IMPEACHMENT: ODUAH KNOWS FATE TODAY, ASKS NEC MEMBERS TO SHUN MOVE
- PHOTO EXCLUDED IN NEC BUNDLE
The fate of the suspended General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association Joyce Oduah will be decided today by the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA-NEC).
The NBA-NEC meeting holds today at 4 pm at the Eko Atlantic City, Lagos, venue of this year’s NBA Annual General Conference (AGC).
Meanwhile, Oduah’s photograph is conspicuously absent from the list of National Executive Committee members as listed in the NEC Bundle sent to members for today’s meeting. It has been replaced with the photograph of Acting General Secretary, Ms. Uche Nwadialo. The notice for the NEC Meeting issued by the suspended General Secretary is however retained while her photograph also adorns the AGC Programme as “General Secretary,” perhaps due to logistical challenges.
CITY LAWYER recalls that NBA National Officers had in a unanimous decision resolved to suspend Oduah from her position, accusing her of gross misconduct. NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata recused himself from the meeting, given his face-off with Oduah. The National Officers had also resolved to recommend Oduah to the NBA-NEC for “removal from office for gross misconduct.”
In an email to NBA members obtained by CITY LAWYER informing them of the resolution to suspend Oduah as General Secretary and signed by nine of the 11 NBA National Executive Committee members, the committee stated that the suspension was based on “weighty allegations against the General Secretary, Mrs Joyce Oduah in particular her acts of alleged disobedience to the President, the National Executive Council of the Association (NBA-NEC) and the National Executive Committee.”
The Committee also stated that “At the end of the deliberations, the National Executive Committee by a unanimous decision, resolved to refer the General Secretary, Mrs Joyce Oduah to NBA-NEC for disciplinary action under the provisions of section 20(1) of the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended in 2021) and to recommend her removal from office for gross misconduct.”
Oduah has however fought back, dragging NBA to the Federal High Court. Her attempt to secure interim reliefs and superintend over the NBA Secretariat at today’s meeting failed as the court refused to grant her interim reliefs. The matter has been adjourned to Tuesday for hearing of her Motion on Notice.
Meanwhile, Oduah has urged NBA-NEC members to refrain from taking any action that may lead to her removal as General Secretary, citing the court case.
Writing on Oduah’s behalf to members of the NBA National Executive Council (NEC), her Lead Counsel and former Chief of Staff to NBA President, Mr. Muritala Abdul-rasheed SAN blamed Akpata from Oduah’s travails.
In an email sent yesterday to all NBA-NEC members among others, Abdul-rasheed stated that the suspended NBA General Secretary “received notice of a purported resolution passed by the Members of the National Executive Committee the NBA under the supervision and manipulation of Mr. Olumide Akpata, the 31st President of the Nigerian Bar Association.”
Dated August 18, 2022, the email was copied to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, NBA Trustees, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria, members of the Body of Benchers, National Executive Committee members, chairmen and secretaries of NBA branches, co-opted NBA-NEC members, past NBA National Officers, and all NBA members.
Abdul-rasheed argued that the suspension of a National Officer “is not contemplated by the Constitution of the NBA,” adding that “members of the Executive Committee have no vires to discipline or suspend our client from office as they purport to do in their misguided resolution.”
He prayed the NBA-NEC members to respect the pending case, noting that Oduah is “the center gravity and engine room of NBA-NEC meetings” and that “The purported suspension of our client was illegally carried out.”
The email which was titled “RE: SUIT NO : FHC /ABJ/CS/1426 /2022 Between: Mrs . Joyce Oduah V . The Incorp. Trustees of the NBA,” noted that the matter came up for hearing last Thursday, adding that “At the proceedings, the Incoorporated (sic) Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association was represented by Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN, while Mr. Olumide Akpata, the President of the NBA, was in Court in person and represented by Mr. Godwin Omoaka, SAN. The Defendants therefore are aware of the pendency of the action.”
Noting that NBA’s core objective “is promotion and protection of the principles of rule of law and respect for fundamental rights, human rights and people’s rights, Oduah’s counsel stated that “we have our client’s instruction to to respectfully pray the NBA-NEC thus:
i. that all steps be taken by the NEC to ensure the pending litigation and proceedings of the Honourable Court is respected;
ii. that all parties to the pending litigation respect the rule of law and desist from taking any steps, action(s), move motion(s) and/or pass resolution(s) and/or not doing anything capable of jeopardizing and/or disrespecting the pending proceedings before the Honourable Court; and
iii. that the subject matter of the pending litigation, which is now caught by the doctrine of les pendens, is not discussed, put to vote, motion(s), resolution(s) and/or decided upon by the NEC.”
In a veiled reference to Akpata, Abdul-rasheed prayed that “NEC will NOT allow any member, no matter how highly placed or influential, to surreptitiously move her to take any of the above actions.”
To join our Telegram platform, please click here
COPYRIGHT 2022 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag. To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email email@example.com or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.