Erstwhile Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Mr. Dele Adesina SAN has lost his bid to upturn the election of Mr. Olumide Akpata as the 60th President of the association.

In a ruling dated August 19, 2020 and obtained by CITY LAWYER, the trustees noted that they received responses from the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA); NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN; NBA President-elect, Mr. Olumide Akpata and Mr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN “in line with the principles of fair hearing.”

The decision was personally signed by the BOT Chairman and former NBA President, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN and addressed to Adesina.

Noting that “we have no judicial authority to give direction to the NBA,” the Board of Trustees stated that its position “is at best advisory.”

Reviewing the responses received from the parties, the trustees declared: “We note that the Elections were not perfect. We reviewed your petition and note that it raises serious issues. Nonetheless, our advice will be the overall interest of the Bar should be paramount on the mind of every Nigerian lawyer and to that extent, we urge that all lawyers and no less the candidates be mindful of the need to promote a cohesive, united and strong Bar. We regret that we are unable to advise that the election should be cancelled in the overall interest of the Bar.”

Noting that NBA elections “continue to present challenges going back to 2016,” the trustees “strongly recommend that a major transformation of our electoral process and framework must be undertaken,” adding that “we are happy to be assigned this very important responsibility of ensuring that the incoming administration acts accordingly.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN had on July 31, 2020 declared Akpata as winner of the NBA presidential election held on July 29 or 30, 2020.

According to the ECNBA Chairman, Akpata polled 9,891 or 54.3 per cent votes to beat his closest rival, Ajibade who garnered 4,328 (23.8 per cent) votes. Adesina polled 3,982 votes (21.9 per cent) to bring up the rear. Adesina had a few hours to the end of the election demanded cancellation of the poll, saying it was fraught with infractions. The election was held via ElectionBuddy, an electronic voting software deployed by Edmonton, Canada based firm.

Though a total of 29,636 lawyers were accredited for the election, only 18,256 or 62 per cent of the voters succeeded in casting their ballots.

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