The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) held its CIPM CEO/CHRO/HRD forum in Lagos on Wednesday October 4, 2023, with the theme, ‘Rethinking the Role of HR: A CEO’s Perspective’. Olusegun Mojeed, president and chairman, Governing Council of the CIPM, spoke with Seyi John Salau on the sideline of the event, which aim to connect the people management institute with business owners and the business community. He also spoke about the Institute’s 2023 international conference and exhibition, themed, ‘Sustainable HR, Business and National Development’ in November. Excerpts:
The 2023 international conference (CIPM ICE2023) will be your valedictory conference as president; how has the journey been in the last two years?
If you ask my people, they will tell you that I’m a very shy person; to now begin to reel out our achievements is not mine, is ours. From my youth, there is a saying that has refused to leave me – if you want to succeed, surround yourself with good people. I didn’t bring myself to be president, I was approached and we prayed; my wife and I, and sincerely, I involved the general overseer of my church. That one I cannot apologise to anybody because what you see is what you get. For me, I believe in ‘TGF’ The God Factor. So, after we got our release, we said yes to the men and women who came to us; don’t forget we still have to contest for the election. We went into the election and God gave us victory, and we started work. We knew we had things to do for sure; we had about three months to put our strategies together – then we called it ‘MIDAS’. The day we won the election, MIDAS was subsumed into the over-ranking objective of the institute and then we matched on. And since then – well, some rough patches here and there, but we have had some tremendous achievements. If you look at the rate the membership has increased; if you look at our presence, in fact more people now know who CIPM is, what CIPM is up to. If you look at it very well, we have expanded into further areas of the country to start with. We were never in Adamawa; we have gone there. On the eve of the becoming president about five of our branches were moribund. So, we resuscitated them; they are doing very well today. We didn’t just stop there because we know that the world has become a global capsule not a global village: other HR professionals’ body from outside Nigeria are bringing the battle to us here which we have now taken the battle to them, starting with the United Kingdom and we have moved on to Canada and the US is loading. Number one, we are starting with our people who are there. Some of them are already certified HR professionals via the CIPM, some of them not yet certified but now they are gearing up to be certified. So, those are the kind of things that we have done. Before I became president, we had almost no presence in Abuja. If you went to where the CIPM office was in Abuja you wouldn’t want to even use it as piggery. Today we have our own edifice in Abuja costing the institute around N500 million – the institute’s money, no bank loan. So, that one is sitting majestically in the center of Abuja; that’s what a national professional institute should look like and that we have been able to do. Like I told you sincerely, I can’t begin to reel out those things. The conference we are holding in Abuja used to be called the annual national conference but one thing that Covid did: Covid happened to everybody. We took the positive of it – that conference has now become international and is now hybrid, going on a larger scale like never before. Our presence in Africa has been enhanced; currently, as I speak, yours sincerely is the vice president of the African Human Resource Congress. Yours sincerely is sitting on the board of World Federation of People Management Association on behalf of the CIPM, on behalf of Nigeria; it has never happened.
You spoke about the God factor; if you’re to look back, is there any instance where you can say it could only be God in the last two years?
Number one, my becoming president can only be God. My immediate past president; the person I took over from is younger than me in age, he is not of my generation in everything. So, when they went for him, we thought our generation had been bypassed and we were ready because I was leading his campaign. I wasn’t thinking of myself. So, it could only be God for you to have been remembered. The Bible says and then the book was open and then a remembrance – if you look at the book of Esther that was how Mordecai was remembered and they remember and came to my generation. So, that could only have been God, and we still have to go for an election. The election was like we were contesting against the incumbency – so, if God could handle that, God has been handling the rest of the journey since. Things that my predecessors have been trying to do for ten years and so on; God was just making them happen right here in our presence and I give him all the Glory.
Now, looking at the business environment and the employment climate in Nigeria; businesses are complaining about their bottom-line while employees are demanding for more pay. How can we bridge these differences?
Number one, in industrial relations practice, bread and butter; workers will continue to ask for more, employers will continue to defend – let’s come to the table and bargain. Yes, let employers bargain with employees. If you’re not unionised, let the employers be magnanimous and with the fear of God, know when you need to do something for your employees. It will continue to happen; there is no way or day the employees will say enough. There’s no way the employer is going to say yes, I have more than enough. No, it’s going to be by dialogue. Even at the Garden of Eden, God and Adam, and Eve; they spoke, they dialogue with themselves. So, why shouldn’t we be talking to ourselves and continue to talk. So, it will continue to happen as human beings. We should learn to manage one another and believe me – it’s no big deal.
The Institute recently signed an MoU with the CIPD in the United Kingdom; can you walk us through the mutual recognition process of that partnership?
Very simple, it’s part of what we have done. Thank you for reminding me. I can’t remember all these things offhand; it’s one of the major landmark achievements apart from going to the UK to form the CIPM, UK branch. The MoU with CIPD is the master stroke – you know us Nigerians, how we want foreign this foreign that; we say okay fine, if you are a CIPM member what we were trying to do is to look at what is missing in CIPM curriculum, especially when we are looking at the CIPD curriculum and get to do those few things that are missing, and you get to become a member of the CIPD. If you are bringing a CIPD certification to the CIPM, we will look at what you don’t have e.g the Nigeria Labour law, e.g the industrial relations; quickly you do it and then you get your CIPM certification; that is what we mean by mutual recognition of certification; that is what we mean by curriculum integration. Those are the things in the MoU and we are trusting that the first fruit by November when we bring in the CEO of CIPD to our conference; we will begin to see the first fruit of this relationship. It is part of globalisation, and like I always say ‘TINA’: there is no alternative to globalisation. You can’t begin to build walls. No, our people are ‘japaing’ to that side and let me tell you, the CIPM certificate is also recognised everywhere abroad. You’ve been receiving enquiries from Canada and so on for people who are using our certification for their master programme.
What should participants expect from the 2023 ICE?
Oh, Abuja is a lovely place to be. I just came back from Abuja. So, this year’s conference is packed with speakers and so on. Don’t forget we are also celebrating our Emerald jubilee; the 55th year of the founding of the CIPM. It’s going to be so lovely – we are going to have a great time by the grace of God. So, come and join us. Let’s celebrate the grace of God together.