Tuesday, 11 August, 2020

EDITORIAL: NBA ELECTIONS 2020 – OF OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2020 National Elections will hold barely 28 days from today. In fact, Paragraph 2.3 (d) of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended) provides that “The full list of all legal practitioners qualified to vote shall be published by ECNBA in conjunction with the National Secretariat of the NBA at least twenty eight (28) days before the date of the election.” The poll is scheduled to hold on July 24 and 25, 2020 via electronic voting. Continue Reading

‘WE’VE NOT SET VOTER VERIFICATION DEADLINE,’ SAYS TAWO TAWO

• …. MIXED REACTIONS GREET EXERCISE
• “MY EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN TERRIBLE,” SAYS FUNKE ADEKOYA
• … WARNS THAT MANY ELIGIBLE VOTERS WILL BE DISENFRANCHISED

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has declared that it has not set any deadline for the ongoing verification exercise, contrary to speculations that verification was billed to end yesterday.

ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN told CITY LAWYER that the committee has not decided on when to draw the curtains on the exercise.

Speaking on whether a deadline has been set to conclude the verification process, he said pointedly: “There is none yet.” The electoral umpire was also at a loss as to the source of the speculation, saying: “I wonder the origin of the confusion.”

The frenzy may not be unconnected with certain posts on social media platforms suggesting that yesterday was the deadline for the verification exercise.

A post trended on several social media platforms yesterday urging lawyers to make haste to verify their personal details on the NBA website. It stated that only 48 hours was allowed for the exercise, adding that it would end by 6 pm. The post read: “Today is the deadline for all eligible lawyers to verify their details on the NBA Website. Visit https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal. #Securethefuture.”

Another version of the post which was sent to lawyers via short messaging service (SMS) read: “Dear (name of receiver), The ECNBA has released the 2nd List of Voters. Kindly verify that your details are correct. If they are not, send the correct details with proof of payment to ecnba2020@nigerianbar.ng not later than 6pm on 23/06/20. You can verify via https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal.” The message came under the “BULK SMS” banner.

The information caused anxiety among lawyers, leading to many making frantic efforts to verify their details.

CITY LAWYER investigations show that the speculation may also not be unconnected with the ECNBA press statement unveiling its second provisional voters list where it stated that “Those whose names are omitted are expected to send their details with proof of payment of Branch Dues within 48 hours of this publication to the account ecnba2020@nigerianbar.ng. Please note that any mails or messages sent after 6PM on Tuesday 23rd June 2020 will not be attended to.”

Given that the verification process was heralded by the press statement, many stakeholders may have assumed that the deadline was for both the compilation and verification exercises.

Meanwhile, there has been mixed reactions regarding the verification exercise. While some lawyers said that the process was stress-free, others seem to have had a herculean task navigating the verification process on the NBA website.

One of those who had a tough time engaging the process is former NBA presidential candidate, Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN. She told CITY LAWYER that her experience was “terrible.” Her words: “My experience has been terrible. I was verified before but forgot password; so I sent ‘forgot password’ message. I have been waiting for password reset email since yesterday (Monday). I received email this (Tuesday) morning and accessed link – it says password cannot be reset. I sent email to NBA Secretariat 4 hours ago – still no response!”

In an early morning SOS to CITY LAWYER, Mr. Augustine Ogbodo said: “I don’t know if you have any clue on verification of membership on the NBA portal. I have been trying to log in to the portal to verify my membership but have not been successful. I tried reaching NBA via telephone but wasn’t successful.”

Immediately CITY LAWYER escalated the SOS on some social media platforms, there was a flurry of responses both from the ECNBA and the NBA leadership. While the NBA publicity team uploaded several versions of the verification process on sundry social media platforms, the ECNBA Secretary, Mrs. Cordelia Eke advised eligible voters who have challenges with the verification process to “contact the NBA IT staff in charge.”

She added: “A lot of phone calls (are) coming (in). They may not be able to take all. We advise people to send emails. It’s easier to track and treat complaints that way.” She assured that she “will ask the IT staff to look into this (complaint).” She later stated that “Members’ complaints about the website have been forwarded to NBA IT to handle.”

When CITY LAWYER asked Ogbodo to provide more details on his challenges with the verification process, he said: “I was prompted to supply new password and to confirm same. I did so but was again prompted to insert the correct format.” He then requested the “contact or email of the IT staff?” adding: “Thanks so much for your efforts. I have sent them an email. Waiting for their response. I sent the email to support@nigerianbar.org.ng as indicated.”

Unlike NBA Lagos Branch Welfare Secretary, Anthonia Eke who stated that “I had a seamless process updating my data on the verification portal of the NBA,” both Adekoya and Ogbodo eventually surmounted the verification hurdles.

Said Adekoya: “(I) Have finally been verified! A 24 hour process. With WFH (working from home), even if you have been verified (as I have) if you do not have an ‘active’ profile on the NBA website, you are unlikely to be able to vote. An ‘active’ profile means you interact with the NBA through your portal on the NBA website. (It is) Not the same as being verified.”

On his part, Ogbodo told CITY LAWYER that “This is what I have been missing. I have been trying to put the password without inserting figures and special number. (I) Have just done the needful and Password successfully reset. Thanks for your assistance.”

Worried that many lawyers may be disenfranchised by the verification model adopted by the ECNBA, Adekoya predicted a very low voter turnout in the 2020 NBA Elections. her words: “(I) Will be surprised if up to 3000 voters receive voting link from NBA website.”

CITY LAWYER also observed that the ECNBA press statement was silent on the details of any Help Desk or help lines for eligible voters who may have challenges with the verification process.

It is recalled that while 32, 228 eligible voters were on the provisional voters register for the 2018 NBA Elections, only 16,825 or 52.21 per cent of the eligible voters were able to scale the verification hurdle. Analysts have observed that the 2018 verification process is more straightforward than the current exercise, leading to fears that even fewer eligible voters may get their names on the final voters register.

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

NBA ELECTIONS: LAGOS, ABUJA, IKEJA, PH ARE BATTLE-GROUND BRANCHES

• 34, 418 ELIGIBLE VOTERS MAKE SECOND LIST
• ECNBA OKAYS VOTER VERIFICATION EXERCISE

Some Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) branches have maintained their rating as battle-ground branches in NBA National Elections, given the latest voter registration list published by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) in the run-up to the 2020 polls.

Following release of the second provisional voters’ list for the elections by the electoral umpire, Lagos Branch maintains its pole-vault position as by far the branch with the largest number of voters in NBA circles. It has 6,722 members on the voters’ register. Continue Reading

‘THE PLATFORM’ CANCELS NBA PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

SAYS ‘WE WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED ON ANY NEW DEVELOPMENTS’

The Platform Nigeria has formally canceled its planned “interactive session” with Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidates in line with the disapproval of the programme by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA). However, the promotional website for the aborted programme had not been pulled down at press time.

