presidents, Kaizer and Uzamere, commenced peace talks on December 11, 2021, and agreed to continue their programmes.
“Mr. Kaizer led ISPON had showed steadfast commitment to ensuring the resolution of the crisis and forging one united ISPON,” the statement further read.
On constraints to a peaceful resolution of the crisis, the Kaizer-led Governing Board said, “A few persons on Pastor Uzamere led side, who are bent on continuing the crisis for their own personal gain have been doing everything they can to truncate the reconciliation process.
“For instance: There was a petition against Mr. Kaizer led side’s PDC-AGM in April 2023, by some persons on Pastor Uzamere led side. This petition led to a meeting at FCIID. Though the petition was disclaimed by Pastor Uzamere.
“Attemps were made by the same elements to disrupt the ISPON Day 2023 held in Abuja.
“The most recent one was the petition against the stakeholders engagement that was aimed at getting ISPON into the mainstream of the newly created OSH Desk in the MDAs.
“That petition prevented the office of the OHCSF from attending the event, thereby suspending her support for the good initiative pending reconciliation,” the statement also read.