The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) early today released a list of aspirants who have been provisionally cleared to contest the 2020 NBA National Officers Elections. In a statement posted on the verified NBA official website and signed by Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN and Cordelia Eke, the ECNBA Chairman and Secretary respectively, the committee stated that it received nominations from 43 aspirants for various offices.

The ECNBA noted in the statement dated June 12, 2020 that “At the close of the screening of nominations by a sub-committee of Electoral officers of the ECNBA in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended) and the Guidelines for the elections made pursuant thereto, twenty-four (24) Aspirants were granted provisional clearance to contest the elections, while nineteen (19) Aspirants were disqualified for various reasons.”

Though the committee did not state the reasons for the disqualifications nor the names of disqualified aspirants, it added that “The disqualified Aspirants have been duly notified of the decision of the electoral officers and their right of Appeal.” The ECNBA also stated that “Any information or objection relevant to the final decision on the eligibility status of the candidates, with supporting documents (where necessary) should reach the ECNBA via email to not later than 4.00PM on the 17th day of June, 2020.”

CITY LAWYER investigations however show that several Bar heavyweights including two incumbent National Officers fell under the ECNBA hammer. Meanwhile, at least three aspirants may coast to victory without firing a shot, no thanks to the disqualification of their opponents. The aspirants that may be returned unopposed include those for the posts of Treasurer, Publicity Secretary and Financial Secretary.

Among those who were hit by the screening exercise is fiery presidential aspirant and former NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana. While his three other competitors were cleared, Ogunlana’s name was conspicuously missing from the list of cleared aspirants.

Another big casualty is incumbent Second Assistant Secretary Chinyere Obasi, who was gunning for the post of Welfare Secretary. Her disqualification, if sustained, may brighten the chances for incumbent Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun and returnee aspirant, Sabastine Anyia who contested for the position at the last elections. There are indications that another aspirant for the post, Osehon Irehovbude may have also been disqualified.

Also caught in the web of the disqualification exercise is incumbent Assistant Publicity Secretary, Mr. Akorede Habeeb Lawal who was aspiring for the substantive post of Publicity Secretary. The same fate was suffered by Olayinka Sokoya, thus leaving Dr. Rapulu Ernest Nduka as the solitary aspirant for the position.

CITY LAWYER investigations show that the influential and often heatedly contested position of Treasurer may also be clinched without a fight by returnee aspirant, Mercy Ijato Agada following the disqualification of staunch NBA Ikeja Branch bar-woman, Caroline Ibharuneafe. The same is true of the post of Financial Secretary where only Raphael Anagor has been given the all-clear to head for the polls.

Also affected by the wave of disqualifications is prominent Bar-man and Ikorodu Branch power-broker, Mr. S. O. K. Shillings. He was gunning for the post of First Vice President. Another big casualty from the branch is its former Chairman, Mr. Adedotun Habeeb Adetunji who was also vying for the same position.

Meanwhile, the NBA may be bereft of a Third Vice President, as the two aspirants who may have filed their nominations for the position fell under the NBA hammer. They include Messrs Gerald Abonyi and Promise Wobo Iwezor.

The position of Assistant Secretary is likely to be keenly contested, as all three aspirants were given the green light by the ECNBA. They include returnee aspirant Anne Agi, former NBA Lagos Branch Social Secretary, Uche Nwadialo and Osagie Oaikhena of Benin Branch.

It was also a gale of disqualifications among the rank of aspirants for the post of Assistant Publicity Secretary, as three of no less than five aspirants kissed the dust. These include Messrs Henry Chibuike Ugwu of Ihiala Branch, Oladotun Hassan of Epe Branch and Charles Ajiboye of Ikeja Branch.

Meanwhile, three of the presidential aspirants have been cleared to contest for the coveted post, including Mr. Dele Adesina SAN, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Olumide Akpata. All the aspirants for the position of General Secretary were also given the green light to head into the elections. They include Alex Muoka, Joyce Oduah, Okey Ohagba, Nnaemeka Bath Aniche and Christopher Yakemewerigha.

CITY LAWYER investigations show that many of the disqualified aspirants will contest the ECNBA decisions by filing appeals against their disqualification.

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