An email to prospective participants which originated from the Convener/Visioner of The Platform Nigeria, Pastor Poju Oyemade, gave no reason for the cancellation. He however assured participants that “We will keep you informed on any new developments.”

Oyemade, the avant-garde Pastor of the mega church, Covenant Christian Centre (CCC), had in an earlier tweet on his verified Twitter handle, invited the public to the now aborted presidential debate, saying: “This Sunday @theplatformnigeria will be holding interactive sessions with the three candidates for the post of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association. #nbadecides2020.” He has not tweeted on the cancellation at press time. The Platform Nigeria is a popular speaking podium which has hosted some of Nigeria’s leading technocrats including the Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).

The ECNBA had in an email obtained by CITY LAWYER warned the presidential candidates against featuring in the virtual “interactive session,” saying it breached the NBA Constitution and “does not meet with the approval of the ECNBA.”

In response to the ECNBA directive, one of the presidential candidates, Mr. Olu Akpata formally withdrew from the interactive session, citing the email received from the electoral body. In a notice that trended on several social media platforms, he said: “Please note that in compliance with an email notice received from the ECNBA, Olumide Akpata will not be participating in the Platform interactive session billed for the 19th of July 2020 or any other debate or interactive session involving more any other candidate.

“We thank the organisers of the Platform interactive session for the work that they have put into organising the session, and hope that they and members of the public understand with us.”

It was unclear at press time whether the other presidential candidates issued any formal statements withdrawing from the programme, even as CITY LAWYER had reported that one of the candidates may have planned to shun the interactive session.

CITY LAWYER had predicted that the ECNBA would come down heavily on the aborted interactive session when it revealed plans by the electoral body to take decisive steps to stem what it perceived as serial disobedience to its earlier directives on campaigns.
Below is an email cancelling one of the planned sessions:

Poju Oyemade <no-reply@zoom.us>
9:01 AM (14 hours ago)
to (NAME)

Good morning,

The webinar “Join Deacon Dele Adesina SAN in an interactive session on his vision and plans for the Nigeria Bar Association” on Jul 19, 2020, 03:00 PM has been canceled.

The Platform Nigeria wants to thank you for registering. We will keep you informed on any new developments.

Thank you

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OGUNLANA APPEALS DISQUALIFICATION, BLAMES IKEJA CHAIR FOR WOES

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Controversial Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential aspirant, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana has made good his resolve to challenge his disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the NBA.

Ogunlana, the Convener of the Radical Agenda Movement in the Nigerian Bar Association (RAMINBA), blamed outgoing NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Dele Oloke for his woes, saying that the “failure of the Chairman of the NBA Ikeja Branch to issue me the Letter duly applied for within time and in compliance with constitutional provisions is absolutely reprehensible , grossly oppressive and a brazen and violent breach of the Constitution of the Association and a reckless, malicious abuse of the powers of the Nigerian Bar Association.”

Attached to the appeal are Oloke’s reply to his application for Letter of Good Standing, Ogunlana’s Letter of Reply to Oloke’s refusal letter and his Letter to ECNBA Chairman.

Please see details below:

OGUNLANA ADESINA ADEMOLA ESQ.

Phone- 08034854066 Email- thesquiblawjournal@yahoo.com
185, PALMGROVE, IKORODU ROAD, LAGOS.

17th June, 2020

The Chairman,
Electoral Committee of Nigerian Bar Association,
NBA House,
Plot 1101, Central Business District,
Abuja,
Federal Capital Territory.

THROUGH:
The Secretary,
Electoral Committee of Nigerian Bar Association

Dear Sir,
APPEAL AGAINST DISQUALIFICATION OF OGUNLANA ADESINA ADEMOLA FROM CONTESTING THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION
I received the e-Letter of your Committee dated 12th June, 2020 entitled “Notice of Disqualification from Contesting Election, Re: Office of The President of the Nigerian Bar Association and signed by the Secretary on the 13th day of June, 2020.
I take the liberty to reproduce same here:
“June 12th, 2020

Mr. Adesina Ogunlana,
NBA,
Ikeja Branch

 

NOTICE OF DISQUALIFICATION FROM CONTESTING ELECTION
RE: OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE NBA

TAKE NOTICE that upon the perusal and screening of your nomination form with the accompanying documents by a Sub-Committee of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) constituted for that purpose, it was discovered that you do not have a letter of good standing from your Branch as required by the ECNBA Election Guidelines with respect to nomination of candidates, made pursuant to the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended).

You have therefore been found not qualified to contest election to the office of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association in the 2020 National Officers Election of the Association.

Note further that you have a right of Appeal exercisable within seven (7) days of receipt of this Notice.

Any letter or notice of Appeal should be addressed to the Chairman, ECNBA and sent to the Committee Secretary via email to : ecnba2020@gmail.com , not later than 4.00 PM on the 7th day subsequent to the date or receipt of this mail.

Cordelia U. Eke (Mrs.)
Secretary, ECNBA”

 

Being utterly dissatisfied with the verdict of your Committee, I hereby appeal same, asking for a reversal and qualifying me to participate in the election in issue.

You will kindly recall, Sir, that my bundle of Nomination Forms including documents pertaining to myself as Candidate, Dare Akande as Nominator and Lateef Abdulsalam as Seconder sent over to you numbered 81 pages. I hereby attach all earlier documents forwarded to you, except my Nomination forms , my Nominator’s forms , receipts and letter of good standing and my Seconder’s forms, receipts and letter of good standing, which are as follows:

1.Adesina Ogunlana’s Bar Practising Fees and Branch Dues paid as and when due for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

2. Letter to Chairman, ECNBA by Adesina Ogunlana, Prospective Candidate for Office of NBA President dated 29/5/2020 with the following attachments:
i. E-mail by Adesina Ogunlana to Dele Oloke Esq., Chairman , NBA Ikeja Branch
ii. Whatsapp Messages of Adesina Ogunlana to Dele Oloke Esq., Chairman, NBA Ikeja Branch
iii. Charge Sheet

3. (A)Chairman and Secretary , NBA Ikeja Branch’s letter to Adesina Ogunlana dated 25/5/2020

(B) Letter to Adesina Ogunlana dated 29/5/2020 in reply to Letter of Chairman , NBA Ikeja Branch dated 25/5/2020 with the following attachments:
i. NBA Ikeja Branch Insurance Committee’s Final Reports
ii. Adesina Ogunlana’s Response to NBA Ikeja Branch’s Insurance Committee’s Final Report
iii. Letter of Mr. Adesina Ogunlana to Chairman NBA Ikeja Branch for application for Letter of Good Standing dated 22nd day of May , 2020
iv. Letter of Reminder of Mr. Adesina Ogunlana to Chairman NBA Ikeja Branch for Letter of Good Standing dated 26th May , 2020

It can easily be gleaned from your said letter of 12th June, 2020 to me that your Committee based its decision to disqualify me from the election on the sole basis that a Letter of Good Standing from the Chairman of my Branch was not found in my bundle of Application papers.

