The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) is set to decide the fate of incumbent NBA Treasurer, Caroline Ladidi Anze-Bishop following conclusion of hearing on the petition filed against her candidacy.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the leading law firm of Falana and Falana Chambers may have abandoned a petition by its Head of Chambers, Mr. Samuel Ogala, as the petitioner did not appear for the scheduled hearing of the petition yesterday.

However, the second petitioner appeared to argue his petition while Anze-Bishop was also represented by counsel who defended the petition.

Ladidi-Bishop has also formally responded to the two petitions. In documents obtained by CITY LAWYER, the embattled aspirant for the coveted post of NBA General Secretary dismissed Ogala as “at best a meddlesome interloper,” saying he is not an aspirant in the race for the position of NBA General Secretary.

Dated 24th April, 2024, the response was personally signed by the aspirant.

She stated that while Ogala claimed that he was called to the Bar in 2005, a search on the NBA portal showed that he was actually called to the Bar in 2006, adding that “one would wonder why the Petitioner would decide to furnish your esteemed office with facts that are not correct, an attitude that smacks of dishonesty and brings the legal profession to disrepute.”

Ladidi-Bishop also stated that the petitioner “affixed an expired NBA seal suggestive of the fact that he did not pay Bar Practicing Fee and/or Branch Dues for 2024.”

The fiery National Officer noted that the “supposed letters” which Ogala allegedly obtained from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps “were never attached to the Petition thereby leaving the petition bereft of substance.” She stated that “The petition clearly lacks facts, it is at best speculative and riddled with conjectures.”

Turning to the “merits” of the petition, Ladidi-Bishop stated that she has been in private legal practice “since 2022,” noting that “Upon my election as the National Treasurer of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps gave me a leave of absence in a letter dated the 30th of August 2022 and directed that I engage in private practice in order to serve the Bar better.”

Continuing, she wrote: “On the strength of the above letter, I have been in active private legal practice in Jos, Plateau State, and counsel in chambers, including that of Innocent M. Maji & Co., on which letterhead this response is authored, where I shuttle the Courts and engage actively with my private practice with no restriction or prohibition whatsoever. I kindly urge that you direct your mind to my green NBA seal which is affixed to this response for confirmation.

Ladidi-Bishop stated that “In fact, the Nigerian Bar Association recognized me as a lawyer in private practice when it granted me permission to prosecute electoral offences on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a position made available to lawyers in private practice by the current NBA administration.”

She also stated that the matter is subjudice in view of the lawsuit, Paul J. Magga Vs. Incorporated Trsutees of the Nigerian Bar Association and Oluseun Abimbola SAN where the exclusion of NSCDC officers is being challenged.

Noting that the 2022 ECNBA led by Mr. Ayodele Akintunde dismissed a similar petition by one Uche Amulu against Isaac Ogbah on the ground that the matter was subjudice, Ladidi-Bishop wrote: “It is against this backdrop that I request that the petition against me be dismissed as same is not only frivolous but vexatious and out-rightly lacking in substance, moreso as the allegations in the said petitions are subjects of on-going proceeding in Court and as such cannot be deliberated upon at this stage.”

She urged the electoral committee “to find me eminently qualified to contest the position of the General Secretary of the noble Association.”

Turning to the petition by one Musa Tijjani, the NBA Treasurer noted that he stated his enrolment number as SCN079250 “whereas the seal affixed to his Petition against me bears enrolment number SCN097250.”

She noted that the petitioner lacked the locus standi to bring the petition, not being an aspirant for the position of NBA General Secretary since he is not qualified to vie for the position whether he was admitted to the Bar in 2012 or 2015. She also added that the letter allegedly written by NSCDC was not attached to the petition.

Ladidi-Bishop repeated her arguments in Ogala’s petition in answer to the second petition “on the merits” and again argued that “The petition clearly lacks facts, it is at best speculative and riddled with conjectures.” She urged the committee to dismiss it.

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