What the ICMC President, Emeka Obegolu said at the 2018 ADR Conference/Induction Dinner
The Institute of chartered mediators and conciliators (ICMC) on 3rd December, 2018 inducted over one thousand, six hundred (1600) qualified Mediators and Conciliators.
In the speech delivered by the President of the Institute, Chief Emeka JP Obegolu, he charged the new inductees to take up the gauntlet and support the efforts of the Institute to mainstream Mediation and Conciliation as the primary means for addressing disputes in Nigeria.
Below is the full speech
The Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) Nigeria, which was established in 1999, is the professional body of practitioners in Nigeria with the mandate to regulate the practice of Mediation and Conciliation in Nigeria, train prospective candidates, and encourage institutions and organizations to employ Mediation and Conciliation as the primary means for addressing disputes. We organize both local and international trainings.
The Institute has over seven thousand (7,000) Inducted members who come from varying professional backgrounds. We have fifteen (15) branches spread all over the country to which these members belong and participate actively.
The branches are as follows; Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Enugu, Abakiliki, Awka, Asaba, Warri, Uyo, Calabar, Eket and Portharcourt.
This evening, we shall be inducting over one thousand, six hundred (1600) qualified Mediators and Conciliators.
COMPOSITION OF EXECUTIVES, GOVERNING COUNCIL, BOARD OF TRUSTESS AND AGM
The Institute’s Executive Committee is made up of the President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Directors of Training, Marketing & Membership Drive, Exams & Records, Public Communications & Strategy, Finance and Administration directorates.
The Governing Council consists of the President, past Presidents and Registrars of the Institute, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Directors of Training, Marketing & Membership Drive, Exams & Records, and Finance directorates, as well as the branch Chairpersons (who are ex officio members).
The Institute has three (3) cadres of Membership; Associate Member, Member and Fellow.
The Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training is the entry course of the Institute. This is held all over the country and is a four-day intensive learning experience, which includes pre and post course academic assignments. On the successful completion of the examination and post course assignment, candidates will be inducted into the Institute as Associate Members, and subsequently qualify to use the title “AICMC” (Associate, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators), and will have their names listed in the ICMC Directory of Members.
After a period of two years, Associates may apply to participate in the Associate Upgrade to Full Member Cadre Course. On the successful completion of the Upgrade Course, candidates will be inducted into the Institute as Full Members, and subsequently qualify to use the title “MICMC” (Full Member, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators).
The Fellowship grade is the Institute’s highest level of professional recognition. Full Members may, after a period of three years, apply to participate in the Full Member Upgrade to Fellow Cadre Course. On the successful completion of the Upgrade Course, candidates will be inducted into the Institute as Fellows, and subsequently qualify to use the title “FICMC” (Fellow, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators), and have their names listed in the ICMC Directory of Fellows.
In 2018, the Institute organized and successfully held thirteen (13) calendar trainings in Enugu, FCT Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, Asaba, Uyo, Portharcourt and Aba. This is not inclusive of specialized off-calendar trainings which were conducted in cities all over the country, such as; Jos, Keffi, Akure, Abeokuta, Onitsha, Uyo, Calabar, Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Ibadan, Asaba, Benin, and so on.
We conducted five (5) Direct Admission to Fellow Cadre courses (in Abuja, Lagos and Asaba), four (4) Upgrade to Fellow Cadre courses (in Abuja, Lagos and Asaba), two Direct Admission to Full Member Cadre courses (in Abuja and Lagos), two (2) Upgrade to Full Member Cadre courses (in Abuja and Lagos), and four (4) Training of Trainers Certification Trainings (in Abuja and Uyo).
We trained about two thousand (2000) individuals and we are inducting approximately one thousand, eight hundred (1800) individuals, who were successful at the Accreditation Examinations, turned in their post course assignments and deemed worthy in learning and character.
For the year 2018, the Institute has witnessed significant growth and made tremendous efforts to foster the advancement of Mediation, Conciliation and ADR practice in Nigeria. Some of the notable engagements of the Institute are as follows:
1. Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)
In March, 2018, the Institute held a Special Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training for Directors of the Federal Inland Revenue Service. There were twelve (12) Directors in attendance.
2. Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON)
In April, 2018, the Institute organized a Special Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training for Director and Senior Management Staff of the Standards Organization of Nigeria in Lagos and FCT Abuja. The training was well received with ninety seven (97) staff of the SON in attendance.
3. Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
ICMC, in partnership with the Mediation Training Institute (MTI), organized a special one (1) day training on mediation skills for Bishops and clergymen in Nigeria.
4. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
The Institute set up a Dispute Resolution Centre within the Commission which is tasked with exploring Electoral Alternative Dispute Resolution, and using Mediation and Conciliation to address electoral disputes.
5. Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD)
In June 2018, the Institute consulted for and organized a training for the legal officers of the Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) in Abuja. This training was specifically tailored to meet the needs of the Directorate and examine the use of ADR in Pension Management and Administration, as well as pension dispute resolution. Consultation with PTAD is still on-going, as ICMC aims to review the Directorate’s current dispute resolution processes, set up a Dispute Resolution Centre within the Directorate and propose more efficient ways of resolving pension-related disputes using Mediation and Conciliation.
6. Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
The Institute collaborated with Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German donor agency, to organize Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Trainings for judicial officers.
7. Abuja Chamber of Commerce (ACCI)
We consulted for the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and established a Dispute Resolution Centre within the Chamber. This Centre is designed to provide a less expensive and affordable dispute resolution option for small and medium businesses in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
8. Abuja Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre (ACCI DRC)
The Institute, in partnership with the ACCI Dispute Resolution Centre, successfully organized and held two (2) ADR Registrar/Secretary trainings in 2018. The trainings were well attended by young lawyers of the Abuja branch (Unity bar) of the Nigerian Bar Association.
9. Abuja Multidoor Courthouse (AMDC)
In May 2018, the Institute partnered with the AMDC to train sixteen (16) members of her staff in Mediation Skills.
10. Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC)
On the 19th of September, 2018, Chief Emeka J.P. Obegolu led a delegation from the Institute on a courtesy visit to the Director General of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre to explore post conflict dispute resolution and peace building. The delegation was warmly received by the NARC and discussions are still ongoing to ensure a collaboration between both bodies.
11. Federal Capital Territory High Court
On the 25th day of April, 2018, the Abuja branch of this esteemed Institute organized a public lecture and mock mediation simulation at the Ceremonial Court of the FCT Judiciary Headquarters, Maitama, Abuja, themed ‘The Use of Mediation in the settlement of Post-Election Matters: 2019 elections in view’, with Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello, the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, as the Chief Host; and the former Secretary to the Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs. Augusta .C. Ogakwu, as the key note speaker. This was well attended by the Honourable Justices of the FCT Judiciary, lawyers and political stakeholders, in which they were given the unique opportunity to witness how a mediation session ought to take place, and how mediation could be a useful tool in the settlement of electoral disputes.
12. Cross River Judiciary
This year we trained conducted Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training for the Honourable Judges and staff of the Cross River Judiciary. Today, twelve (12) of these Judges are being inducted into the Institute as Fellows.
13. Nigerian Law School (NLS)
As part of the Institute’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), we collaborated with the Mediation Training Institute (MTI) Nigeria, to develop discounted but quality Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification trainings to students of the Nigerian Law School. This year, we trained over four hundred (400) aspiring wigs. This engagement finds support in Rule 15 (d) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (2007), which states;
“In his representation of his client, a lawyer must first inform his client of the option of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms before continuing or resorting to litigation.”
14. Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)
At the Nigerian Bar Association’s 2018 Annual General Conference which held in Abuja, the Director of Marketing & Membership Drive led a team from the Institute to interact with lawyers of the NBA with a view to introducing the Institute to them, to sensitize them on the importance of Mediation, Conciliation and ADR mechanisms as a whole, and to offer discounted trainings to NBA branches across the country. The use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in settling disputes is on the rise, and it is imperative that legal practitioners; as key players in the field of dispute/conflict resolution, be equipped with the required skills for effective non-adversarial dispute resolution.
15. Prisons Officers’ Wives Association (PROWA)
The Institute is in complete agreement with the UNESCO Statement on Women’s Contribution to a Culture of Peace (1995), which goes thus;
“Only together, women and men in parity and partnership, can we overcome obstacles and inertia, silence and frustration and ensure the insight, political will, creative thinking and concrete actions needed for a global transition from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.”
