There are growing concerns within legal circles on the clearance of incumbent Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) Secretary Huwaila Ibrahim Muhammad for the forthcoming chairmanship election of NBA Kano Branch.

A copy of the final list of cleared candidates obtained by CITY LAWYER and dated 21st May, 2024 shows that Huwaila is set to slug it out with Usman Umar Fari for the position of Branch Chairman while Ahmad Sani Bawa was disqualified.

Absulhameed Abdurrazaq Ahmed, Salihu Umar Kududdufawa, Isiakpobegie Edafe Jefferson, Ibrahim Baba Saliu, and Abdulmalik Mohammed were cleared as candidates for the offices of Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Publicity Secretary, Welfare Secretary and Provost respectively.

Huwaila’s clearance while holding the office of ECNBA scribe has got tongues wagging, with some stakeholders arguing that it presents “significant conflict of interest” and an “untidy” scenario.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Bar Leader also recently held the position of Chairman of NBA Kano Branch Law Week Planning Committee. It is speculated that the roles are to give her more visibility against opponents in the run-up to the chairmanship election. 

Some have argued that it would have been “neater” for Huwaila to have passed over the role of ECNBA Secretary if she was interested in contesting as NBA Kano Branch Chairman, wondering how this scenario may impact the integrity of the forthcoming NBA Elections scheduled for July 20, 2024.

There is a growing pressure on NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN to step in to resolve the debacle in order to save the integrity of the general election.

Stakeholders believe that Huwaila should be impressed on to choose either of the roles or be relieved especially of her position as ECNBA Secretary.

Huwaila is not new to controversies in NBA election matters. CITY LAWYER recalls that “Team J-K Gadzama SAN” had during the 2022 NBA Elections alleged that Huwaila, then a member of the NBA Election Appeals Committee (NEAC), “actively and openly posted contents on her Facebook platform projecting Y. C. Maikyau, SAN.”

The team stated that her “non-neutrality” alongside that of another NEAC member “poses elements of bias by virtue of their active participation in the campaign activities of Y. C. Maikyau, SAN in the recently concluded National Elections which held on Saturday, 16th July, 2022.

“We sincerely believe that the aforementioned persons will not be able to discharge the duties of the Committee devoid of sentiments and biases and hence, present no guarantee of credibility and fairness in administering unbiased decisions and findings. We have attached some screen pictures of displays by these persons in support of Y. C. Maikyau, SAN during the period of campaign activities. Please see Annexure NBA1 and Annexure NBA2.”

The protest led to the mass resignation of the Funmi Roberts-led NBA Election Appeals Committee. It remains to be seen how the latest debacle will be resolved.

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