The National Officers’ Election Appeal Committee (NOEAC) has finally issued guidelines on how disqualified aspirants may appeal their disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA).

CITY LAWYER had noted that many disqualified aspirants were left in a quandary as the NOEAC did not release guidelines for appeals more than 48 hours after publication of the final list of candidates by the electoral body.

While the ECNBA publication is dated 3rd May, 2024 the NOEAC publication on the guidelines is dated 6th May, 2024. All the aspirants may have received their notifications on 3rd May, 2024.

Consistent with Part IX of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended), the appellate body wrote: “Any candidate who is disqualified by the ECNBA in respect of his nomination or Candidature, may within seven days of the communication of the decision, appeal to the NBA-NOEAC.”

The electoral committee had in a notice on its “final” list of candidates stated that “Disqualified candidates may wish to exercise their right of appeal against the decision under Part IX, 2nd Schedule of the NBA Constitution 2015 (As amended in 2021).”

Among those disqualified by the electoral body for sundry reasons are Joyce Oduah, Caroline Anze-Bishop, Sabastine Anyia, Osamuede Asenoguan, Mohammed Tsav, Chukwuemeka Mbamala, Felix Ashimole, Henry Chiduabo, Adejorin Abiona, Wahab Muhammed, Dhikrullah Balogun and Ibekwe Nkiru.

Investigation by CITY LAWYER showed that while most of the aspirants are eager to file appeals against the decisions of the electoral committee, the delay in release of the guidelines left them with no clue on how to file their appeals.

The situation was compounded by the fact that the NOEAC, which was appointed last April by NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, did not publicize any physical or email address through which aspirants can reach the appellate body.

Though most of the aspirants had told CITY LAWYER at the weekend that they had started processing their appeals, lack of information on the appeal guidelines had thrown them into confusion.

At least one disqualified aspirant told CITY LAWYER that he had emailed the NBA Secretariat to ask for the appeal guidelines.

While other aspirants were racking their brains on how to navigate the additional hurdle thrown on their path by the absence of appeal guidelines, one disqualified aspirant told CITY LAWYER that he had to send his appeal to the personal email of the committee’s chairman.

Another aspirant said that he would have to travel to Abuja latest on Wednesday to physically submit his appeal, in the absence of any guidance from appeals committee. His words: “There is no email to file (an appeal). It means we have to go to Abuja to file. Today is sit-at-home (in the South East). By tomorrow or Wednesday, I hope to be in Abuja (to submit the appeal).”

Yet another worried aspirant said: “Maybe I will route the hard copy through the (NBA) president in the national secretariat.

“The committee ought to have issued these guidelines well before the publication of the list of qualified and disqualified candidates.

“I also think that there is need to amend our constitution such that the process of appeal is concluded before a list of cleared and disqualified candidates are published once and for all.”

Part IX of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution provides as follows:

1) “Any candidate who is disqualified by the ECNBA in respect of his nomination or candidature, may within seven days of the communication of the decision, appeal to the Election Appeal Committee.

2) “The Election Appeal Committee, shall upon receipt of an appeal lodged by a Candidate in the manner stated above, hear the appeal, and make a decision thereon within fourteen (14) days thereof. Such hearing may be based on documents only, or by physical hearing or hearing via electronic medium.

3) “The decision of the Election Appeal Committee on any appeal lodged by a Candidate shall be final and binding on the parties.”

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