However, as you will recall, I had at the earliest opportunity and within time allowed for the submission of Nomination forms (May 29, 2020) , informed and alerted your good office to the STRANGE AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL reason for the absence of the letter in question, to wit that Mr. Dele Oloke, the Chairman of the Ikeja Branch decided not to issue to me a Letter of Good Standing despite that to his notice and knowledge, I am in full compliance with the provisions of the Constitution guiding the issuance of Letters of Good Standing .

I respectfully reproduce the said Paragraph 4 of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended) inter alia :

“4. Good Standing

A member is in good standing and, if he so desires shall be entitled to a certification of that status signed by the Chairman of the Branch if

(1) In addition to this Bar Practising Fees, he has paid his Annual Dues and all other financial obligations to the Branch as and when due for at least the immediate preceding three years, unless he was enrolled or and relocated to the states where the Branch is situate when a shorter period which shall then be the threshold point instead of three years; and
(2) He or she has in the past one year in question participated in at least three or more activities of the Branch, including attendance at Branch meeting or the sponsorship thereof. Provided that one or more of these requirements may be waived upon proof of temporary relocation to a place outside in the state where the Branch is situate and or serious and prolonged illness.”

By Dele Oloke’s letter to me, dated 25th May, 2020 , but received on 28th May, 2020, particularly in paragraph 6, he highlighted the major reason why he would not issue Letter of Good Standing to me, to wit:

“6. At the Monthly Meeting of Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch held at its Secretariat (THE BAR CENTRE) on Monday, 2nd December, 2019 and upon the consideration of the reports of the Insurance Committee of the branch, the following resolution was made:
a. That Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, Mr. Yinka Farounbi, Mrs. Derin Kappo and all persons indicted by the report of the Insurance Committee and to whom monies were traced from the insurance funds of NBA Ikeja Branch , not being an insurance company, should return all such monies within 30 days from the date of the resolution.
b. That till now, you have treated the Branch with disdain and arrogance and have failed to refund the sum of eleven million six hundred and fifty thousand naira (N11, 650,000.00) withdrawn by you from the Branch’s insurance account into your personal account.

In view of the aforesaid reason the Branch is unable to issue a Letter of Good Standing to you and we also urge you to respect the Branch’s resolution mandating you to refund the Branch’s money unlawfully converted to your own use”

Sir, I respectfully ask your Committee, are these reasons good in law, in view of Paragraph 4 of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended) to deny me a Letter of Good Standing?

You will clearly see the strenuous extent I went debunking Oloke’s baseless and malicious allegations in the attachments to the letters I sent over to you, especially to wit, the Report of the Insurance Committee (which never claimed that I converted the Branch funds), My Response to the Report of the Insurance Committee and the Charge Sheet in Charge Number ID/9472C/2019., FGN v. ADESINA OGUNLANA & 2 ORS ( to show that Oloke’s interesting objection is on a “subject matter sub judice before the Courts).

I submit respectfully further as follows:

a. The absence of a Letter of Good Standing for me from my Branch Chairman, in my Application Forms is not due to any fault or negligence on my part as I duly paid all requisite fees (Bar Practising Fees and Branch Dues) as and when due for 2018, 2019 and 2020 and I had attended functions of the Branch more than three times in the past one year.

b. That I duly applied to the office saddled with the responsibility of Letter of
Good Standing within time.

c. The refusal and failure of the Chairman to issue me a Letter of Good Standing was malicious, deliberate and not on account of any failure on my part to comply with Paragraph 4 of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended).

My further submission on this Appeal is that in the circumstances of this case, your Committee would be in the right to hold that Ogunlana Adesina Ademola, my humble self, is entitled to be issued a Letter of Good Standing from the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association and the refusal and failure of the Chairman of the NBA Ikeja Branch to issue me the Letter duly applied for within time and in compliance with constitutional provisions is absolutely reprehensible , grossly oppressive and a brazen and violent breach of the Constitution of the Association and a reckless, malicious abuse of the powers of the Nigerian Bar Association.

In the unlikely event that your Honourable Committee fails to uphold my appeal, I submit as follows that a refusal of this Appeal will only mean as follows:

a. That the Committee has construed the office of Chairman of a Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association as a “CONSENTING AUTHORITY” to and on the eligibility of members of his Branch to contest for National Offices of the Association. It would mean where a Branch Chairman for no just and legal reasons refrain or refuse to issue to a Candidate or Aspirant, Letter of Good Standing or issuing same out of time to affect the eligibility of such a candidate, the Electoral Committee will disqualify such a candidate.

I submit with greatest respect that this cannot be the true and acceptable interpretation of the power and status of the Chairman vis the issuance of Letter of Good Standing. The Constitution, truly makes the Branch Chairman, the ISSUING OFFICE of the Letter of Good Standing but the same Constitution by expressly defining entitlement to receipt of Letter of Good Standing, as shown earlier, has circumscribed the powers of the Chairman in this regard from that of loose subjectivity to that of codified and verifiable objectivity.

In simple terms, the Chairman cannot do as he likes in the matter of issuance of Letters of Good Standing. Irrespective of his sentiments for or against the applicant, the Chairman can only be guided in the exercise of his duty or refrain from same , ONLY by the consideration of the Applicant’s compliance or non-compliance with the directives and stipulates of the Constitution in that regard.

May I humbly stress this point. By the constitutional provisions regarding the issuance of Letter of Good Standing by the Chairman of a Branch, it is a right of the Applicant to apply for and receive a Letter of Good Standing, where he is in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015(as amended). Consequently, the Chairman has a COMPELLING DUTY on him to issue the letter, where there is compliance. He,(the Chairman), therefore, is not dispensing or conferring a PRIVILEDGE on the Applicant. In effect, the Chairman issues the Letter of Good Standing not because the application meets with his PERSONAL APPROVAL but rather because it is in CONFORMITY with the provisions of the Constitution.

