NBA PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS WOO IGBO LAWYERS

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential aspirants stormed the meeting of Igbo lawyers yesterday to felicitate with the members and express their intention to vie for the presidency of the Bar. Also present at the meeting were some aspirants for the post of General Secretary.

Among the presidential aspirants who attended the virtual monthly meeting of Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society) are Mr. Dele Adesina SAN, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Olu Akpata.

The first to be admitted into the meeting was Adesina. He thanked the leadership of the law society for the opportunity. Turning to judicial corruption, he noted that it is condemnable, adding however that only a negligible number of judges engage in such misfeasance. He stated that the entire judiciary should not be tarred with the brush of its few bad eggs. Emphasizing the need to empower young lawyers, Adesina stated that he would unveil his roadmap in this regard when the ban on campaigns is lifted by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA).

The next available aspirant, Akpata told the Otu members that welfare is critical for every lawyer, adding that he would also place premium on health insurance. Harping on his track record as Chairman of NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Akpata stated that he “came with credentials.” He stated that aside from disciplining of lawyers, he would foster the administration of justice while ensuring that every lawyer who has a brush with law enforcement agencies is offered legal defence.

On his part, Ajibade expressed worry at the divisions within NBA circles. He vowed to cement the cracks as well as “get the justice sector working again.” Noting that young lawyers should be the focus of NBA, Ajibade said that he has the unique privilege of combining the skills and practical knowledge of a solicitor and advocate, having been engaged in both transactional and litigation practice at relatively high levels.

Coming on the heels of engaging interactions between the members and the aspirants, Chief Chuks Ikokwu, President of Otu Oka Iwu, thanked the aspirants for finding it worthy to felicitate with the law society, and wished them well in their aspiration to lead Africa’s largest Bar.

Among the aspirants for the post of General Secretary who also attended the virtual meeting are Mr. Alex Muoka and Mrs. Joyce Oduah, both members of the law society.

The NBA National Elections is scheduled to hold on July 24 and 25, 2020 through electronic voting.

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Guy Ikokwu Wants NBA Election Cancelled

Veteran politician and senior lawyer, Chief Guy Ikokwu has called for the cancellation of the controversial Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Election.

In a statement titled “TO BE FOREWARNED IS TO BE FOREARMED,” Ikokwu who has clocked 56 years at the Bar, stated that the election was “fraught with problems which had not been resolved even as at the date of the voting exercise.”

The vocal lawyer urged the Body of Benches to “fashion a more credible system for a new voting exercise for the BAR to regain its honour which is currently being subjected to unnecessary disdain and ignominy.”

Mr. Paul Usoro SAN was declared winner of the election while the defeated presidential candidates, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN and Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN poked holes in the exercise.

The statement reads:

20th August, 2018

TO BE FOREWARNED IS TO BE FOREARMED

We all know and realize that computer systems have always been faulted or manipulated if they are left unchecked. The usual saying in reference to computers is “Garbage in Garbage out”

In the United States today the issue of computer hacking is having monumental effect on the relations between America and Russia. In America itself there is a dysfunctional relationship between the Presidency and the Senate and the House of Representatives (Congress) which has been investigating the issue of hacking of the2016 USA elections by Russian Agents. Even in the United States they have both electronic and manual voting systems. Where there is a dispute, a losing candidate can request a recount of the votes cast manually to have an exact result not subject to further disputation.

The election result of the Premier Branch of Lagos with thousands of accredited lawyers have not been subjected to any dispute in the last 10 years, because of our system of accreditation, verification and voting at the same venue, same date, and same hours with representatives of the contestants and elected experienced supervisors of the exercise.

The system is such that eligible legal voters are not disenfranchised by any system unless the lawyer does not want to vote or is not available in person.

The last NBA election 2 years ago was also fraught with e-voting problems which led to a High Court pending litigation. This current election exercise was also fraught with problems which had not been resolved even as at the date of the voting exercise which is a real shame for the legal profession in Nigeria.

I saw the dangers ahead in this exercise and had to post a warning that the BAR must utilize a system that is full proof no matter who the contestants are. The current failed system has to be challenged effectively so that we can have a credible system which combines electronic and manual accreditation of voting no matter whose ox is gored.

The current National Executive should therefore suspend any further declaration through the current malfunctioning system which may have been systematically hacked for the endorsement of the National Conference holding in Abuja. The body of benchers can be entrusted to fashion a more credible system for a new voting exercise for the BAR to regain its honour which is currently being subjected to unnecessary disdain and ignominy.

The member of lawyers disenfranchised is far greater than the merging of votes between the contestants! It must be cancelled for a proper election machinery to be set up and salvage the reputation of Nigerian lawyers! I am not bordered about who wins but about the probity of the system, its transparency and lack of manipulation and inordinate disenfranchisement.

* Chief Ikokwu, a member of NBA Lagos Branch, was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1962