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ISPON Factions

The three warring factions in the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON) have welcomed the intervention of the House of Representatives Committee on Safety Standards and Regulations in the crisis rocking the institute.

The factions expressed their support for the reconciliation process in separate chats with HSENations.

Recall that this newspaper had reported that the factions held a series of meetings with the House Committee led by Hon. (Dr.) Sulaiman Abubakar Gumi (FNSE) in Abuja on May 6 and 7, following which a two-page communique was released.

A copy of the communique sighted by HSENations indicated that 14 representatives of the three warring factions endorsed the communique alongside the House Committee Chairman and the Clerk of the Committee, Chinyere Gift Ike-Onuigbo.

According to the communique, the House Committee observed that the main problem of ISPON is that the institute is porous in terms of fund management and governance structure, which led to numerous court injunctions and judgements.

The factions agreed to, among others, form a committee to establish financial regulations and procedure for the institute, withdraw all pending court cases, harmonise existing separate membership registers, form a Transition/Caretaker Committee, and hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the third week of October 2024 where a new president and governing board will be elected for the institute.

In a chat with this reporter on Monday, May 13, a factional President, Mr. Evaristus Uzamere, described the reconciliation process brokered by the House of Representatives Committee on Safety Standards and Regulations as a “welcome” development.

He said, “They say if you fight for ten years, you still have to end up in peace. So, this is quite welcome.”

Uzamere noted that “the process is fair and justified. It is a good thing happening.”

Asked if he would be participating in the October 2024 election, he replied, “I don’t know.”

He added that the AGM or election could bring lasting peace to the institute.

“Yes, it is capable,” he said.

In a chat with this reporter at the ISPON National Secretariat in Ikotun, Lagos, on Tuesday, May 14, another factional president, Engr. Timothy Iwuagwu, hailed the House of Representatives Committee for its intervention aimed at enthroning lasting peace in the institute.

Iwuagwu said that the Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Gumi, is “such an intelligent person, very articulate in his questions, and has a very calm personality.”

He lamented that the ISPON crisis has created space for quacks to take over safety management practices in Nigeria, which portends grave danger for the national economy.

“We had a lot of duties undone, a lot of responsibilities abdicated, and it’s not fair to Nigeria and the industrial sector,” he said.

“On whether I am sure about the peace move and reunification effort standing the test of time, I am sure within the limit of my conviction,” Iwuagwu stated.

He stressed that no one among the warring factions who physically engaged with the House Committee should want to derail the reconciliation efforts given the physical, mental, and financial toll the process exerted.

“There are very few of us who can put their personal interests down and face the realities of a bigger picture. So, on that basis, if I wasn’t convinced that this would last, I won’t go into it to the extent I have gone. And that is why you saw the endorsement in the communique. Those who endorsed under me and those who endorsed under other parties endorsed because they were sure,” Iwuagwu added.

Dr Julius Akpong, Head, Media and Publicity Committee of the Elder Ebiwari Kaizer-led Governing Board, said that the faction fully supports the National Assembly’s intervention.

He noted that the Kaizer-led group has always taken return of peace to the institute seriously.

Akpong said, “Since the regime of Elder Kaizer came on board, he has set up a committee in the Governing Board to take care of reconciliation, and that committee has had meetings till this very day, when the National Assembly came up with the initiative for assisting us with this.

“We cannot be aloof to it. We are going to make official comments at the right time. But for now, let it be noted that we are working with whatever the National Assembly has decided.”

By John Ogunsemore

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