By Alex Enumah
It was an epoch making event when the THISDAY Lawyer Deputy Editor, Jude Igbanoi, was inducted as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) at the National Headquarters of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja, last Tuesday, December 1. Also amongst the inductees was the Judicial Editor of The NATION Newspapers and former National Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, John Unachukwu.
Dr Agada Elachi was also inaugurated that day, as the sixth President of the ICMC at the 2020 African Mediation Conference/Annual General Meeting and Induction Ceremony.
An elated Dr Elachi, in his inaugural speech, while promising to “work hard to keep the faith and standards” set by his predecessors, urged members of his executive team to see their election as “a call to improvement”. He promised not to disappoint on expectations, adding that his administration would be guided by standards of past leaders, and be opened to advice from members as well.
Elachi however, disclosed that the new executive would give priority attention to Practice; Welfare of members; Standard of Processes, Protocol and Procedures, as well as its interventionist role in the nation’s politics.
Meanwhile, immediate past President of the ICMC, Chief Emeka Obegolu, challenged the new inductees of the Institute, to “look inwards towards our home-grown Afrocentric ADR institutions, to foster the evolution of our practice of dispute resolution in Nigeria and across Africa”. According to him, this is necessary because, Mediation is an ever-evolving field, making the journey for Mediators a never ending learning process.
“ICMC seeks to mainstream Mediation and Conciliation as the primary means for the effective resolution of disputes in Nigeria, and fulfil our mandate of encouraging organisations and institutions to adopt Mediation and Conciliation as the primary means of resolving disputes.
“We look forward to the value we believe your induction will bring to the Institute”, he added.
While noting that the Institute has made great strides in the last 21 years when it was formed by just seven members in 1999, he charged the new executive to build on their accomplishments, learn from their mistakes and take steps and make sacrifices to see the completion of projects, as well as continue to improve the capacity of the ICMC Secretariat, which according to him, is the engine room of the Institute.
Obegolu listed some of the landmark achievements of his tenure to include; establishment of several ADR centres in some States of the Federation; construction of the ICMC Mediation House in Abuja (65% complete), establishment of several training centres, as well as the 2020 African Mediation Conference, amongst others.
While over 700 qualified Mediators and Conciliators were inducted as Fellows, Members and Associate Members of the institution, the high point of the ceremony was the conferment of the new rank of Chartered Mediator on a member of the Institute’s Board of Trustees and one time President, Dr Patrick Njoku.