EXCLUSIVE: US VENDOR TO CONDUCT NBA ELECTIONS, AS COMPLAINTS MAR VOTERS’ LIST

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

  • OJUKWU CALLS NEW VOTERS’ LIST A ‘FRAUD’

  • ‘INTERNATIONAL DIASPORA’ LISTED AS NBA BRANCH

  • OBOLLO AFOR JUMPS FROM 39 TO 662 MEMBERS

  • ECNBA ASSURES VOTERS AGAIN

A United States based electronic voting company will conduct the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

This puts to rest all speculations regarding whether the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) will deploy the controversial NBA Election Portal for the election. The NBA portal is alleged to be fraught with many gaps that can be exploited to rig the election.

CITY LAWYER gathered that though there were pressures on the electoral committee to deploy the NBA Portal, the members opted for a vendor with proven track record in e-voting, emphasizing that their reputations were at stake.

Meanwhile, it is not yet uhuru for the final list of verified voters released today by the electoral committee, as cases of missing names and padding still ravage the latest list. This is notwithstanding that 9, 686 names were purged from the “final list” of 39, 321 eligible voters to bring the current verified figure to 29, 635.

A case in point is Obollo Afor Branch which jumped from a meager 39 members on the previous list to a whopping 662 on the latest list. An amorphous branch called “International Diaspora” has no less than 87 names on the voters’ list, while over 4, 500 names had no branches listed against them.

Commenting on the current crisis, former NBA presidential candidate, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu said: “Nigerian Bar Association 2020 – The Electoral Committee’s final list of accredited voters is a fraud! Names have been included in Branches where such names don’t exist as members. We are ready to vote on a platform of fraud again!!!”

But in its latest statement on the complaints, the ECNBA said: 

On this 29/7/2020, the ECNBA circulated the list of accredited voters for the NBA National Officers election 2020 slated to commence at 11:00PM of Wednesday, 29/7/2020.

Members are assured that the unique identifier of each voter to be able to vote remains the enrollment number which is peculiar to each voter.

The ECNBA received complaints of members being placed in branches other than their own. This situation is regretted, but arose because members in the course of verification did not fully update information on their current branches and or sex and consequently were assigned the default positions (place holder) on the verification platform.

Members are advised to proceed to vote and disregard any such branches and or sex assigned to them as these do not bear on eligibility, convenience or result of the elections.

Members may wish to update their details on the membership portal of the NBA after the elections. In respect of omitted names, please see the ECNBA previous statements, more particularly ECNBA Statement No.018

Remember ballot opens at 11.00pm today, happy voting.

One Odufa itemized some of the issues that bedevil the voters list as follows:
1. Uromi Branch which had 45 eligible voters on the final lost after the verification only 20 names were released out of which only 9 are actual members while the other 11 are unknown Yoruba names.

2. A branch Called “International Diaspora ” has 87 fictitious names. From number 12182 – number 12268 on the just released Verified List.

3. One Mr. Iredia Osifo who didn’t pay his practicing fees or Branch dues found his name on the just released Verified List. See No 5793.

4. Miss. Yat Ulan Amos didn’t pay her branch dues but her name appeared on the Verified List. See Number 3535.
5. The Aba branch had 435 names on the final list but now have over 471 names on the Verified List.

6. Members of the Isiokpo Branch discovered only 48 names of their members were released on the Verified List as against the 84 names that were previously published on the Final voter’s list.

7. Ikorodu Branch which had about 233 names on the previously released voter’s list now has only 132 names. Leaving over 100 members disenfranchised.

8. Sapele branch was formerly 100 names now 70 names out of which 20 are not branch members.

THE HANKY-PANKY OF ECNBA 2020
My attention has been drawn to the last and most recent provisional list of eligible voters published this afternoon by the ECNBA 2020 in preparation for voting which will commence by 11:00pm today. As expected, it behooves on me to check and confirm that my name and that of my colleagues in the Uyo Branch are included.

To my greatest chagrin, my name was not found in the list, and some of my colleagues who also did not find their names have called me to question why their names are omitted when they conspicuously made it to the first and second provisional list earlier published by the ECNBA 2020.

