‘ALL SANs AGREED TO PROBE NBA ELECTIONS,’ SAYS ADEGBORUWA
‘THERE IS A DELIBERATE ATTEMPT TO BLACKMAIL SANs’
BY EMEKA NWADIOKE
A new twist has emerged in the move by the influential Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) to probe the election of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata among others.
There are reports that BOSAN had at its virtual meeting yesterday resolved to set up a committee to review NBA Elections held in 2016, 2018 and 2020 under the electronic voting system.
But a group, Open Bar Initiative (OBI) warned the body to desist from such move, saying that it may be forced to drag BOSAN to court if it persists in the venture. In a statement by My. Silas Joseph Onu, Convener of the group, OBI said that the move was dictated by the reluctance of BOSAN to accept Akpata’s election, being the first non-SAN to take the mantle of NBA leadership in about 30 years. His words: “It is evident that many Senior Advocates who personally felt defeated by a non-SAN are now working overtime to supplant the Nigerian Bar Association with a group formed only for the SANs.”
But fiery human rights activist, Mr. Ebun-olu Adegboruwa SAN warned critics not to pit BOSAN against NBA, noting that the decision to probe the elections was “unanimous.” The revelation raises questions whether some Senior Advocates who backed Akpata during the 2020 NBA Elections did not protest the move. Adegboruwa is touted as the Chairman of the BOSAN committee. But he refused to confirm the report when asked by CITY LAWYER, saying: “Let’s wait for BOSAN release on that, please.”
In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, Adegboruwa stated that it is “not outside our mandate as lawyers to help the Bar to chart a way forward in this regard, in collaboration with the NBA and other relevant stakeholders.”
His words: “I was nominated along with other distinguished members of BOSAN, for a national assignment, as a patriotic member of the legal profession in Nigeria. It was a unanimous decision of BOSAN, with no ill motive or foul play in mind. The meeting was presided over by the first female Senior Advocate, Mrs. Folake Solanke, who sacrificed her time for the said meeting that lasted well over four hours, at well over 80 years of age, for the common good of all.”
The full text of the statement is below:
RE: COMMITTEE TO AUDIT NBA ELECTIONS
My attention has been drawn to a news item currently circulating, to the effect that the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, BOSAN, has set up a parallel Committee to audit the national elections of the Nigerian Bar Association for the year 2016, 2018 and 2020. The said report suggests that BOSAN may have done this in order to undermine the Committee set up by the NBA for the same purpose.
I attended the meeting of BOSAN held on September 5, 2020, as a bona fide member of the said organization, which is duly registered under the relevant laws of Nigeria for the protection of the interests of its members, as permitted under section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
I was nominated along with other distinguished members of BOSAN, for a national assignment, as a patriotic member of the legal profession in Nigeria. It was a unanimous decision of BOSAN, with no ill motive or foul play in mind. The meeting was presided over by the first female Senior Advocate, Mrs. Folake Solanke, who sacrificed her time for the said meeting that lasted well over four hours, at well over 80 years of age, for the common good of all.
All stakeholders in the legal profession are working towards a solution to the perennial complaints following our experiences with electronic voting, it is therefore not outside our mandate as lawyers to help the Bar to chart a way forward in this regard, in collaboration with the NBA and other relevant stakeholders.
The insinuation of alleged foul play is totally unwarranted, being a deliberate attempt to twist the narrative of the BOSAN meeting, with the sole aim of blackmailing the noble men and women of the Inner Bar, into silence.
Personally, I am embarrassed that a meeting held to discuss the progress of the Bar and indeed Nigeria, is being bandied as a gang up, even when no official statement or communique has been issued by the executive council of BOSAN.
I verily believe that those spreading this falsehood are enemies of the Bar, who are out on a sadistic mission to pit the NBA against BOSAN, without any justification whatsoever, given that both bodies exist to complement each other.
I’m concerned that the good reputation of patriotic Bar leaders is being maligned recklessly on the altar of Bar politics, or else I cannot fathom the reason why anyone should lose sleep over attempts to build a united, strong and virile Bar.
From available history, BOSAN has never been in rivalry with any NBA Exco; it has been in existence before the new Exco assumed office and it will continue to partner with all NBA Excos for the progress of the Bar and Nigeria at large.
Personally, I offer to work with all stakeholders within the Bar, including the present leadership of the NBA, for the common good of the legal profession and our country, Nigeria, as I do in other national issues.
Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN
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