The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) will on July 16, 2022 conduct an election to fill vacancies in the National Executive Council (NEC) and the General Council of the Bar (GCB).
A frenzy of activities and jostling has attended the run-up to the eagerly awaited elections. In this piece, and against the backdrop of release of the Election Guidelines by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA), CITY LAWYER makes a sneak preview of the gladiators that may mount the soap-box to contest the forthcoming elections.
Barring any major shifts, the battle for the NBA Presidency will be a three-legged tussle between Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN and Mr. Jonathan Taidi. While Gadzama is the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC), Maikyau is the Chairman of the NBA Welfare Committee. On his part, Taidi is the immediate past NBA General Secretary. The three gladiators have invariably hit the ‘campaign trail’ on “consultations,” attending sundry meetings and events hosted by NBA branches and regional blocs and generally fraternizing with potential voters while seeking the buy-in of especially influential Bar Leaders and young lawyers on their vision for the Bar. A major issue that is bound to impact the presidential race is the debate over “micro-zoning” of the presidential slot. While the ECNBA’s decision on the issue is eagerly awaited, there is no gainsaying that it will invariably impact the presidential election.
Aside from the presidential race, the election for the post of General Secretary is poised to be a fierce dog-fight between five gladiators. These are Messrs Adesina Adegbite, Desmond Yamah, Ede Asenoguan, Ewenode William and Collins Ogiegbaen. While Adegbite is the penultimate NBA Welfare Secretary, Yamah is a former NBA Abuja Branch Chairman. Asenoguan held sway in NBA Benin Branch as its one-time Chairman while William is the immediate past NBA Assistant General Secretary and former NBA Effurun Branch Secretary. On his part, Ogiegbaen is the immediate past NBA Benin Branch Chairman. It is speculated that unless the Midwest Bar is able to reach a rapprochement among its four aspirants, it may hand the initiative to Adegbite who may poll a block vote from the South West bloc, thus dealing the Midwest Bar a similar hand it unleashed on the Egbe Amofin bloc during the 2014 and 2020 elections that led to the emergence of former NBA President, Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN and current president, Mr. Olumide Akpata. CITY LAWYER gathered that as at this weekend, the talks remained deadlocked, moreso given the factionalization of the Midwest Bar into two strident opposing camps.
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Zoned to the “Northern Zone,” the race for the pivotal seat of NBA First Vice President is between Linda Rose Bala and Messrs Yakubu Saleh Bawa, Idris Doko Muhammad and Liman Salihu. While Bala is former NBA Legal Adviser, Bawa is current Chairman of NBA Jos Branch. On his part, Salihu is former Chairman of NBA Lokoja Branch while Muhammad is of NBA Lagos Branch. Although Bala is seen as having a better name recall and a veteran of NBA politics of sorts, analysts told CITY LAWYER that the other aspirants are “working very hard” to upstage her and neutralize any advantage her earlier involvement in NBA national politics may have afforded her.
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
The post of Second Vice President is zoned to the “Eastern Zone.” CITY LAWYER gathered that while the influential Eastern Bar Forum (EBF) may have ‘micro-zoned’ the slot to the Core East, at least four aspirants may jostle for the position. Among the gladiators are the immediate past NBA Bwari Branch Chairman, Mr. Clement Chukwuemeka (aka “Democrats”); his NBA Owerri Branch counterpart, Mr. Damian Nosike; Dr. Gerald Abonyi, pioneer NBA Obollo-Afor Branch Chairman who was disqualified during the last general election, and Mr. Anthony Chukwurah, former NBA Gwagwalada Branch Secretary. Sources however told CITY LAWYER that three more aspirants – a university teacher from Awka Branch, a former branch chairman from Ezeagu Branch and yet another branch chairman from Mbano or Mbaise branch – may yet join the fray. The EBF has set up a Screening Committee to grill the aspirants and make recommendations to it.
THIRD VICE PRESIDENT
Zoned to the “Western Zone” comprising the eight States in the Egbe Amofin O’odua and Midwest Bar forums, the race is a straight fight between former NBA Ota Branch Chairman, Mr. Isaac Omuta Ogbah and Mr. Promise Ademi-Akpeto, his NBA Sapele Branch counterpart. Ademi-Akpeto is the current Treasurer of Midwest Bar Forum and was recently listed as having expressed interest in being appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Both former NBA Ikorodu Branch Chairman, Mr. Bayo Akinlade and Siyanbola Ganiyat Adetutu who were rumoured to have interest in the position told CITY LAWYER that there is no truth in the speculation. Adetutu lost the race for the position of First Vice President in the last election.
The position of Treasurer is an all-comers affair, as it is not zoned to any particular bloc. Viewed as an influential position in NBA matters – moreso with the wiping off of the post of Financial Secretary – the race is poised to be between four aspirants, including former NBA Assistant Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chuks Mbamala of NBA Enugu Branch; current NBA Epe Branch Vice Chairman and NBA-SPIDEL Committee Treasurer, Funmi Adeogun; Caroline Ladidi Anze-Bishop, former Vice Chairman and former NEC Representative, NBA Bukuru Branch, and Safiya Balarabe of Lafia Branch.
The position of Welfare Secretary is also not zoned to any bloc. Among those said to be jostling for the post former NBA Assistant Secretary, Chinyere Obasi; NBA Welfare Committee member and co-opted NEC member, Mr. Auta Nyada and current NBA Aba Branch Vice Chairman, Mr. Victor Onweremadu. CITY LAWYER reliably gathered that at least four aspirants may eventually make the ballot.
The position of Publicity Secretary is not zoned to any bloc. This is a tripodal race between the immediate past Assistant Publicity Secretary, Mr. Habeeb Akorede Lawal; current NBA Welfare Committee Secretary, Ogaga Emoghwanre, and the latest entrant, Mr. Felix Chukwuma Ashimole (aka Che Oyinatumba), a former NBA Bwari Branch Secretary and former Member of NBA Anti-Corruption Committee.
ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY
The position of Assistant General Secretary is also not zoned to any bloc. This race may present a crowded field of aspirants. They include current NBA Ikorodu Branch Secretary, Mr. Oluwaseun Aka; incumbent NBA Ilorin Branch Secretary, Mr. Dhikrullah Adewale Balogun; Mr. Daniel Kip of Calabar; Mr. Oseme Peremene Anthony, former NBA Idemili Branch Chairman; Mr. Ayo Scott, former NBA Ughelli Branch Chairman, and one A. O. Abba of NBA Minna Branch.
ASSISTANT PUBLICITY SECRETARY
The position of Assistant Publicity Secretary is also not zoned to any bloc. While this may be a straight fight between Mr. Charles Ajiboye who also contested for the position during the last election and Mr. Akachukwu Nwoye, current NBA Gwagwalada Branch Secretary, CITY LAWYER gathered that other aspirants are waiting in the wings to join the race.
CITY LAWYER reliably gathered that two former branch chairmen and a former branch secretary are among those gunning to represent the NBA at the General Council of the Bar.
It remains to be seen how the permutations will play out as the elections draw closer.
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