This unfortunate development raises a very serious requisition as to the competence and credibility of the ECNBA 2020 in conducting a free and fair election in the face of abundant malpractices and omissions observed by some members of our Association.

My observations are as follows:

1. Majority of members of Uyo Branch of NBA who were conspicuously listed in the first and second provisional list earlier published, who also ensured they were verified in preparation to participate in the election today, are not found in the third but last provisional list published this afternoon.

2. The names of colleagues and members who did not make it to the first or second provisional list, who as at the 31st day of March, 2020, did not pay their BPF and Branch dues, talk more of being verified, are rather miraculously included in the third but last provisional list published this afternoon.

3. As the Assistant Secretary of Uyo Branch of NBA who has knowledge of members of the Branch, it is also very shocking that some of the names allotted by the ECNBA to form the list of eligible voters from Uyo Branch are strange and unknown to our secretariat.

4. Finally, the names and branches of eligible voters in the first and second provisional list earlier published by the ECNBA were arranged alphabetically for easy readability and identification of members, compared to the third but last provisional list published this afternoon, wherein names are scattered randomly with no orderly compilation, and thousands of other names are just mentioned on the list without alloting them to their various registered Branches for easy identification and confirmation.

In the face of these unfortunate and worrisome observations, more so in consideration of voting which will commence by 11:00pm today, one will ponder on the kind of hanky-panky the ECNBA 2020 is displaying. It is unfortunate that the would be eligible voters have been disenfranchised and non-eligible and strange names have been enfranchised to vote today starting from 11:00pm.

My confidence in the ECNBA 2020 is bleak.

Udeme Rivers
Assistant Secretary
NBA, Uyo

Which one is “international diaspora “. I thought to be eligible to vote, a person must belong to a Bar Branch in Nigeria.

IMPORTANT NOTICE!!!

Dear All,

The ECNBA has just released a list of Accredited Voters of 29,635 names, which is attached below for ease of reference.

Kindly go through the list and ascertain that you name is contained therein. If your name had previously been on the Fnal Voters List as released by the ECNBA and now omitted from this newly released one, kindly send me an email urgently at: nbalagoschairman@gmail.com.

Please note that by the newly released statement from the ECNBA, campaigns are hereby suspended forthwith. Therefore, all members are urged not further post any campaign material on the platforms.

Kind regards
Yemi Akangbe
Chairman, NBA Lagos.

U. Emiri

This list is riddled with errors, most oleh branch lawyers are listed under ughelli branch. This is so disheartening, that ECNBA is not able to get it right this time again.

Caleb Adebayo

Just like we suspected, the ECNBA has repeatedly revealed its incompetence. And to think they kept acting like they had everything under control. So many errors in the list!

Good evening, Tawo Tawo (SAN), Chairman, ECNBA.

I am Samuel Chukwuemeka Odoh Esq, chairman of Sapele Branch, and I am writing you, for and on behalf of the entire members of the Sapele Branch of the NBA.

We hereby, unequivocally register the *PROTEST of the entire members of our branch on the monumental travesty done to our branch. Our members have just gone through the so-called final list of voters published by you a few hours ago.

After a very thorough perusal of the list of indicated for Sapele Branch, we were shocked to find that only 70 (seventy) names were published out over 100 (one hundred) names published in the provisional names! Our members who successfully verified are over 100 (one hundred)!

To make matters doubly worse, the 70 (seventy) names published this evening contains 20 (twenty) names who are neither known to us nor our members! We believe they are fictitious names added under our column to perpetrate fraud in this elections!

We therefore protest vehemently and demand that the situation be resolved immediately.

If our above demand cannot be granted, we hereby call for an outright CANCELATION or POSTPONEMENT of the election to a future date, as it is obvious that you are ill prepared to carry out this sacred for which you were appointed!

Thanks.

S. C. Odoh Esq.
Chairman, NBA Sapele Branch.

A PLOY TO DISENFRANCHISE MEMBERS OF THE NBA, SAPELE BRANCH FROM EXERCISING THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN THE NBA, 2020 ELECTION.
I am OKE ODINDE, ESQ, the YLF Chairman, Ex-Publicity Secretary of NBA, Sapele Branch and the “I.T Man” of NBA, Sapele Branch. I worked with the immediate past Chairman of the Branch to prepare eligible names of Branch Members and same was sent to ECNBA.

