EXCLUSIVE: EGBE AMOFIN CRACKS, GAGS MEMBERS ON NBA ELECTION

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

• EGBE BLOC CONGRATULATES AKPATA, ASSURES SUPPORT
• ADESINA PETITIONS NBA TRUSTEES 

Cracks have emerged within Egbe Amofin O’odua ranks as a major bloc in the influential regional group has congratulated Nigerian Bar Association President-elect, Mr. Olumide Akpata on his victory at the poll.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that Egbe Amofin O’odua may have barred its members from commenting on the outcome of the NBA Elections. The gag order was made after a meeting of the group at the weekend, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report. Firebrand human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana SAN is among the two persons appointed as spokespersons on the election.

Egbe Amofin ni Eko, the Lagos bloc of the group, has congratulated Akpata on his victory, assuring him of “our individual and collective support for your administration and for our noble mother association.”

The bloc had in the run-up to the hotly contested NBA Elections endorsed Adesina, saying: “We are true sons and daughters of Oduduwa and we stand on the decision of Egbe made in Ibadan over the endorsement of a single candidate. Another meeting of the Egbe is only 13 days away. Any aggrieved candidate should approach Egbe. But for us, we stand on the decision of the mother group.”

But in a statement made available to CITY LAWYER and signed by the Chairman of the bloc, Mr. Martin Ogunleye, it said: “On behalf of the leadership and members of Egbe Amofin ni Eko, I hereby convey to you our congratulations on your emergence as President-elect of the Nigerian Bar Association.

“We are optimistic that your track record of service to the bar, especially as Chairman of the Section of Business Law, and your promise to take a 24 month sabbatical from law practice to serve the association, would be brought to bear to take our association, the NBA to greater heights.

“Please accept the assurances of our individual and collective support for your administration and for our noble mother association.”

While a leading member of the association had assured CITY LAWYER that he would proffer his opinion on the conduct of the election, things took a new today early today when he sent an apology saying: “I regret to inform you that we, members of Egbe Amofin ODUA have been barred from commenting, writing, granting interview and or posting on social media platforms any comment, write up and article on issues relating to the recently concluded NBA 2020 elections. Asiwaju Niyi Akintola, SAN and Femi Falana, SAN have been appointed as spokespersons for Yoruba Lawyers on the election. In deference to this directive, I will be resiling from my earlier commitment to send my write up on the election to your blog.

“The decision was taken at the last Egbe meeting held on Saturday. Please note that the directive affects only those who subscribed to Egbe Amofin ODUA ideals.”

It was unclear whether the gag order is linked to the congratulatory message by Egbe Amofin ni Eko. When CITY LAWYER contacted the Secretary of Egbe Amofin O’odua, Dr. John Akintayo at the time of going to press, he pleaded that he was “very busy” but assured that he would be available to speak subsequently.

It is recalled that Egbe Amofin O’odua had adopted Adesina as its sole candidate, even as erstwhile NBA presidential candidate, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN opted out of the adoption process, arguing that it was devoid of transparency.

Meanwhile, Adesina has again petitioned NBA Trustees on the outcome of the election. In his latest petition, the senior lawyer alleged that the election “breached the fundamental provisions of the NBA Constitution itself in material particulars,” adding that provisions on publication of the Voters Register 28 days and appointment of Service Provider by ECNBA were violated.

He also alleged that while the ECNBA is expected to be independent, “Representations made by me to the ECNBA were very strangely responded to personally by the NBA President without any such response from the ECNBA which was the primary addressee of the complaints. The entire election looked like it was a personal show or project of the incumbent President including selection/appointment of service providers et al. Mr. Chairman, sir, what the NBA President did by comparison can be likened to a situation where the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria conducts a Presidential election, hijacked the constitutional responsibilities by assuming the duties and responsibilities of INEC, appointing Service Providers, nominating and paying those who would print ballot papers, warehousing the ballot boxes, providing INEC Server etc.”

Continuing, he said: “In this connection, NBA will never be taken serious by Nigeria and Nigerians as well as other law associations outside our shores, including the International Bar Association (IBA) if these crass, abnormalities, illegalities and deliberate wholesale breach of our constitution are not redressed. Our dear Association must not be allowed to descend to opprobrium. We must not be made or subjected to a laughing stock.”

EGBE AMOFIN EKO

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