No less than nine aspirants have filed appeals challenging their disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), CITY LAWYER can report.

Among those who beat the seven-day deadline set by the NBA Constitution are former NBA General Secretary Joyce Oduah, embattled NBA Treasurer Caroline Anze-Bishop, fiery blogger Felix Ashimole, and returnee aspirants Ede Asenoguan, Sabastine Anyia and Chukwuemeka Mbamala.

Others are Dhikrullah Balogun, Jovita Ibekwe and Adejorin Abiona who are gunning for positions as NBA Representatives at the General Council of the Bar (GCB).

Meanwhile, the Appeals Coommittee has started sitting over appeals sent in by disqualified aspirants. The Chairman of the the National Officers’ Election Appeal Committee (NOEAC), Mr. Usman Ogwu Sule SAN has also said that the committee will not invite the ECNBA to defend its disqualification of some aspirants.

In an interview with CITY LAWYER, Sule stated that such procedure in unknown to NBA’s electoral jurisprudence, saying: “No. Our Committee job starts when the ECNBA job ends. That is not a requirement, nor procedure expected of the National Officers’ Appeal Committee.

“The Committee will operate within the NBA Constitution. We will grant all disqualified candidates fair hearing.”

Controversy has trailed some of the ECNBA decisions, especially relating to the submission of Bar Practising Fee receipts, with some lawyers arguing that the issue should turn on whether the aspirant or his nominator paid BPF and not the quality of receipt attached to his nomination form.

CITY LAWYER has now obtained details of the hurdles to be surmounted by each aspirant at the appeals hearing.

Oduah, who is aspiring to be the next NBA President, will answer to having held elective offices for two terms while her seconder omitted to include evidence of payment of 2024 BPF. Anze-Bishop (General Secretary) will confront the charge that she is not in private practice.

Ashimole is accused of having paid his 2024 BPF on 24th December, 2023 while his second nominator submitted a teller dated 29/01/24 in lieu of 2024 BPF.

On his part, Sabastine Anyia, who is gunning for the position of NBA First Vice President, will answer to the charge that the proof of BPF payment for one of the nominators did not carry the name of the nominator.

Asenoguan, who ran for the position of General Secretary in the 2022 Elections, is asking the Appeals Committee to reverse the decision that he failed to add to his nomination, evidence of payment of BPF for year 2024.

Mbamala, a returnee aspirant for the position of Treasurer, has cried foul over the decision that his nominator and seconder’s receipts of payment for BPF had no names on the receipts. Balogun is said not to have attached 2022 branch dues receipt while the nominator did not also attach 2022 branch dues.

For Ibekwe, the ECNBA had resolved that her nominator paid his 2023 branch dues in April and did not submit his evidence of payment of 2024 BPF while the seconder’s receipt of payment of BPF has no name or email address.

Abiona, also an aspirant for the position of GCB Representative, is battling to surmount the charge that his Seconder’s state of origin does not align with his own for the GCB slot

As the committee begins sitting, all the aspirants and their opponents are now all ears for the decision on the appeals.

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