ELECTION: ECNBA CLEARS AIR ON ZONING, TAIDI HAILS UMPIRE
The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has laid to rest the controversy on the zoning arrangement for this year’s National Officers Election.
Meanwhile, former NBA General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Gunu Taidi who is believed to be eyeing the post of NBA President has hailed the electoral body for striving to abide by the constitutional timelines set for the election.
Taidi told CITY LAWYER that “The ECNBA Chairman informed NBA Emergency NEC (meeting) that today was the final day to issue this notice. It is a welcome development that the ECNBA promised to keep to timeliness which is part of the integrity of the electoral process.”
CITY LAWYER recalls that former Secretary of the NBA Constitution Review Committee, Mr. Olasupo Ojo had petitioned the committee, seeking clarification on the zoning formula to be adopted for the election. Specifically, he sought an interpretation of the import of section 9(3) of the NBA Constitution and paragraphs 2.2(b) & 2.2(d) of the Second Schedule on the election.
The ECNBA had side stepped the enquiry, noting that “The duties of the ECNBA are governed by the statutory instruments of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and does not, regrettably at the moment, extend to providing advisory opinions.”
But the ECNBA has now put the matter to rest, especially as it concerns the NBA presidential election. While some pro Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN persons had canvassed that the presidential slot should be restricted to candidates from the North East, the ECNBA has declared that all aspirants from the Northern Zone are eligible to gun for the coveted seat. This has given a fillip to the alleged quest by NBA Welfare Committee Chairman, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN and former NBA General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Taidi to clinch the post.
In a Preliminary Notice of Election dated March 17, 2020 and signed by the committee Chairman, Mr. Richard Akintunde SAN and Secretary, Ms. Mabel Ekeke, the ECNBA listed the “offices for which eligible members or candidates may contest on the basis of rotation among the three (3) geographical zones stipulated in Part IV (1),(2),(3),(4) &(5), Second Schedule of the Constitution of the NBA, 2015 as amended in 2021, (the Constitution), as well as the qualifications for the offices listed at Section 9(3) of the Constitution.”
Stating that the zone to produce the President is the “Northern Zone,” the committee also stated that the aspirant must be “A full member of the Association in private legal practice; with not less than 15 years post-call and not less than 2 years as a member of the National Executive Council (previously known as the National Executive Committee) (“NEC”) at the time of nomination.”
While the post of First Vice President was also zoned to the Northern Zone, the posts of Second Vice President and Third Vice President were zoned to Eastern Zone and Western Zone respectively. The post of General Secretary also went to Western Zone.
However, the posts of Treasurer, Welfare Secretary, Publicity Secretary as well as Assistant General Secretary and Assistant Publicity Secretary were not restricted to any zone.
Meanwhile, election of NBA Representatives to the General Council of the Bar will run alongside the National Officers Election, even as the ECNBA has stated that “Pursuant to Part V (2), Second Schedule of the Constitution, the zoning principle contained in the Constitution shall apply in the election of NBA Representatives to the General Council of the Bar, such that each zone shall produce not less than six (6) Representatives to the Council.”
According to ECNBA, “Nomination Forms for election of National Officers of the NBA and/or election of NBA Representatives to the General Council of the Bar, shall be available for collection at the ECNBA Secretariat, 1st Floor, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abuja Trade & Convention Centre, KM 8 Umaru Musa Yar’adua Express Way, (Airport Road), Abuja. The forms can also be downloaded online from the NBA website: www.nigerianbar.org.ng or the ECNBA website: www.ecnba.ng from 08:00 hours, Monday, 21 March 2022. Submission of completed Nomination Forms and accompanying documents shall CLOSE at 16:00 hours on Friday, 15 April 2022.”
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