When the ECNBA released the provisional list containing the names of our eligible voters, we had 115 eligible voters from our Branch.

It is very unfortunate to state that the numbers of eligible voters of our Branch has been reduced in the just published ACCREDITED LIST.

On the said accredited list are 70 supposed names of Sapele Branch Members but the reality is that 20 names stated on the list are not members of the Sapele Branch.

Names of Persons stated to be Sapele Baranch Members on the ECNBA ACCREDITED LIST (but in actual sense are not Members); are listed hereunder.
1. BABADIDI, MELE JASCO
2. OMORDIA, NGOZI OBIAGELI
3. SAKA, RASAK AYODEJI
4. DUROSINMI, ETTI LOOKMAN
5. CHIGBO, CHINONSO FESTUS
6. AKPORHONOR, EMILY ONOME
7. ADENIRAN, ABAYOMI ADEYEMI
8. ADEJOH, JIBRIN YUSUF
9. OJIAKU, STANLEY ARINZECHUKWU
10. OBAWEYA, TAIWO FOLUKE
11. ANAENUGWU, ANTHONY CHUKWUEMEKA
12. EKWALE, SARAH OCHUKO
13. OVEDHE, NATHAN TIMOTHY
14. MARTINOS, FRANCIS OLUYOMI
15. AKEREDOLU, YEWANDE YINKA
16. CHEGWE, WEYIMI ANITA
17. AKEREDOLU, YEWANDE YINKA
18. GESE, IORSE SIMON
19. OKWUAGBALA, UCHE IRUOMA
20. GOLD, KHADIJAT KUBURA

This is a ploy to disenfranchise our Branch Members.
Our questions are
1. What happened to the Provisional List that contains the complete names of eligible voters.
2. Why would the ECNBA add names not in the Sapele Branch to the Sapele Branch List?
3. Why would the ECNBA reduce the Sapele Branch Members from 115 to 52 Members?
This is unacceptable…
OKE ODINDE ESQ.
NBA, SAPELE BRANCH, YLF CHAIRMAN

THE YLF CHAIRMAN, NWABAA CLINTON AMONG OVER A HUNDRED VOTERS FROM IKORODU BRANCH, DECRIES HIS RUTHLESS DISENFRANCHISEMENT BY THE ECNBA 3 HOURS TO NBA NATIONAL ELECTIONS; CALLS FOR RECTIFICATION OF THE ACCREDITED VOTERS LIST BEFORE THE VOTING EXERCISE.

“My name is Nwabaa Clinton O. I’m a lawyer and an active member of NBA Ikorodu branch and also the present chairman young lawyers forum, Ikorodu branch.

The NBA Ikorodu falls within 11507-11639 that means that the only accredited voters of my branch are 132 leaving well over 100 active voters disenfranchised.

I hereby raised objection to this election and as well put NBA on notice to show cause why the election should be held as I’m disenfranchised.

Shola Abiloye

Something to keep us busy until 11pm tonight. Collating the list of accredited voters in alphabetical order should be the simplest of things for the ECNBA. Why punish people because they want to vote?

Uche Ogwo

I have zoomed and zoomed and peered into and around this list, i have checked for my name and maiden name and both are not there!!!!!. I did all including the verification and got a mail saying I was verified and I CAN’T SEE MY NAME!!!. Let me not be hasty please if anyone sees Uchenna Chinyere Ogwo or Uchenna Chinyere Nweke, kindly notify me because I MUST VOTE!!!. Why my name must always be omitted is totally beyond my understanding 🤷♀️🤦

Raqeebah Oloko

Thank you so much. I have seen it. They didn’t put it under Lagos Branch and when you type search it wont come up.

Thank you yinka for saving me the trouble as I have started writing to ecnba. No time to waste when election is just less than 3hrs away

SIMPLE I. DIOHA

Good evening Sir.