(b)Should the Honourable Committee disqualify me on account of my nomination packet not having a Letter of Good Standing from my Branch Chairman, irrespective of the fact that same was untowardly, wrongfully, maliciously and unconstitutionally denied by the Chairman despite due, timely application and compliance, it would mean that the Electoral Committee has construed the situation as a STRICT LIABILITY CASE. Such a stance in my humble view cannot in any way, legally and morally, even spiritually be upheld as proper and just. This is because not only is such a stance punishing the innocent for the unfair and oppressive act of another but also APPROVING AND LEGALIZING SAME. In the event such a stance has conferred tyrannical powers not ascribed to Branch Chairmen by the Constitution and turning them to Frankenstein monsters. This certainly cannot be the intendment of the Constitution.

CONCLUSION AND PRAYER
As I have asserted in my letter of May 29, 2020 to you, Sir, Dele Oloke Esq is well known as a bitter political rival of mine since 2016 in the NBA Ikeja Branch. He was the factional leader of the Branch between 2016 and 2017 when he was thrown up unsuccessfully to replace me as Chairman after the national body of the Association on June 16, 2016 purported to nullify my June 14, 2016 electoral victory as the bonafide Chairman.

I had to go to Court against him and the National body to contain the situation. Kindly find attached a Copy of the Ruling of the Honourable Justice M.A. Lawal of the Lagos High Court granting an order of injunction against the Defendants (Dele Oloke inclusive) in Suit Number LD/1141GCM/2016.

The factional leadership crisis at the Ikeja Bar ended in May 2017 when he declined at the last minute to participate in a fresh election ordered between the two of us for the disputed position of Chairman.

The bitter rivalry resurfaced at the last month of my tenure when I disagreed with the desire of Oloke and his group to hand over the office of Chairman to him automatically without an election. I insisted on the election as the only acceptable means to attaining position in the Branch, much to the discomfiture of Oloke and his supporters, who believe he could not win in any election organised by my administration. The election held and ironically, he won.

Dele Oloke saw his emergence as Branch Chairman as a great opportunity to deal with me and anyone associated with me and he applied his energies strenuously to this his GRAND PROJECT. The refusal to issue me a Letter of Good Standing is just the latest of his reprisal schemes and attacks against my interest.

I conclude with a sober and passionate prayer to your Committee to take a deep and insightful assessment of the claims and merits of my Appeal and grant same.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

OGUNLANA ADESINA ADEMOLA

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

‘WHY I DID NOT APPEAL MY DISQUALIFICATION BY ECNBA,’ – ASPIRANT

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

One of the aspirants for the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Elections has told CITY LAWYER that he did not contest his disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) for “personal reasons.”

According to Mr. Echika Ejido, immediate past Provost of the factional NBA Abuja Branch, though he filed to contest for the post of Assistant Publicity Secretary, he did not appeal the decision of the electoral committee which cut short his political ambition.

The ECNBA had granted “provisional clearance” to 24 aspirants while disqualifying 19 others. The disqualified aspirants had till 4 pm yesterday to appeal the ECNBA decisions.

He is perhaps the second aspirant that has resigned himself to fate, even as Nigerian Bar Association, NBA Katsina Branch, Mr. Abdulgaffar Alhaji Ahmed may have also decided to tow the same line.

In an interview with CITY LAWYER, Ejido said: “I submitted form for the post of Assistant Publicity Secretary. I was disqualified on the basis that the two years at Branch EXCO is counted in days, and nominations closed on 29th May, 2020 while my two years tenure as Branch EXCO member ended 2 weeks later on June 11. So, I don’t have the required two years branch EXCO qualifying requirement.”

Arguing that his disqualification “is contestable,” Ejido said: “I won’t challenge my disqualification. I have decided not to contest same for personal reasons.”

Quite popular especially in Abuja Bar circles, Ejido sensationally left the Ezenwa Anumnu-led faction of the branch to pitch tent with the rival Abimbola Kayode faction.

Ahmed had also indicated he may have resigned himself to fate, following his disqualification. An aspirant to the post of Second Vice President, Ahmed had while reacting to his disqualification by the ECNBA said: “I thank all my supporters near and far. Thank you so much for being here. This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked for, and I’m sorry we did not make it to the election race for the values we share and the vision we hold for our beloved bar.”

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

WHAT ADESINA, AJIBADE, AKPATA, OGUNLANA, OTHERS ARE SAYING ON ECNBA CLEARANCE, DISQUALIFICATION

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Many aspirants have been reacting on their clearance or disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) for the forthcoming NBA National Elections. Among those who appreciated ECNBA for their clearance are Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Olumide Akpata. While Sources close to Mr. Dele Adesina SAN told CITY LAWYER that he did not issue any statement on the matter, a group of supporters under umbrella of “Team DASAN” said his clearance was received “with joy and put us all in joyful mood.” The group added: “While congratulating our candidate and ourselves, we must be reminded that the work has just begun. We must all strive towards ensuring the realisation of DASAN’s Presidency in order to secure the future of the Bar.”

Aspirants who were disqualified from the race also reacted to the ECNBA decisions, with former NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana leading the pack of aspirants who have vowed to challenge their disqualification.

Below is a compilation of aspirants’ reactions by CITY LAWYER:

DR. BABATUNDE AJIBADE, SAN
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I give thanks to God that the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association has granted me provisional clearance to contest for the office of President of the NBA.
By this, we have scaled the first official hurdle in this race to reposition and strengthen the Nigerian legal profession.
I could not have done this without the spiritual, moral and physical support of each and everyone of you and I am truly grateful for your support thus far.
This is just a first hurdle though and there is still a long journey ahead before we reach the promised land. I look forward to your continued support and a doubling of our efforts as we make this final push to build a better Bar.
Let’s all remember that while I can do little alone, we can do much more together.
Let’s unite and do better.

OLUMIDE AKPATA
WE MUST KEEP MOVING FOR A BETTER BAR
My friends,
I am pleased to report that last night, the ECNBA cleared me to contest the 2020 NBA Presidential elections. My team and I are delighted to have crossed this milestone in my quest to lead the Bar to an enviable future.
I can only say that the future we seek for the NBA is much closer than we think, and I must thank everyone who has supported so far. Still, we must continue to move until we get to the finish line. We must be propelled by our desire transform the NBA into an Association in which we all find a sense of belonging and from which we all grow and benefit as lawyers and also set standards for the future.
My drive to see a better NBA did not start today, so there is no backing down from this cause. This is why I urge supporters of my candidacy everywhere to continue to advocate actively for a transformed NBA and to exercise their franchise when the time is right. Let us give our members hope again and give the society reasons to believe in us.
As always, I remain grateful for your support.
Thank you.