In the furtherance of our mission to train women leaders and wives of civil and public servants, the Institute conducted a Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training for Wives of Prison Officers (PROWA).
16. International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
In October 2018, the Institute held a Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training for members of FIDA (Lagos Chapter). This training was warmly received with participants describing it as “eye opening” and “life changing”.
DEVELOPMENTS IN MEDIATION IN NIGERIA
Court of Appeal Mediation Centre
In June 2018, The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen commissioned the Court of Appeal Mediation Centre, as part of efforts to enhance justice delivery in the country. In her remarks, the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, stated that there was the need to set up the Appeal Court Mediation Centre in order to equip judges with the requisite skills in order to grapple with the escalating commercial dispute resulting from the growth in business activities and increase in international trade on one hand and breakdown of relationship on the other hand.
She stated further that parties before the court can now choose between litigation and mediation. This signifies an opportunity by parties as well as their counsel to enjoy the full flavour of Order 16 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2016.
National Industrial Court of Nigeria Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria was established to resolve certain disputes arising from labour, employment, industrial relations, workplace, etc, between parties using the process of mediation and/or conciliation. The Centre uses Mediation and/or Conciliation technique(s) to assist parties resolve their dispute and arrive at mutually acceptable agreement in less costly, speedy and efficient manner.
New Multidoor Courthouses
The Institute consulted for the Ogun State Judiciary in the establishment of the Ogun Multidoor Courthouse (OMDC). The Centre was officially opened on the 10th day of February, 2017.
We are currently consulting for the Bauchi State Judiciary to establish a Multidoor Courthouse in Bauchi State.
Attorney General (A.G) of Rivers State & 2 others vs A.G of the Federation
On 17 October 2018, the Supreme Court delivered a Consent Judgment in the case between the Attorney-General (A.G.) of Rivers State & 2 Others vs A.G of the Federation. The parties in the case opted attempt resolution of the matter using alternative dispute resolution, and they reached an “out-of-court” settlement on 5 April 2018, and the Supreme Court delivered a Consent Judgment adopting the Terms of Settlement of the parties.
The Judgment mandates the Federal Government to increase its share of revenue under oil Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel in line with Section 16 (1) of the Deep Offshore Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act (DOIBPSCA).
AMCON Debt Recovery Case 2018
In a move that would enable Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) meet its recovery mandate before its sunset period, the duo of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Walter Onnoghen, GCON and the President Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, CFR have called on AMCON to leverage the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) infrastructure, which is now available for use in courts in the country.
According to him, that is the only way AMCON will recover as much debts as possible within its defined lifespan. He added, “It is for these reasons, that I will encourage the use of ADR, as part of the mechanism put in place to resolve asset management related disputes in our courts.”
MOU with the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU)
The Institute has proposed a Memorandum of Understanding with PALU to offer specialized Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification to her members.
International Trainings and Collaborations
In July, we organized a Direct Admission to Fellow Cadre course which held at the Hilton Hotel, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai UAE.
Special Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice
THE NEW PATHWAYS
DIRECT ADMISSION TO MEMBER OF THE INSTITUTE
The Institute is offering non-members of the Institute the opportunity to undergo a two (2) day Special Full Membership Accreditation and Certification Course, leading to induction of successful candidates as Fellows of the Institute.
The persons qualified to participate in this Special Full Membership Accreditation and Certification Course include the following:
Serving and Retired High Court Judges, Khadis and Judges of Customary Courts of Appeal;
Serving Civil Servants on GL12 (Principal Officer) or above;
Holders of a Master’s Degree, in any field, obtained not less than five (5) years preceding the year of application;
Holders of a Bachelor’s Degree, in any field, obtained not less than fifteen (15) years preceding the year of application and;
Legal practitioners with a minimum of ten (10) years post call practice experience.
DIRECT ADMISSION TO FELLOW OF THE INSTITUTE
The Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators is offering non-members of the Institute the opportunity to undergo a two (2) day Special Fellowship Accreditation and Certification Course, leading to induction of successful candidates as Fellows of the Institute.