I have gone through the Isiokpo Branch list and discovered that out of the original about 84 names published in all the previous lists, we now have only 48 names published.

I suspect serious mischief in the exercise because many of those whose names were omitted did their verification in my presence.

For example one IZEOMA ORLU-AKWU did her verification in my presence. Now she could not find her name in this present list despite her name had appeared in all the previous lists.

Please urgent attention is needed.

Thanks.

SIMPLE I. DIOHA, ESQ.
NBA, ISIOKPO BRANCH, RIVERS STATE.

COVID-19: LAGOS CJ, FALANA, ODINKALU, ADEGBORUWA, OJUKWU, OTHERS TO X-RAY HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Leading human rights activists will on Monday dissect the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on Nigeria’s human rights landscape.

Organized by the Human Rights Committee of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch, the virtual conference will especially spotlight human rights violations in the wake of efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic while framing the roadmap for human rights protection in the COVID-19 era. The theme of the conference is “COVID-19, Access to Justice and Human Rights Violations.” Time is 3 pm.

Among the lawyers and jurists who have confirmed their participation as speakers are the Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba; Lagos State Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN; Mr. Femi Falana SAN who will deliver a Keynote Address; Prof. Chidi Odinkalu who will speak on “COVID-19, Access to Justice and Human Rights Violations: The Role of Nigerian Bar Association,” and the Chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr. Tony Ojukwu, who will speak on “COVID-19 and Human Rights Violations: Insights from the Field.”

Other confirmed speakers are Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN who will x-ray the topic, “How Fair is Virtual Hearing in the COVID-19 era?” and Dr. Uju Agomoh, Executive Director, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) who will tackle the topic, “Coronavirus, Correctional Centres and Rights of Awaiting Trial Inmates.” Renowned legal aid defence expert, Mr. Chino Obiagwu SAN will discuss “Coronavirus and Challenge of Legal Defence” while Mr. Muhammad Belgore SAN will contend with “Litigating Human Rights Cases in the COVID-19 Era.”

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu is expected to offer useful insights on the task of policing in the COVID-19 era as he discusses “Policing in the COVID -19 Era: Challenges and Prospects.”

The Host for the much anticipated virtual conference is NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe while the Moderator is the Branch Vice Chairman & Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, Mr. Okey Ilofulunwa.

Facilitated by Messrs Olumide Babalola and Emeka Nwadioke, participants are expected to register for the virtual conference at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3RikvKB9SzGF-7fWpfdcYg or www.shorturl.at/fgo46.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag 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.

‘STEP ASIDE NOW,’ OJUKWU TELLS USORO

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) chieftain, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN has asked NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN to “step aside” from the exalted office and face the charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Continue Reading

FOI: ‘EITHER NBA GIVES ME INFORMATION OR…’ – OJUKWU

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN has faulted the bar leadership for its reaction to his suit aimed to compel the NBA to accede to his Freedom of Information (FOI) Act request. Continue Reading

Ojukwu Lauds Usoro on Transparency

* Carpets Mahmoud for Appointing ZDIC Chairmen with “horrible reputation”

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN has hailed NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN for publishing the financial statements for the lawyers’ body. Continue Reading

N300M DEBTS: NBA Verges on ‘Bankruptcy’

* Ojukwu Writes NBA, Demands Full Disclosure

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) may have become technically insolvent following a huge debt overhang that has hobbled the activities of the lawyers’ body. This is coming on the heels of the association’s inability to promptly pay staff salaries as well as meet other obligations as they fall due. Continue Reading

WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Audit Will Not Alter Election Results – Yadudu

Any hopes by defeated candidates in the recent Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections that an audit will upturn the outcome of the elections has been dashed by the Electoral Committee of NBA (ECNBA) Chairman, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu.

It is recalled that a presidential candidate in the elections, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN had specifically requested an audit of the elections as a pre-condition to cooperate with NBA President-elect, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN.

But Yadudu while responding to enquiries by CITY LAWYER, foreclosed any possibility that the audit will reverse the election results as declared by the ECNBA.

His words: “A post election audit will be carried out as promised. However, it is not to validate or invalidate the result announced.”