ADESINA OGUNLANA
DO NOT BE DISMAYED …..WE SHALL OVERCOME
BEING THE PRELIMINARY RESPONSE OF OGUNLANA ADESINA , ESQ (CHAIRMAN, NBA IKEJA BRANCH 2016-2018)TO THE NOTICE OF LETTER DISQUALFYING HIM FROM CONTESTING FOR THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION ( NBA)

Dear Colleagues, Friends and Supporters ,
Good morning, All. May I respectfully inform that I have this day , -3 June 2020, at about 6 10 am, become aware of a mail from the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association ( ECNBA) stating my disqualification from participating in the election for the office of the President of our great Association .

The ECNBA gave a singular reason – absence of LETTER OF GOOD STANDING(LOGS) from my Branch Chairman . ECNBA also stated my right to appeal their verdict within 7 days of receipt of their mail. We thank ECNBA
May I further state that I shall APPEAL the verdict . Let me assure every one that my dues for 2018, 2019 and 2020 were duly and fully paid as at when due as stipulated in the Constitution of the Association and which automatically thus entitles me to the LOGS.

The absence of the LOGS was not due to any fault of mine but to the malicious act of the incumbent but now out going BRANCH CHAIRMAN of the NBA IKEJA BRANCH, Dele Oloke , Esq . Of course , the poisoned antecedents of Oloke as a factional leader of the IKEJA BAR and who eventually lost out to me in the extremely intense intra-Bar leadership struggle of 2016-2017 is well known .

Clearly , the issue for determination is- CAN A BRANCH CHAIRMAN DECLINE TO ISSUE A LETTER OF GOOD STANDING TO AN APPLICANT , WHERE APPLICANT TO THE NOTICE OF THE CHAIRMAN, HAS COMPLIED WITH THE PROVISIONS AND STIPULATES OF THE CONSTITUION IN THAT REGARD ?

May I use this medium to appeal to all our supporters not to be dismayed but to remain not only calm but cheerful . Always trusting in the Faithfulness and Mercies of God and the consistently triumphant forces of GOOD over EVIL I declare to you today , WE SHALL OVERCOME .

THANK YOU

ALEXANDER NDUKA MUOKA
Good morning learned Seniors and Colleagues.
I have been provisionally cleared by the ECNBA to contest for the office of General Secretary of the NBA in the elections next month.
Let’s make this happen together, and thank you for your support.

JOYCE ODUAH
My Distinguished colleagues and teeming supporters* , it gives me great delight to announce to you that yesterday, Friday, 12th June 2020, *the Nigerian Bar Association Electoral Committee (“ECNBA”) provisionally cleared me to contest for the Office of the General Secretary of the NBA in the 2020 NBA General Elections,* which is scheduled to hold from 24-25 July 2020. Indeed, this is a step forward in our mission to transform the NBA National Secretariat. I thank you all for your continued support and urge us not to relent in our mission to make the NBA National Secretariat more responsive, effective and efficient for all lawyers.

BARTH OKOYE ANICHE
I am excited to bring it to your knowledge that I made the Provisional Clearance List of the Nigerian Bar Association for her forthcoming 2020 National Elections.

The list which has me shortlisted as ‘Okoye, Nnaemeka Bath’, alongside four other persons for the position of the General Secretary, was announced on Friday 12th June, 2020 with a press statement signed by Tawo E. Tawo, SAN (Chairman ECNBA), and Mrs Cordelia U. Eke (Secretary, ECNBA). It also declared the disqualification of 19 of the 43 nominees. “Disqualified persons have been duly notified of the decision of the electoral officers and their right to Appeal.”

OKEY LEO OHAGBA
Distinguished Bar leaders, learned friends and supporters of my aspiration to serve the Bar, with great joy and glory to God Almighty, I bring you good news that the ECNBA has found yours truly fit and proper to contest for the office of NBA GENERAL SECRETARY in forthcoming NBA General Elections, scheduled for 24th/25th July this year.

This feat was possible with your support and prayers. Our vision for #InnovativeSecretariat #InnovativeBar just gained momentum, and I’m very upbeat we shall actualise that dream at the end, with your continuing support and by the special GRACE of God.

Our beautiful plans for the Bar would be unveiled as soon as ECNBA guidelines permit.

Please continue keeping faith with us as we focus now on the greater task ahead, and hope to work more closely with you this time. Together, we can build a more progressive, responsive and innovative Secretariat; more friendly and closer to all members.

The journey has been God’s and will remain God’s till the end.

THANK YOU

KUNLE EDUN
Distinguished Colleagues, i am pleased to inform you that the ECNBA has cleared me to run for the office of the National Welfare Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association. This could not have been possible without your support and prayers, and most importantly because you all believe in my aspiration. We return all the glory to God Almighty.

My clearance by the ECNBA is a call for greater service to the NBA and humanity. It is a further opportunity to replicate what we have done as the NBA Publicity Team (Kunle Edun & Habeeb Lawal) in addressing the welfare needs of our Colleagues.

With your continued support and prayers, the NBA will experience innovations, proactiveness and dilligence in attending to the critical welfare needs of our colleagues. Never again would a Lawyer beg for funds to undergo any life-saving Surgery. We must make OUR NBA take responsibility for our Welfare.

I wish to use this opportunity to thank my very good friend J.E. Usman , the current National Welfare Secretary for the fantastic work he has done so far. I know the many challenges he has had to confront in responding to the needs of Colleagues. I look forward to his guidance and advice in ensuring that we continue to make the welfare of Lawyers a core responsibility of the NBA. I also thank my co- National Officers, particularly my very good friend, Chinyere Obasi. We would continue to work as a Team.

My distinguished Colleagues and true advocates for positive change, the Election is few weeks away. I request that you spread the gospel of Kunle Edun to all Lawyers and groups. It is a gospel for better welfare for members. Let the final victory be for the Nigerian Lawyers.

Thank You.

S. O. K. SHILLINGS
Distinguished colleagues, I have read and been inundated with reports of the release of names of contestants for the coming election wherein my name is missing.
I understand that those who are disqualified have been notified of the fact and grounds of their disqualifications.
I have not received such notification. It is therefore clear that the omission must be due to inadvertence. We have therefore informed the ECNBA of this development and the need for it to do the needful.
I urge us to keep calm and follow up on our steady agenda leading to the final bend, sprint-start lapse.
I thank you immensely for the huge solidarity.

