Palpable anxiety has gripped aspirants in the Nigerian Bar Association National Officers and General Council of the Bar Elections in the wake of the long-awaited screening by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA), CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

The Electoral Committee summoned some aspirants to an online “further screening” via ZOOM during which the aspirants were grilled on their nomination forms and related documents.

An email on the virtual screening obtained by CITY LAWYER read: Dear (Name of aspirant),

“Further to the preliminary review of your Nomination Form and the annexed documents in support, the ECNBA by this email invites you for a virtual screening to determine your eligibility to contest in the forthcoming election.

“Please see below the login details below for the screening scheduled for Tuesday, 9 May 2022 at (time).

“Topic: ECNBA Screening….”

The email was signed by ECNBA’s Secretary, Ms. Mabel Ekeke and titled “Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) – Further Screening Exercise.”

CITY LAWYER gathered from some aspirants that the online interviews were not without hitches, as there were some delays and connectivity issues which prompted the committee to reschedule at least one of the interviews.

Meanwhile, many aspirants who did not receive the emails from ECNBA for “further screening” have expressed worries on their fate, wondering whether they had been shut out of the process.

There were speculations that only aspirants who had queries on their submissions were invited by the ECNBA to clarify the issues via the virtual interviews.

Though CITY LAWYER sought clarification on the issue from ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Ayodele Akintunde SAN, he was yet to respond at press time.

Meanwhile, among those aspirants who had faced the ECNBA Panel at the virtual interviews are Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, and Mr. Jonathan Taidi, all NBA presidential aspirants.

Also grilled by the ECNBA members are aspirants for the position of NBA First Vice President including Linda Rose Bala and Messrs Yakubu Saleh Bawa, Liman Salihu and Idris Doko Muhammad..

A source who is familiar with the process told CITY LAWYER that it was a mandatory screening for the presidential and First Vice presidential aspirants. However, other aspirants who were screened by the ECNBA Panel may have been summoned to clarify some gaps regarding their nominations.

Among the aspirants who confirmed to CITY LAWYER that they had appeared before the ECNBA Screening Panel are Messrs Ede Asenoguan, Collins Ogiegban, Gerald Abonyi, Anthony Chukwurah, Habeeb Akorede Lawal and Felix Ashimole.

Aspirants who told CITY LAWYER that they have not received any invitation from the electoral committee for “further screening” are Messrs Adesina Adegbite, Damian Nosike, Isaac Ogbah, Clement Chukwuemeka, Auta Nyada, Maximus Ugwuoke, Anthony Oseme, Lekan Oladapo, Anthony Nwoye, and Joshua Enemali. Others are Chinyere Obasi, Safiya Balarabe, and Caroline Ladidi-Bishop.

While the aspirants were queried on their documentations by ECNBA members, at least one aspirant said that he was interviewed by the ECNBA secretarial staff on his documents.

There are strong indications that aspirants who were not invited for further clarifications on their nominations may sail through while those who could satisfactorily clarify the queries posed to them by the ECNBA Panel would also get a green light from the electoral committee. This may not be the case for aspirants who have fundamental defects in their nominations.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the screening process has been concluded while aspirants with petitions have been asked to respond to the petitions. The electoral committee is expected to release the list of qualified candidates soon.

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