Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata has been dismissed as a member of the influential National Judicial Council (NJC), CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

CITY LAWYER gathered from unimpeachable sources that the decision to terminate Akpata’s membership of the elite body was conveyed to incumbent NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN.

The letter which was signed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola who also doubles as the NJC Chairman, urged the lawyers’ body to nominate another representative to replace Akpata on the basis that he has joined ‘partisan politics.’

The former NBA President has not hidden his quest to contest the governorship of Edo State in the forthcoming election.

CITY LAWYER however gathered from an impeccable source who is familiar with the matter that Akpata “is highly worried by the CJN’s decision.”

According to the source, the thinking in the Akpata camp is that the Chief Justice of Nigeria lacks the power to dismiss a member of the NJC especially on the basis of joining partisan politics. 

The source cited an example of former Bauchi State Governor Mohammed Abubakar who voluntarily quit the NJC to focus on his political quest, saying the prerogative is that of the member to weigh his options. Abubakar was appointed member of the NJC in June 2013 and elected Bauchi State Governor on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on 11th April, 2015.

According to the source, while Akpata is highly distraught by the turn of events, “He has been restrained by his enormous respect for the CJN, and would want to explore all possible avenues to amicably redress this grievous injustice.”

He however warned that “this matter may ultimately be resolved by the courts should everything else fail. Rest assured that this decision cannot stand.”

Though CITY LAWYER sought the views of NJC spokesman, Mr. Soji Oye on the matter, he had not responded at press time.

CITY LAWYER recalls that as NBA President, Akpata had a running battle with the leadership of the Body of Benchers. He also tackled the leadership of the Court of Appeal over appointment of justices of the appellate court. Akpata is believed to belong to the ‘progressive and reformist bloc’ within the NJC.

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