An appeal by an aspirant for the post of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2nd Vice President has been dismissed by the Nigerian Bar Association Appeals Committee headed by renowned chartered arbitrator, Mrs. Funmi Roberts.

The decision on the appeal filed by Mr. Finian Eze Ndukwu may also be a pointer to how the other appeals by other disqualified aspirants may be resolved by the committee.

In the decision obtained by CITY LAWYER, the committee stated that the sole issue for determination was “Whether upon consideration of the omissions in the Appellant’s Nomination Form constituting the basis for the rejection thereof and his disqualification thereby, the Appellant’s appeal is not devoid of merit and liable to being dismissed.”

It held that “It is therefore, our finding that the failures or omissions by the Appellant, his Nominator and Seconder in filling in those fundamental pages, portions, spaces, columns etc in the Appellant’s Nomination Form are not mere irregularities but failure to fulfil or supply to the ECNBA, facts/answers that would have aided ECNBA to determine his eligibility or otherwise for the position of office of the 2nd Vice President of NBA, in the 2022 General Elections.”

“We are in full agreement with the submissions by the ECNBA at page 2 lines 13, 21, and 24 of its Reply to the Appellant’s Appeal, that having failed to proffer answers to questions vii, viii, x, xi, xii, xiii, xiv, xv, xvi, xvii, and xviii of his Nomination Norm, which would have demonstrated his eligibility under the provisions of Part VIII(c), (d), (e) of the Second Schedule and Section 4(a), (b), (c), of the Constitution, the ECNBA was right to have rejected the nomination of the Appellant, and in consequence of that rejection, disqualify the Appellant pursuant to part I, paragraph 6, Second Schedule to the Constitution of the NBA2015, as amended in 2021.”

Bringing its final hammer on the quest by the aspirant to reverse the decision of the ECNBA, the Appeals Committee said: “The Appellant’s contention that he should have been notified of the errors, and that by not notifying him, his right to fair hearing is breached, is of no moment.

“The ECNBA is not clothed with such vires and more so, the Appellant was given the same opportunity as other aspirants to fill the Nomination Form properly, before submitting them. In Ayoade vs State (2020) 9 NWLR (pt 1730) 577 ratio 3 at pages 583 – 584, the Supreme Court held that:

“A party cannot and should not complain of breach of his right to fair hearing where he refused to avail himself as in the instant case, of the opportunity provided under the law to present his case. Darma Vs Eco Bank Plc. (2017) 9 NWLR (pt 1571) referred to………” See also C.M & E.S Ltd. (2020) 1 NWLR (pt 1704) 70 ratio 8 at page 78.

“It is upon the foregoing that this Committee resolves the sole issue against the Appellant and accordingly, his Appeal is hereby dismissed for lacking merit.”

It is recalled that the Appellant, an aspirant to the office of 2nd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA/Association) in the 2022 National Elections of the Association, was disqualified by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) for failure to fill pages 4, 5, and 6 of the Nomination Form, and that his Nominator and Seconder did not fill pages 10 – 12 and 16 – 18.

The NBA Election is scheduled to hold on July 16, 2022.

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