ADEDOTUN ADETUNJI
To all my teeming fans and supporters who have been calling and sending me messages from North, East, South and West since the news of my so called disqualification broke, I thank you very much and I dare say that this is the handwork of Shaitan but he won’t succeed. I believe this happened for a very very positive reason. The reason given for my disqualification is that my seconder did not have sufficient duration of NEC membership meanwhile he has been Nec member since 2004 till date (unbroken). What an irony. He has been secretary of a branch as Nec member 2004-2006, Chairman of a branch as Nec member 2014-2016 and the current elected Nec rep 2018-2020. He was coopted as Nec rep by the Presidency of Olisa Agbakoba San 2006- 2008, Rotimi Akeredolu San 2008-2010, J.B. Daudu San 2010-2012, Okey Wali San 2012-2014 and A.B. Mahmoud San 2016- 2018. *He has been a Nec member for 16 years unbroken period meanwhile, the constitutional requirement is to be in Nec for not less than two (2) years.*
We are surely going to appeal vehemently. We have a window of 7 days to do that but the action starts now. I thank you all for your support. Please keep the flag flying. No cause for alarm.

OLAYINKA SOKOYA
Good morning learned seniors and friends, I have read the list as sent by ECNBA and shockingly discovered that my name was missing in the list of cleared Aspirants. I equally received a letter of from Ecnba stating the reason for my disqualification subject however to appeal. The ground as stated in the said letter which was sent to my email, is that there was insufficient duration of my seconder as a NEC member. Immediately I saw this I was relieved due to the fact that this ground of disqualification cannot hold with respect to Ecnba. I am aware that my Seconder was the chairman of Osogbo branch between 2017-2019 during which he was a NEC member. My Seconder is equally the current NEC rep of his branch. Consequently I will sporadically appeal the disqualification on this ground. I thank you all for standing by me and for your unfiltered love for me. Let’s us be rest assured that our appeal by the grace of God will succeed. God bless you all.

SABASTINE ANYIA
SINCERE GRATITUDE TO COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS FOR STANDING BY ME
I thank God and you all my dear friends and colleagues for standing by me through your prayers, calls and texts
Let’s be reminded that this is just the first hurdle, we have to work harder to achieve the goal. I urge you to remain committed to this project, it’ll be our victory.
God bless us all.

MERCY IJATO AGADA
It is with gratitude to the Most High that I’ve been cleared to contest by the ECNBA for the position of the NBA National Treasurer come 24/25 July 2020.
I want to use this medium to thank all my supporters for their supports and consistencies all these while.
I want to immensely thank all my supporters for their calls and congratulatory messages and I need your continuous support until we reach the finish line.
Thank you.

CAROLINE IBHARUNEAFE
Dear learned silks, colleagues and friends of my aspiration. I got the news of my disqualification from the NBA election by the screening committee in the midnight . I wish to announce to you all that I will be appealing that verdict as we have Seven days to do so. Please do not despair but remain focused as I rely on God to upturn that judgement. I encourage you all to continue with the publicity as all efforts are at top gear to correct the anormalies
I remain yours

ADEBAYO AKINLADE
Good morning everyone….I have just been cleared to contest for the position of 1st Vice President of the NBA…. I continue to crave the support of everyone here to reach out to your respective Branches and others on my behalf for the realization of our collective vision.

CHARLES AJIBOYE
Revered Seniors and Treasured Friends,
I thank you for the deep show of love I have felt by the tremendous number of calls, text messages and chats I have received since midnight over the absence of my name for the ECNBA Provisional List Of Candidates for NBA Elections 2020.
You will recall that I obtained and duly submitted nomination forms with accompanying documents for the office of *National Assistant Publicity Secretary*.
That you noticed the omission of my name from the list means to me that you care. I feel so honored and humbled by this. I am more encouraged to throw myself to serve the association we all love, and need to shine so brightly.
I was initially not contacted by the committee. They have since apologized for the slip in the typing of my e-mail address, and have duly reached me this morning on the reason for my disqualification viz:
*”Insufficient duration of your seconder’s membership of the branch executive committee as at close of nominations*”
The good news is that my seconder is a very senior member of Bar, and a two-term(4years) member of the executive committee of the NBA Ikeja Branch. So all we need to do is to utilize the opportunity of Appeal to make this clarifications to the ECNBA.
Nothing has changed please. Lets keep the ball rolling. It’s all about #anewnarrative
You know Charles Cares
You know Charles can assist
Be reminded…Charles is still in

NNAMDI RAPHAEL ANAGOR
Revered Colleagues,
I was cleared by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) to contest for the office of the National Financial Secretary of our great Association.
Dearest Colleagues I appreciate your steadfastness and support. You all made this crucial victory at the start a reality.
Learned Colleagues your support and prayers were fruitful. I appreciate them.
This is just the first step in the process. I urge you not to relent until this dream becomes a reality.
Once again I thank you all.

AKOREDE HABEEB LAWAL
Dear learned seniors and friends,
The ECNBA has been kind to promptly inform me of the reasons for my disqualification for the office of National Publicity Secretary in the forthcoming bar elections. I trust the process and I believe in its fairness.
It’s easy to have a rush of emotions about this thing, but I’ll simply take my time to do the needful.
By the way, I’ve still got a job to do in my present role as Assistant National Publicity Secretary of our NBA. And I wish to continue in my role without distraction and with the right and desirable attitude.
I thank you all for your genuine concerns, and I urge you not to lose sight of the ultimate goal.

CHINYERE OBASI
Good morning my dear learned Seniors, colleagues and friends I received with shock a mail from the ECNBA stating reason my name is not on the provisional cleared list along side other names.
The mail also indicated that I have within 7 days to appeal.
ECNBA singular reason for not clearing me is that at the point of nomination, that my NEC Membership is less than 2years.
I will appeal because by virtue of my position as a National officer for two years I should be deemed to be seen as a NEC member for two years.
So I will implore everyone to keep calm until I go through the process of appeal within the stipulated time frame of 7 days.
Thank you for all your support, encouragement and prayers.
I really appreciate
all those that have called to show concerns, I owe you all this explanations and I appreciate you all for the immense support and show of love.
Thank you and thank you.

DR. RAPULU ERNEST NDUKA
Dearest Colleagues.
Yesterday the Electoral Committee cleared me for contest for the office of the Publicity Secretary of our noble Association.
This clearance the first step and very crucial in my bid to serve you is down to your support and prayers.
I could not have gotten this far without your prayers, support and counsel.
This is the first step. It is not yet uhuru. We should not relent till we get to the end of the race.
Once again I say a big thank you!

DR. GERALD ABONYI
Having received information on from ECNBA on the lack of information on my Nominator and Seconder, I am taking necessary steps to rectify same. There is no room for retreat. Thanks for believing in me. Keep the faith.

UCHENNA NWADIALO
Good evening colleagues!
To God be the glory, I have been provisionally cleared by ECNBA to contest for the office of ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY of our great association in the forthcoming NBA NATIONAL elections.
Thank you all for your support.