This is bound to rattle some of the candidates who are hoping that the planned audit may void some of the results declared by the ECNBA.

Asked to respond to allegations by Okafor and Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN, the two other presidential candidates, that the elections were riddled with rigging among other infractions, the ECNBA Chairman declined comment, saying: “Sorry l cannot comment on views by others about or in any matter pertaining to (the) election.”

When CITY LAWYER asked the veteran law teacher for suggestions on electoral reforms, he also side-stepped the issue, saying: “These are matters that will go into (our) report. So it will not be proper to address (same) in the press.”

He however noted that the NBA National Executive Committee meeting which held yesterday did not ratify the outcome of the elections but merely the change in date. His words: “NEC did not ratify the election. It ratified the timing by which the ECNBA held the election in August instead of July.”

It is recalled that CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report revealed that Usoro is a co-director at Access Bank Plc with Dr. (Mrs.) Ajoritsedere Josephine Awosika, the first female Chairman of CHAMS Plc. CHAMS was originally hired by the ECNBA as its sole ICT Partner for the elections. It eventually deployed its voting portal for the elections.

The CITY LAWYER report had raised concerns on the integrity of NBA’s electoral process and the ability of the ECNBA to deliver free, fair and credible elections.

Following petitions by candidates and a flurry of meetings, outgoing NBA President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud SAN had initiated several electoral reforms to reassure stakeholders.

In a press statement dated July 21, 2018 Mahmoud had promised that an audit of the elections will be carried out.

His words: “The ECNBA will develop a post-election audit framework and process and may engage an independent entity for that purpose.”

Usoro was declared winner of the hotly contested poll on August 20, three weeks after the initial date set for the conclusion of the elections.

Both Okafor and Ojukwu rejected the results, alleging rigging and other electoral infractions.

Though the elections were conducted in August as against July specified in the NBA Constitution, the NBA-NEC yesterday ratified the shift in date, clearing the way for Usoro to be sworn-in as the 29th NBA President.

Send your Press Release, Events, News Tips, Opinions or Informed Commentary to citylawyermag@gmail.com
Follow us on facebook at City-Lawyer-Magazine

Copyright 2018 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 Usoro Told Obi Okafor, Ojukwu

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President-elect, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN had written to his co-contestants for NBA Presidency, seeking their cooperation towards a successful tenure.

The letter, which was copied to all NBA current and past presidents, has generated much furore.

Below is the controversial letter as obtained by CITY LAWYER:

On ‎Friday‎, ‎August‎ ‎24‎, ‎2018‎ ‎02‎:‎33‎:‎36‎ ‎PM‎ ‎WAT, Paul Usoro, SAN <paul@xxxxxx> wrote:

Dear Current and Past Presidents

On second thoughts, I decided I should make you privy to my self-explanatory mail below to my brothers, Ernest and Arthur. It would be my joy to work with both of them for the common good of the NBA and I respectfully and most humbly implore you to join voices with me to intercede and direct the three of us towards that common goal, in the terms of my mail to them. I thank you all and pray for Divine blessings and protection for you and your families.

Best

Paul Usoro, SAN
Senior Partner

From: Paul Usoro <paul@xxxxxx>
Date: Friday, August 24, 2018 at 1:59 PM
To: “Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN” <arthur@xxxxxx>, Ernest Ojukwu <ernestojukwu2@xxxxxx>
Subject: Nigerian Bar Association

My dear brothers Ernest and Arthur

Soon after the NBA Elections last Monday, 20 August 2018 I called both of you (same day in regard to Arthur and on Wednesday, 23 August 2018 in regard to Ernest) but you both must’ve been busy and couldn’t take my calls. I also left WhatsApp messages on your phone but again, your schedules may not have permitted you to revert. I had intended to use my calls to reach both of you and solicit your support for my running of the NBA, post the elections; not having reached you nor heard from you, I thought it wise not to wait any further but to articular my thoughts vide this e-mail.

