‘ISPON’ Elude’s Owerri High Court Ruling
.. Victory Bernard
The last has not been heard about the ongoing leadership crisis in the Institute of Safety Professionals of NigeriaInstitute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON) as it went ahead to carry out her Annual General Meeting (AGM)/election yesterday (October 25th), which was initially was slated for today (26th).
The Federal High Court, Owerri, had allegedly issued an order restraining ISPON’s factional president, Nnamdi Ilodiuba, from holding its annual general meeting.
In a document, obtained by HSENations, marked FHC/OW/CS/123/2019, and signed by Court Registrar, Anozie O. and Justice T.G. Ringim, the court gave an order restraining ISPON members from attending the scheduled AGM pending the hearing and determination of a suit.
The suit which was filed on October 11th, 2019, by Amadi Buduburusi Vincent and five others (plaintiff) sought the court to restrain Aborode, Ilodiuba and others (defendant) or any member of the institute from holding or attending the AGM pending the determination of the motion on notice before the court.
After the hearing from the plaintiff, the court ordered that, “An interim injunction is hereby issued restraining the 2nd and 3rd defendants or any member of the 1st defendant from convening any Annual General Meeting of the 1st defendant which is fixed for the 26th of December, 2019 pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed in this suit.
“An Interim Injunction is also hereby issued to all the defendants including all the members of the 1st defendant in other branches of the Federation restraining them from attending any Annual General Meeting of the 1st Defendant fixed for the 26th of October, 2019.”
In a telephone-chat with HSENations, the National spokesperson of ISPON, Engr. Timothy Iwuagwu said that the institute could not hold her AGM/election on Saturday due to the ‘environmental sanitation’, hence, had to do it yesterday.
“The election held 6 o’ clock yesterday evening (Friday) and it was very interesting too. On Thursday, the institute informed their chairmen of the election; because there is an environmental sanitation in Imo state on Saturday; and Imo State does not joke with their environmental sanitation.”
“We told them that it won’t hold because of the environmental sanitation and our people knew that and that was why many of them showed up yesterday. We held the election on Friday. Those that could not come sent their proxy forms and many of them voted by proxy.”
“We had the AGM and in the AGM, we discussed the new policy guideline and that the institute must comply with the details of the Act. Anything that is not in the Act will not be used. Elections in the states are not mentioned in the Act.”
Iwuagwu noted that, “There will be only 10 persons in the board. 10 positions will be contested. The position of the President, and deputy president. A registrar will be employed.”
Asked about the election results, Iwuagwu said, “We don’t release the election results too early but it appears that the existing won their positions.”
When asked about the court order, he said, “We saw the court order and we had no cause to talk about it. Anyone can get an injunction even somebody under the bridge. Whereas a perpetual injunction was not obeyed by these same group of people.
He further said, “To us, the matter of ISPON has long been settled. Why did they bring an injunction, when they have not obeyed a perpetual one? The court respected the incumbency of ISPON. They did not challenge the incumbency. If you are the one with the ball, others will run after you.”
In his reaction, one of the leaders of the ISPON faction, (Registrar) Benson Adams-Otite, said that the AGM/election was a lie and a form of propaganda in a bid to avoid the injunction.
“They can tell you anything to try to beat the injunction. They are gaining from the crisis and they don’t want it to be resolved,” Otite said, speaking with our reporter on the phone.
Explaining what led to the injunction, Otite said, “They have been writing against us. They reported to the IG. We were told to go and resolve the crisis ourselves.
“We called an AGM at first to resolve the crisis. At the meeting, Ilodiuba was making unreasonable offers. He was asking for the account to be given to him. We said that the two presidents have to present the account to all the members and then we allow the members to decide if they want election or not.
Then we said, ‘let’s suspend all AGM for a while and go to court since we cannot resolve it on our own.’ We were told that on the 26th of Oct, 2019, his (Ilodiuba) tenure will expire. One, he doesn’t want to handover or he has someone that he wants to handover to.
Further reacting to the ‘already done’ meeting, he said that the law gave that 60 days to the election, message should be given to all members.
“They cannot say they have done election. It is propaganda. Which notice did they serve? Who attended the meeting? It is a lie. They did not serve a notice for yesterday but for today”
Reacting to the alleged neglect of a perpetual court order of not ‘parading themselves as members of the institute’, Otite noted that the Ilodiuba-led faction had first disregarded the AGM which was ordered by the court to solve the crisis.
He said, “They didn’t obey the court order of the first meeting which was meant to solve the crisis. Ilodiuba walked out of the meeting.”
“The institute is bigger than one individual’s interest. There is a court hearing on October 31st. Till then, we will know what power they have to sack the registrar,” he explained.