ANNE AGI
Good afternoon dear colleagues. I am happy to inform you that I have been cleared by the ECNBA to contest for the office of *Assistant Secretary* in the NBA National Elections which comes up next month (July 2020).
Thank you so very much for your support all along and your congratulatory messages. I am honoured and very grateful.
Having been cleared, I need your help to scale through. I respectfully appeal for your support. Please spread the word for me in all your branches. It is with your help that I succeed.
Thank you.

AHMED ALHAJI
Disqualification not the End, I Take It in Good Faith
” _I thank all my supporters near and far. Thank you so much for being here. This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked for, and I’m sorry we did not make it to the election race for the values we share and the vision we hold for our beloved bar.”

OSAGIE OAIKHENA
I am most grateful to God Almighty , for the privilege to be cleared to contest the office of Assistant Secretary of the Bar, and the Chairman of my home branch, Prince C. B Ogiegbean Esq . I thank my nominator, the erudite bencher, Razak Isenalumhe Esquire, my seconder, Mr. Ebosele Okifo, and leaders including Solomon Odiase Esq, Olawyiwola Afolabi Esq, as well as those who have believe in me… I promise not to dissapoint you all, God bless the Nigerian Bar, and may the Bar never be an undergrowth.

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

OGUNLANA VOWS TO CHALLENGE ECNBA DISQUALIFICATION

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr Adesina Ogunlana has vowed to challenge his disqualification to participate in the forthcoming presidential election of the association. The Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had listed Ogunlana among those disqualified from the race. It gave no reasons.

However, Ogunlana in a “preliminary response” posted on his verified Facebook channel and cited by CITY LAWYER gave absence of Letter of Good Standing as the reason for his disqualification. He blamed outgoing NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Dele Oloke for his travails, warning that he would fight the disqualification.

The full text of his response reads:

DO NOT BE DISMAYED …..WE SHALL OVERCOME
BEING THE PRELIMINARY RESPONSE OF OGUNLANA ADESINA , ESQ (CHAIRMAN, NBA IKEJA BRANCH 2016-2018)TO THE NOTICE OF LETTER DISQUALFYING HIM FROM CONTESTING FOR THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION ( NBA)

Dear Colleagues, Friends and Supporters ,
Good morning, All. May I respectfully inform that I have this day , -3 June 2020, at about 6 10 am, become aware of a mail from the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association ( ECNBA) stating my disqualification from participating in the election for the office of the President of our great Association .

The ECNBA gave a singular reason – absence of LETTER OF GOOD STANDING(LOGS) from my Branch Chairman . ECNBA also stated my right to appeal their verdict within 7 days of receipt of their mail. We thank ECNBA
May I further state that I shall APPEAL the verdict . Let me assure every one that my dues for 2018, 2019 and 2020 were duly and fully paid as at when due as stipulated in the Constitution of the Association and which automatically thus entitles me to the LOGS.

The absence of the LOGS was not due to any fault of mine but to the malicious act of the incumbent but now out going BRANCH CHAIRMAN of the NBA IKEJA BRANCH, Dele Oloke , Esq . Of course , the poisoned antecedents of Oloke as a factional leader of the IKEJA BAR and who eventually lost out to me in the extremely intense intra-Bar leadership struggle of 2016-2017 is well known .

Clearly , the issue for determination is- CAN A BRANCH CHAIRMAN DECLINE TO ISSUE A LETTER OF GOOD STANDING TO AN APPLICANT , WHERE APPLICANT TO THE NOTICE OF THE CHAIRMAN, HAS COMPLIED WITH THE PROVISIONS AND STIPULATES OF THE CONSTITUION (sic) IN THAT REGARD ?

May I use this medium to appeal to all our supporters not to be dismayed but to remain not only calm but cheerful . Always trusting in the Faithfulness and Mercies of God and the consistently triumphant forces of GOOD over EVIL I declare to you today , WE SHALL OVERCOME .

THANK YOU
OGUNLANA ADESINA ,ADEMOLA ESQ
13 JUNE 2020

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NBA ELECTIONS: OGUNLANA, AKOREDE, OBASI, SHILLINGS AMONG BIG CASUALTIES

• SEE FULL DETAILS OF OTHER DISQUALIFIED ASPIRANTS

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) early today released a list of aspirants who have been provisionally cleared to contest the 2020 NBA National Officers Elections. In a statement posted on the verified NBA official website and signed by Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN and Cordelia Eke, the ECNBA Chairman and Secretary respectively, the committee stated that it received nominations from 43 aspirants for various offices.

The ECNBA noted in the statement dated June 12, 2020 that “At the close of the screening of nominations by a sub-committee of Electoral officers of the ECNBA in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended) and the Guidelines for the elections made pursuant thereto, twenty-four (24) Aspirants were granted provisional clearance to contest the elections, while nineteen (19) Aspirants were disqualified for various reasons.”

Though the committee did not state the reasons for the disqualifications nor the names of disqualified aspirants, it added that “The disqualified Aspirants have been duly notified of the decision of the electoral officers and their right of Appeal.” The ECNBA also stated that “Any information or objection relevant to the final decision on the eligibility status of the candidates, with supporting documents (where necessary) should reach the ECNBA via email to ecnba2020@gmail.com not later than 4.00PM on the 17th day of June, 2020.”

CITY LAWYER investigations however show that several Bar heavyweights including two incumbent National Officers fell under the ECNBA hammer. Meanwhile, at least three aspirants may coast to victory without firing a shot, no thanks to the disqualification of their opponents. The aspirants that may be returned unopposed include those for the posts of Treasurer, Publicity Secretary and Financial Secretary.

Among those who were hit by the screening exercise is fiery presidential aspirant and former NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana. While his three other competitors were cleared, Ogunlana’s name was conspicuously missing from the list of cleared aspirants.

Another big casualty is incumbent Second Assistant Secretary Chinyere Obasi, who was gunning for the post of Welfare Secretary. Her disqualification, if sustained, may brighten the chances for incumbent Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun and returnee aspirant, Sabastine Anyia who contested for the position at the last elections. There are indications that another aspirant for the post, Osehon Irehovbude may have also been disqualified.

Also caught in the web of the disqualification exercise is incumbent Assistant Publicity Secretary, Mr. Akorede Habeeb Lawal who was aspiring for the substantive post of Publicity Secretary. The same fate was suffered by Olayinka Sokoya, thus leaving Dr. Rapulu Ernest Nduka as the solitary aspirant for the position.

CITY LAWYER investigations show that the influential and often heatedly contested position of Treasurer may also be clinched without a fight by returnee aspirant, Mercy Ijato Agada following the disqualification of staunch NBA Ikeja Branch bar-woman, Caroline Ibharuneafe. The same is true of the post of Financial Secretary where only Raphael Anagor has been given the all-clear to head for the polls.