The persons qualified to participate in this Special Fellowship Accreditation and Certification Course include the following:
o Serving and Retired High Court Judges, Khadis and Judges of Customary Courts of Appeal;
o Executive Directors and Heads of Public and Private Establishments/Enterprises
o Serving Civil Servants on GL15 (Assistant Director) or above;
o Holders of a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), in any field;
o Holders of a Master’s Degree, in any field, obtained at least five (5) years preceding the year of application;
o Holders of a Bachelor’s Degree, in any field, obtained at least fifteen (15) years preceding the year of application and;
o Legal practitioners with a minimum of fifteen (15) years post call practice experience
CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION (CPE) COURSES
The Institute, in collaboration with the Intractable Dispute Mediators (IDM) and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre (ACCI DRC), introduced a total of sixteen (16) CPE courses, some of which are; Advanced ADR Advocacy, Handling Emotions in Mediation, Writing Mediation Settlement Agreements, Electoral Alternative Dispute Resolution, Family Dispute Mediation, amongst others.
2018 ADR CONFERENCE
As part of its effort to contribute to addressing the threats of election violence in 2019, the Institute for Chartered Mediators and Conciliators of Nigeria (ICMC) is dedicating its 2018 annual ADR conference to distilling its role as interlocutors in electoral disputes while interrogating the dilemmas of mediators in such complex emergencies, hence the theme “The Mediation Dilemmas in Complex Emergencies: 2019 General Elections in Perspective”.
The aim of the ADR conference is therefore to interrogate mediation dilemmas in resolving electoral disputes in Nigeria including:
Keeping Within the Limits of Competency
Ensuring Informed Consent
Separating Mediation from Counseling and Legal Advice
Avoiding Party Exposure to Harm as a Result of Mediation
The Keynote Speaker at the 2018 ADR Conference is Mr. Owei Lakemfa, the former Secretary General of the Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU).
The panelists are as follows:
– Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman, INEC
– Mr. Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner, INEC
– Mr. Babatunde Ogala, APC National Legal Adviser
– Dr. Bakut T. Bakut, the acting Director General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR)
– Dr. Haliru Yahaya, Emir of Shonga
– Mrs. Ummahani Amin, CEO, Metropolitan Law Firm
The moderator is Dr. Chukwuemeka Eze, the Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP).
THE MEDIATION HOUSE
Under the leadership of the Chairman of the Land Acquisition Committee, Chief (Dr.) Paddy Njoku, the Institute has recently acquired a plot of land measuring 2000 sqm along Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Expressway, next to the Novare Mall and Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Efforts are underway to build the “Mediation House” which will serve as the permanent office of the Institute’s Secretariat, training facility and Mediation Centre.
Today, the foundation laying ceremony of the Mediation House will be performed.
ICMC TRAINING INSTITUTE, ASABA
Through the efforts of Mr. Victor A.A.A. Ojaide, the Chairman of the ICMC Asaba branch, the Government of Delta State generously gifted the Asaba branch of the Institute with a plot of land measuring approximately 7440.881 sqm off Okpanam road, Asaba, Delta State. Steps have been taken to develop the land and build the “ICMC Training Institute”, which will serve as an international centre for learning and research with collaborations from notable Mediation training institutes worldwide. We are hoping to be accredited as a learning centre for major universities around the world.
THE FUTURE IS HERE
“Mediation and Reconciliation work is about a profound quest for justice and social transformation. But at the same time, they are about service, solidarity, about exploring and discovering the human spirit that has been lost or shattered through human conflict, cruelty, ignorance and greed.”- Hizkias Assefa.
In January 2017, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, was scheduled to meet with the former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, and other West African Leaders in order to resolve the political crisis that unfolded in the country as a result of the December 2016 elections. ECOWAS appointed the Nigerian President as “Chief Mediator” and the Ghanian President, John Mahama, as co-mediator.
Speaking during the “2018 International Day of Peace”, organized by the Lagos Citizens’ Mediation Centre, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Rule of Law Advisor, Office of the Vice President, Akingbolahan Adeniran, said although there was a threat to peace, pragmatic approach could be used to enhance peace in the nation. He stated further;
“For instance, the CMC is doing great things in Lagos to enhance peace through Alternative Dispute Resolution. I so much cherish peaceful resolution of conflict.”