Let me start by first stating that I fully understand your respective feelings and belief that you and not me should’ve won the NBA Presidential election. I probably would’ve felt the same way, perhaps, not as heated, if I had lost. I’m however reminded of the fact that, win or lose in an NBA election, we, the three of us, remain learned friends, brother Silks and kinsmen from Eastern Nigeria. Those are strong unbreakable bonds that NBA election, win or lose, should not and must not put asunder. Indeed, a win by any of us ought to have been and should be seen as a win for all of us, given those bonds that I’ve listed. It is in that spirit that I’m truly and earnestly extending my hands of brotherhood to both of you and appealing that we sheath swords and join hands in reshaping the NBA into an institution that we all can take pride in.

In truth, beyond the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that I’ve highlighted above, there’s a lot more that binds us together as far as the NBA is concerned. By virtue of our ranks, we’re all leaders of the profession and each of us is eminently qualified to lead the Bar – at least, that’s what I believe in regard to you two. Indeed, our Election Manifestoes shared some common features with the difference being only in the modalities and strategies for achieving those common objectives. Our three Manifestoes, for example, talked about welfare issues for lawyers, not least, the young lawyers, we all talked about an inclusive Bar where there’ll be standing room for all lawyers irrespective of gender, age, ability/disability etc. and we also talked about giving voice to the voiceless and the promotion of the rule of law, amongst others.

These and much more were our common agenda items during the elections and I believe that the Bar will be greatly enriched if we were to join hands to achieve these and several other goals that we so beautifully articulated in our respective Manifestoes. Just think of it: can you imagine what pride we bring to Eastern Nigeria and indeed the profession if we were to work together along these lines, and, God being on our side, we achieve great things for the NBA during my tenure as the President of the NBA? In two years, we’ll jointly be the toast of the Bar and indeed of Nigeria if we seize this moment. I truly request you to think of my proposition even as I look forward to the opportunity of sitting with you, jointly or separately, to advance and flesh out such a course while harmonizing our thoughts in that regard.

I thank you for taking the time to read this “epistle” and look forward to an indication from you on the convenient time that I may call you, respectively, to advance discussions on these matters. Meanwhile, please, feel free to reach me by sms or whatsapp or e-mail. Do have a restful weekend and see you at the AGC.

Best

Paul Usoro, SAN

Senior Partner

Send your Press Release, Events, News Tips, Opinions or Informed Commentary to citylawyermag@gmail.com
Follow us on facebook at City-Lawyer-Magazine

Copyright 2018 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.

Ojukwu Raps Usoro, Says ‘Only Truth Will Heal NBA’

A presidential candidate in the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN has carpeted NBA President-elect, Mr. Paul Usoro over his olive branch to the law teacher.

In a response to recent a letter by Usoro urging Ojukwu to put the controversies arising from the NBA Elections behind him, the former Nigerian Law School chieftain stated that senior lawyers were the problem bedevilling NBA governance.

Ojukwu, in the letter made available to CITY LAWYER, also warned that only truth will save the Bar from extinction.

The letter reads:

Dear PAUL,

YOUR LETTER IS IN BAD FAITH

I regret to state that your letter written jointly to me and Mr Okafor was written in bad faith.

You commenced your letter with a claim that you called me and that I did not take your call. When I refuted this claim, you posted a WhatsApp log where you stated that you called and that my telephone was switched off. If this was true that my telephone was switched off, on what basis did you then claim that I did not take your call? If you had made an honest mistake, the natural thing would be to apologise for that but instead in trying to defend the defenseless, you posted a WhatsApp log and intentionally included an unrelated private chat we had early in the year. In character you did not also show the entire discussion of that unrelated chat.

On 23rd August 2018 my telephone was on and assuming that you had called once and you could not connect, would it not have been a natural thing to make further attempts to call? But instead you wrote your email letter on 24th August at 1.59pm stating that you called me and I did not take your call.

In addition you published the letter on the media within 30 minutes of sending the email, and copied past NBA Presidents within 1.5 hours.