Also affected by the wave of disqualifications is prominent Bar-man and Ikorodu Branch power-broker, Mr. S. O. K. Shillings. He was gunning for the post of First Vice President. Another big casualty from the branch is its former Chairman, Mr. Adedotun Habeeb Adetunji who was also vying for the same position.

Meanwhile, the NBA may be bereft of a Third Vice President, as the two aspirants who may have filed their nominations for the position fell under the NBA hammer. They include Messrs Gerald Abonyi and Promise Wobo Iwezor.

The position of Assistant Secretary is likely to be keenly contested, as all three aspirants were given the green light by the ECNBA. They include returnee aspirant Anne Agi, former NBA Lagos Branch Social Secretary, Uche Nwadialo and Osagie Oaikhena of Benin Branch.

It was also a gale of disqualifications among the rank of aspirants for the post of Assistant Publicity Secretary, as three of no less than five aspirants kissed the dust. These include Messrs Henry Chibuike Ugwu of Ihiala Branch, Oladotun Hassan of Epe Branch and Charles Ajiboye of Ikeja Branch.

Meanwhile, three of the presidential aspirants have been cleared to contest for the coveted post, including Mr. Dele Adesina SAN, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Olumide Akpata. All the aspirants for the position of General Secretary were also given the green light to head into the elections. They include Alex Muoka, Joyce Oduah, Okey Ohagba, Nnaemeka Bath Aniche and Christopher Yakemewerigha.

CITY LAWYER investigations show that many of the disqualified aspirants will contest the ECNBA decisions by filing appeals against their disqualification.

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ELECTIONS: ‘NBA OFFERED US READY-MADE VOTING PORTAL,’ SAYS TAWO TAWO

• CONFIRMS CITY LAWYER REPORT
• SAYS FATE OF PORTAL UNCERTAIN
• VOWS THAT ECNBA IS ‘TOTALLY INDEPENDENT’

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has admitted that it was handed over a ready-made election portal for the forthcoming National Elections by the Mr. Paul Usoro SAN-led bar association. This confirms CITY LAWYER exclusive report which hinted that the ECNBA may have been preparing for the elections on the basis of the election portal bequeathed to it by the NBA leadership.

CITY LAWYER had in a recent report stated that “It was unclear at press time whether the vendor’s scope of work included a mandate to deliver an election portal for the forthcoming NBA Elections, given the notice issued by the ECNBA seeking proposals to recruit an ‘Information Technology Specialist.’ Among the work to be done by the IT Specialist/ECNBA Partner is, ‘Analyzing the new NBA Election portal system and infrastructure.’ The successful vendor is also required to train NBA staff ‘to use the new IT system.’ ”

Putting the issue beyond speculation, the ECNBA in a statement personally signed by its Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN said: “The Committee was briefed that the NBA has its own e-voting platform/portal for elections developed by TAVIA, an IT firm. TAVIA was invited to brief the Committee in conjunction with the NBA IT Officer Umar Gezawa, on the said NBA election platform/portal.”

He emphasized the critical role of the election portal, saying “the success of the elections would depend to a large extent on the electronic or IT platform that would be deployed for the election.” He added that “The need to procure such a platform has been a priority.”

Giving more insights into the “briefing” received from the NBA leadership on the election portal, the ECNBA Chairman said: “Further to the said briefing, the ECNBA decided that in spite of the advantages of such a portal, exploring the use of other viable e-voting platforms if necessary is not foreclosed. As such there was the need to engage an independent IT Consultant that would examine the NBA portal and critique same, its integrity, functionality and suitability or otherwise for the purpose of the elections as well as advise on other options.”

Highlighting additional roles of the consultant, the ECNBA Chairman said: “The Consultant would also be required to identify avenues for possible threats, and advise on how to contain same. Other issues to be addressed include the training of staff and all those associated with handling any part of the e-voting process by the consultant. They would be expected to verify electronically, the votes cast at the end of the exercise.”

Hinting on the fate of the election portal delivered by the NBA, Tawo who is said to be a born-again Christian noted: “Notwithstanding the above, the platform or portal to deploy for the election by the ECNBA would largely be dependent on the advice and report of the IT Consultant.” The ECNBA is currently sifting through applications received from its advertised request for expression of interest to pick its preferred IT consultant.

While the ECNBA Chairman did not state when the committee received the “briefing” from the NBA leadership, there are strong indications that this must have been before April 4, 2020 when the committee issued a “REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP): IT CONSULTANCY” which gave the scope of work of the IT Consultant to include “Analyzing the new NBA Election portal system and infrastructure.” CITY LAWYER recalls that the ECNBA was appointed by NBA-NEC on March 12, 2020.

At least three National officers who spoke to CITY LAWYER recently vowed that they were in the dark on the NBA website contract, adding that it was never discussed at any of their meetings. They also pleaded ignorance on the identity of the vendor or scope of work contained in the contract. The NBA did not respond to CITY LAWYER enquiries on the subject.

CITY LAWYER investigation however showed that Usoro informed NBA-NEC during its March 2019 meeting of his plan to “revamp” the verified NBA website to enhance its “functional uses.” He had stated that the websites for the Annual General Conference and NBA sections would be hosted on or linked to the NBA website while online payments and online platform for ordering stamps would be incorporated. However, the address was silent on the incorporation of a voting platform on the portal.

Though there are concerns among some stakeholders on the role of NBA staff in managing the elections, the ECNBA may have decided to give substantial roles to the staff. In its latest statement, the committee said: “Other issues to be addressed include the training of staff and all those associated with handling any part of the e-voting process by the consultant.” This aligns with item “f” of the “Scope of work” set out in the request for proposal which lists “Training staff to use the new IT system” as one of the deliverables of the IT Consultant.

While urging all stakeholders to shun “any activity that would be subversive and counter-productive to this exercise,” the committee however assured that it is “totally independent,” adding that “Mr. Paul Usoro SAN and his elected executive have given the ECNBA the needed liberty to do what is just and proper for the benefit of the profession in Nigeria. All candidates for the 2020 Elections shall be treated equally.”

The committee had published a Preliminary Notice of Elections as well as Election Guidelines in the run-up to the elections. Following its Call for Proposals from IT consultants, the ECNBA in its latest statement noted that it was “disheartening” for branches to shun the request to provide the data of eligible voters as requested by the NBA secretariat, warning that this may disenfranchise branch members. It however noted that it is in the process of compiling the Interim Voters Register as well as screening of IT proposals and interviewing of IT consultancy firms.

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