Chijoke Ibeku is a Nigerian lawyer, consultant, and property development manager. He has practiced law for the last 18 years in the real state sector. Over the years since 2016, he has integrated mediation as part of his practice. As a young lawyer, he immediately aligned with the purpose, potential, and philosophy of mediation.

Finding Common Ground and Maintaining Self-Worth

“I have always wanted a peaceful atmosphere and wanted people to get along. I always believed mediation could be the way out. If you give it a try, then there is great potential,” said Ibeku. His belief that people should have the opportunity to find common ground while also working together is his life goal.

He further stated, “I could stretch myself to accommodate, and that is what mediation is all about to get to a place where we could all agree on.” Mediation is becoming more established in Nigeria. It is beginning to take on its roots, which has given it strength. Though people face challenges and uncertainties with COVID19, it has become easier to introduce mediation.  He said, “you can solve this problem at a cost that is pocket-friendly.”  

Overall, maintaining self-worth while also finding common ground with others offers excellent opportunities to grow. For Ibeku, his spiritual side is an essential aspect of his character and strength. For him, intelligence and strength are supplementary to the impact of his higher power.

Sharing his Wealth of Knowledge

He has written two books on mediation.  His first book is titled Understanding the Basic Principles of Property Management.” He has also published a handbook titled, “Contemporary Facets Of Mediation.” As a young lawyer, he would have appreciated texts on these subjects, focusing on practical tools. Therefore, with 18 years of experience, his book now captures strategic, comprehensive reflections and tools that mediators can use for effective collaboration across disciplines and cultures. My wife has been one of the most inspirational figures for these books to become possible. She motivated me to share my knowledge,” he said.

The content is original and inspired by his rich experience of his work in and outside of Nigeria. The content is also inclusive to topics that are often not discussed at the global and local scale. “these books may allow you to learn more about mediation for those entering the field and for those who are experts as well,” he said. Often, the basics of mediation are overlooked, and it is crucial to stay aware and encourage the practice of mediation entirely, starting from the basics with new takeaways.  

Peer Mediation Project

He is interested in establishing a peer mediation project to encourage young people in secondary school to learn mediation at an early age. Nigeria has a high level of conflict. This project can become a channel to increase awareness and decrease the levels of potential violence. He is looking for active partners to engage in this project fully. “The strength of mediation is if children can be part of it form primary or secondary,” he said.  Even those who have experience in mediation for years hope this project will also create a new fresh network. The strengths and partnerships possible can also help one take new fronts and projects.

This vision cultivated through his involvement with the mediation community, such as MBBI. He became connected to founding member Suzi Norbeck, who connected him with MBBI membership. He was impressed by her warmth and vision. Thus, he became a committee member and ultimately became acquainted with impactful professionals. He hopes to enhance the awareness of MBBI in Nigeria.

He can balance his life and work as a mediator by setting boundaries. His higher power and family are some of his primary motivations, but it is essential to remember that mediation does not limit others. Learning, awareness, and belief that one must make an impact are vital to remember in this journey. “for me, I have a desire to make an impact, and this should be enough to carry on a larger vision.”  He further stated, “There is no better time than now for the practice of mediation has been my mantra. There is a lot of uncertainties and what mediation seeks to do is invite the practice of mediation.”

Article by Elizabeth Gamarra, MBBI Writer