May I reiterate that the NBA elections and governance is not a personal issue to me. I have dedicated most of my adult life outside my mainstay to the development of the legal profession and the bar. I did not do those works as the leader of the Association. There is nothing that will prevent me from contributing as much as I can while I exist. It is a passion and calling for me. NBA is not an employment or political thing for me. There is therefore no reason to “appeal” to me “to sheath swords and join hands in reshaping the NBA into an institution that we all can take pride in.” Paul, you owe me no duty or responsibility for what happened at that elections. Mr Arthur Okafor, President AB Mahmoud, Prof Yadudu and ENCBA owe me no duty or responsibility. You all owe that duty and responsibility to the entire bar, the legal profession, Nigeria and God. I moved on an hour after and I publicly stated that I will not contest the outcome of that charade and I am sure you read it.

I have said it before and I repeated it at the SLP Port Harcourt this year that the problem with the Bar and the legal profession in Nigeria is not laws, rules, constitution, systems and so. Our problems are our lawyers and our governance problems are mostly senior lawyers. The day our leaders decide to be honest with us, that would be the day of transformation for the bar and the profession. “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised” (Chinua Achebe). True integrity knows no form of derogation. Only honesty and the truth will save the BAR!

Ernest Ojukwu (TEACHER)

Send your Press Release, Events, News Tips, Opinions or Informed Commentary to citylawyermag@gmail.com
Follow us on facebook at City-Lawyer-Magazine

Copyright 2018 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.

EXCLUSIVE: NBA ELECTION – Usoro, Obi Okafor Rigged, Says Ojukwu

A presidential candidate in the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN has alleged that his two rivals in the presidential bid attempted to out-rig each other during the poll.

In an exclusive interview with CITY LAWYER, the former Nigerian Law School helmsman claimed that he was the only presidential candidate that did not tamper with the electoral process, adding that the election is the “worst” conducted by NBA since 1991.

Warned that CITY LAWYER would quote him on the allegation, Ojukwu was even more emphatic, saying: “Quote me on that; hundred per cent. Both candidates corrupted the system, bribed voters with money, practice fee, and then ultimately stole people’s data and used it to vote. Quote me hundred per cent.”

Continuing, the defeated NBA presidential candidate who polled 3313 votes to trail both the president-elect, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN and Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN said: “I am the only person who didn’t try to rig the election. They were competing with each other on who will rig better.

“The election was rigged 100 per cent. The candidates hijacked the process from the time members were asked to verify; that’s when they hijacked the system – and stole people’s data. From the ones they paid their practice fee and the others stolen during the verification exercise. And many many people couldn’t vote because of that. Once that was done, they were competing with each other as to who will out-vote each other with stolen data.”

On his suggestions towards electoral reforms, Ojukwu said: “Nothing. Nothing. It’s not the system that is the problem; it is the human beings. So, there is nothing I can suggest to a person who is elected by a stolen mandate because he will not do a new free election. That’s why we have transited from hand-to-hand since 2012. People who emerged through a stolen system have not been able to hand over through free and fair elections. This is one of the worst elections conducted at the Bar since 1991. In fact, it is the worst. And it will have a place in infamy.”

Ojukwu restated his resolve not to challenge the result of the poll. His words: “My statement is very clear. I said I was not going to contest the election. What am I going to court to do? I said I was not going to contest it.”

On whether he would explore any internal mechanism within the NBA system, the former law teacher said: “You complain to the person who is the armed robber? How would you get the verdict? You complain to the armed robber for stealing your money? To do what? To settle between me and Paul (Usoro SAN) or between me and who?”

Reminded that the pre-Annual General Conference NBA National Executive Committee may deliberate on the debacle, Ojukwu said: “It depends on the issue that arises. That’s the only time I know what to answer – if there is any need to answer.”

The former law teacher also told CITY LAWYER that he has no plans for the future in relation to his political fortunes. His words: “I don’t have any future plan. I’m still a member (of NBA).”

It is recalled that the Prof. Auwalu Yadudu-led Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had in the early hours of Monday, August 20, 2018 declared Usoro as the duly elected 29th president of the NBA. Usoro polled 4509 while his closest rival, Obi Okafor garnered 4423 to place second. Ojukwu placed third with 3313 votes.

The election was severally postponed due to many hiccups that plagued the process.

Send your Press Statement, Events, News Tips, Opinions or Informed Commentary to citylawyermag@gmail.com
Follow us on facebook at City-Lawyer-Magazine

Copyright 2018 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.