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, noted that the adoption of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is now the mechanism for justice dispensation and decongesting courts’ caseloads in the country.
At the commissioning of the Court of Appeal Mediation Centre in June 2018, the CJN, who was represented by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, enjoined judges to encourage the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in cases that are less contentious in order to decongest the jurisprudence. He stated further;
“A mediation centre, such as the one I will be commissioning today, heralds a new era for court connected Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR in Nigeria.
It is noteworthy that this centre is proof that the Nigerian judiciary is fast becoming a legal system able to deploy multi-model justice delivery, thereby ensuring that the wheels of justice are speedy up to meet the demands of citizenry across the country.”
The President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, stated that there was the need to set up the Court of Appeal Mediation Centre in order to equip judges with the requisite skills to grapple with escalating commercial disputes on the one hand, and disputes resulting from breakdown of relationships, on the other hand. She reiterated;
“Unlike litigation through which huge money is lost in the process of resolving disputes, mediation is less expensive, time-saving and flexible. It has been shown to promote healthy and mutual co-existence and to relieve pressure on the courts.”
Mr. Bayo Ojo, SAN, the Chairman of the International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation Abuja (ICAMA) and former Attorney General of the Federation, at the opening session of the Biannual African Arbitration Roundtable in Abuja in October 2017, remarked that African countries seeking to attract foreign direct investments must first put in place a conducive business environment, of which prompt resolution of dispute is key.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, strongly urged participants to dwell on ways in which arbitration and mediation could better serve the nation’s economy as a tool for timeous resolution of commercial investment disputes.
The Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of Plateau State, stated during the Institute’s Special GIZ Induction in October 2018, that as a litigator he has gotten a taste of all ADR mechanisms and has come to the realization that Mediation is his preferred ADR mechanism, because parties always leave Mediation satisfied with the outcome. He called for a paradigm shift and re-orientation of minds in order for dispute resolution practitioners to understand that disputes, particularly commercial disputes, are best resolved using Mediation and other forms of ADR.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, speaking during the Institute’s 2017 ADR Conference, identified Mediation and Conciliation as effective ways of dispute resolution. Ekweremadu, in his keynote address, noted that litigation had become expensive and acrimonious and that alternative dispute resolution remained a veritable tool of resolving conflicts.
Speaking, Lalong noted that his state was a direct beneficiary of mediation and conciliation and urged public and private institutions to embrace the concepts for swift conflict management.
He noted that the deployment of security operatives during conflict was no longer yielding the desired results and consequently called for the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a means of managing disputes. Baru declared that the NNPC had adopted Mediation and Conciliation as the first route of dispute resolution, adding that they were less expensive than litigation.
Critical stakeholders in the field of dispute resolution have testified that Mediation is the way forward.
In the words of Miroslav Lajcak; “Mediation is one of the most effective tools of non-violence. It can turn parties away from conflict, towards compromise.”
CHARGE TO NEW INDUCTEES
On behalf of the Governing Council, Executive Committee and entire membership body of ICMC Nigeria, I will like to warmly welcome all inductees to the our prestigious Institute.
I commend to you the words of Jim Rohn; “Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity and emotions to affect other people.”
Our trainings have equipped you with knowledge, life skills and unique insight into how Mediation works. It is up to you now to utilize these skills in all aspects of your life; to strengthen your relationships, develop better work relations, build better families; and by extension, better societies.
This is only the beginning of your quest to ensure peaceful and harmonious coexistence in Nigeria, and the world beyond. You are therefore challenged by this induction and admission into the Institute to take up the gauntlet and support the efforts of the Institute to mainstream Mediation and Conciliation as the primary means for addressing disputes in Nigeria.
Finally, let me commend our founding members, the Board of Trustees, Past Presidents and Registrars, Governing Council and entire members of the Institute for the support and commendation this Executive has received since its inauguration.
I am immensely grateful that 2018 has been a fruitful year, and we look to 2019 and beyond with hope as we strive to promote effective dispute resolution and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
High Chief Emeka J.P. Obegolu, FICMC, FCIArb (UK)
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