A Dispute Resolution Mechanism for Infrastructure Development in Nigeria



By Christian Azuka Olele

Project Implementation Manager
EdgeGold Concept Services Limited 

Lagos, Nigeria



Adjudication is an alternative dispute resolution method introduced by the judiciary. The study evaluates the essential frameworks from the contractual and legal aspect, it talks about applicable skills and on hand training that could be offered, and ascertains the important and impact in the practice of adjudication. Adjudication emerges to have been accepted in the Nigerian construction sector, however it is concluded that the sector has not being able to realize the full potential of adjudication, the main reason for this is lack of Information.

This paper is aimed at exploring requirements for the full realization of the potentials required for adjudication.

Key Words: Adjudication, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Nigerian Construction Sector, Litigation, Conflicts, Infrastructure Development


In the process of doing business, it is anticipated that differences of opinions will arise intermittently among business partners or connected persons. However, it is a known fact that commercial disputes are universal and frequent; the way and manner they are dealt with can have a philosophical impact on the outcome of the business. It is proven that unresolved disputes are factors affecting business ventures, scare investors and also affect the stock market performance of a registered business.

Disputes are normally an unavoidable part of human dealings which may be naturally domestic, civil, commercial or economic in character. Litigation has been the conventional process of settling disputes, which may arise as a result of defaulting (sometimes not deliberate) by an accomplice. Ultimately, the procedure of litigation has turn out to be guzzling time, costly and weighty which leads to overcrowding and setback in passing their resolutions.

According to Uff (2005), increase in globalization and the contemporary business world has been a reason in the improvement of more flexible way of resolving disputes that provide alternatives to court-based litigation governed by the law and procedure of a specific country.

For the first time in Nigeria, Adjudication and other forms of Alternative Dispute  Resolution (ADR) is backed up constitutional in section 19(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 and it provides for the settlement of disputes by Arbitration, Mediation, Conciliation, Negotiation and Adjudication.

According to Odiri (2004), every business sector which brings people together to work and achieve a common goal, there is likelihood that disagreement, variance and arguments may arise.  These factors are common in the construction sector. As you may know, conflict and dispute may perhaps signify same meaning since the duo involves a disagreement over some issues at hand. However, there are various theoretical dissimilarities between the two terms. Conflict as it is explained, subsists wherever there is an incongruity of concern. The Oxford English Dictionary describes conflict as a serious disagreement or argument; a prolonged armed struggle. However, Suleman (2015) is of the view that a thorough assessment of the socio-political atmosphere of the construction sector in Nigeria disclosed growing occurrences of varied opinions and disagreements among stakeholders. In turn, this also explain that the implementation of Infrastructural Development master plan for Nigeria led to the Increase in Economic activities in and around the construction sector and relationships needs to be managed so as to understand the clauses that makes up contracts being signed by parties whom have come together for a common goal.

Adjudication was introduced into the FIDIC, NEC and GCC conditions of contract as the standard means of dispute resolu­tion early 2000 as an international rule practice.  Adjudication as it is known is comparatively a new model which is not implicit as all adjudicators are well trained and have experience in the other forms of dispute resolution. The rationale behind this paper is to examine the requirements on how to apply adjudication in construction and Infrastructure development in Nigeria. To aid this, the researcher reviewed the essential framework and other permissible factors, discuss­es significant skills and available training, and establishes the impartation of adjudication in Nigeria…


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About the Author

Christian Azuka Olele

Lagos, Nigeria



Christian Azuka Olele is a project manager experienced in the Construction Sector in Nigeria, West Africa. He received his B.Sc. and PGdip degrees in Geology from the University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Nigeria; and his M.Sc. degree in Project Management from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool; U.K

Christian Azuka Olele worked on the Lekki Toll Road Infrastructure Project, Victoria Island Lagos; Osborne Jetty Terminal, Ikoyi, and Several Roads Construction Projects in Lagos & Abeokuta, Nigeria. He is currently the Project Implementation Manager for Uyo Women Development and Skill Acquisition Center, Akwa Ibom State. A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project of TOTAL Upstream Nigeria Limited (TUPNL), Lagos, Nigeria.

He is Interested in Managing Projects in Nigeria and Africa.

He can be reached via email at [email protected]