BY PRINCEWILL EKWUJURU & BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
The looming battle between the estranged members of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, (NIMN) has shifted ground formally to the court yard.
Report had it that the factional body led by Chief Femi Odufowokan had been dragged before Justice Binta Murtala Nyako of the Federal High Court in Lagos, for allegedly having cloned the logo and website of the institute.
Femi Odufowokan (alleged President and Chairman of NIMN), Rotimi Adeyeye, Dr. Olu Ige, Michael Onuoha, Salihu Yahaya, Rilwan Aderinto, Adeyemi Ayoade Mabayoje, Gbede O. Gbadegesin, Rasheed Alade Abdulai and Gabriel Sanusi were listed as defendants in the charge sheet.
A four-count amended charge was filed on behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice by a senior state counsel, Elizabeth Alabi, who also said that the accused persons allegedly presented themselves as the executive members of the institute.
The offence was said to have contravened Section 2 (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 199 and punishable under the same section of law. The 11 accused persons are expected to be arraigned on January 18, 2012.
The institute has since divided along faction lines with one side being led by Chief Femi Odufowokan and the other by Chief Lugard Aimiuwu bearing same name, logo, and mission but different councils, offices and websites.
Apart from both factions maintaining different councils, offices and websites, they have also at different times inducted new members and run parallel programmes, which run contrary to the Act (CAP 144 2003 No. 25) that established NIMN.
However, the development has cast doubt on the integrity and credibility of the institute hence a looming danger hanging over the world’s oldest profession in Nigeria.
Different reasons have been advanced to the institute’s current state of health and chiefly according to those in Odufowokan’s camp, that Aimiuwu is reluctant to quit the stage having served out his provisional term as President/Chairman of Council of NIMN.
It would be recalled that Aimiuwu led council in September 2010 during the preparation of the first marketing conference alleged that Odufowokan’s camp had hacked into the institute’s website, cloned its logo and claimed to have formed a parallel body.
The activities of this factional body was reported to the police which Aimiuwu camp claimed to have swooped on Odufowokan’s camp, carted away their computers and gadgets. However, investigations later revealed that the factional office of NIMN at Palmgroove in Onipanu was operational.
The crisis started when Odufowokan’s camp published an advertorial in some national newspapers in September last year, claiming to be in charge of the institute. Odufowokan’s group also took further action by announcing the postponement of all earlier scheduled programmes and events planned by the Aimiuwu-led council, particularly the marketing summit in Port Harcourt in September 2010.
However, the alleged postponement never held waters as Aimiuwu camp went ahead with the summit in Port Harcourt. The impasse took new dimension when Aimiuwu council declared that 11 members suspected to be championing the confusion have been sacked.