EXCLUSIVE: US VENDOR TO CONDUCT NBA ELECTIONS, AS COMPLAINTS MAR VOTERS’ LIST

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

  • OJUKWU CALLS NEW VOTERS’ LIST A ‘FRAUD’

  • ‘INTERNATIONAL DIASPORA’ LISTED AS NBA BRANCH

  • OBOLLO AFOR JUMPS FROM 39 TO 662 MEMBERS

  • ECNBA ASSURES VOTERS AGAIN

A United States based electronic voting company will conduct the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

This puts to rest all speculations regarding whether the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) will deploy the controversial NBA Election Portal for the election. The NBA portal is alleged to be fraught with many gaps that can be exploited to rig the election.

CITY LAWYER gathered that though there were pressures on the electoral committee to deploy the NBA Portal, the members opted for a vendor with proven track record in e-voting, emphasizing that their reputations were at stake.

Meanwhile, it is not yet uhuru for the final list of verified voters released today by the electoral committee, as cases of missing names and padding still ravage the latest list. This is notwithstanding that 9, 686 names were purged from the “final list” of 39, 321 eligible voters to bring the current verified figure to 29, 635.

A case in point is Obollo Afor Branch which jumped from a meager 39 members on the previous list to a whopping 662 on the latest list. An amorphous branch called “International Diaspora” has no less than 87 names on the voters’ list, while over 4, 500 names had no branches listed against them.

Commenting on the current crisis, former NBA presidential candidate, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu said: “Nigerian Bar Association 2020 – The Electoral Committee’s final list of accredited voters is a fraud! Names have been included in Branches where such names don’t exist as members. We are ready to vote on a platform of fraud again!!!”

But in its latest statement on the complaints, the ECNBA said: 

On this 29/7/2020, the ECNBA circulated the list of accredited voters for the NBA National Officers election 2020 slated to commence at 11:00PM of Wednesday, 29/7/2020.

Members are assured that the unique identifier of each voter to be able to vote remains the enrollment number which is peculiar to each voter.

The ECNBA received complaints of members being placed in branches other than their own. This situation is regretted, but arose because members in the course of verification did not fully update information on their current branches and or sex and consequently were assigned the default positions (place holder) on the verification platform.

Members are advised to proceed to vote and disregard any such branches and or sex assigned to them as these do not bear on eligibility, convenience or result of the elections.

Members may wish to update their details on the membership portal of the NBA after the elections. In respect of omitted names, please see the ECNBA previous statements, more particularly ECNBA Statement No.018

Remember ballot opens at 11.00pm today, happy voting.

One Odufa itemized some of the issues that bedevil the voters list as follows:
1. Uromi Branch which had 45 eligible voters on the final lost after the verification only 20 names were released out of which only 9 are actual members while the other 11 are unknown Yoruba names.

2. A branch Called “International Diaspora ” has 87 fictitious names. From number 12182 – number 12268 on the just released Verified List.

3. One Mr. Iredia Osifo who didn’t pay his practicing fees or Branch dues found his name on the just released Verified List. See No 5793.

4. Miss. Yat Ulan Amos didn’t pay her branch dues but her name appeared on the Verified List. See Number 3535.
5. The Aba branch had 435 names on the final list but now have over 471 names on the Verified List.

6. Members of the Isiokpo Branch discovered only 48 names of their members were released on the Verified List as against the 84 names that were previously published on the Final voter’s list.

7. Ikorodu Branch which had about 233 names on the previously released voter’s list now has only 132 names. Leaving over 100 members disenfranchised.

8. Sapele branch was formerly 100 names now 70 names out of which 20 are not branch members.

THE HANKY-PANKY OF ECNBA 2020
My attention has been drawn to the last and most recent provisional list of eligible voters published this afternoon by the ECNBA 2020 in preparation for voting which will commence by 11:00pm today. As expected, it behooves on me to check and confirm that my name and that of my colleagues in the Uyo Branch are included.

To my greatest chagrin, my name was not found in the list, and some of my colleagues who also did not find their names have called me to question why their names are omitted when they conspicuously made it to the first and second provisional list earlier published by the ECNBA 2020.

This unfortunate development raises a very serious requisition as to the competence and credibility of the ECNBA 2020 in conducting a free and fair election in the face of abundant malpractices and omissions observed by some members of our Association.

My observations are as follows:

1. Majority of members of Uyo Branch of NBA who were conspicuously listed in the first and second provisional list earlier published, who also ensured they were verified in preparation to participate in the election today, are not found in the third but last provisional list published this afternoon.

2. The names of colleagues and members who did not make it to the first or second provisional list, who as at the 31st day of March, 2020, did not pay their BPF and Branch dues, talk more of being verified, are rather miraculously included in the third but last provisional list published this afternoon.

3. As the Assistant Secretary of Uyo Branch of NBA who has knowledge of members of the Branch, it is also very shocking that some of the names allotted by the ECNBA to form the list of eligible voters from Uyo Branch are strange and unknown to our secretariat.

4. Finally, the names and branches of eligible voters in the first and second provisional list earlier published by the ECNBA were arranged alphabetically for easy readability and identification of members, compared to the third but last provisional list published this afternoon, wherein names are scattered randomly with no orderly compilation, and thousands of other names are just mentioned on the list without alloting them to their various registered Branches for easy identification and confirmation.

In the face of these unfortunate and worrisome observations, more so in consideration of voting which will commence by 11:00pm today, one will ponder on the kind of hanky-panky the ECNBA 2020 is displaying. It is unfortunate that the would be eligible voters have been disenfranchised and non-eligible and strange names have been enfranchised to vote today starting from 11:00pm.

My confidence in the ECNBA 2020 is bleak.

Udeme Rivers
Assistant Secretary
NBA, Uyo

Which one is “international diaspora “. I thought to be eligible to vote, a person must belong to a Bar Branch in Nigeria.

IMPORTANT NOTICE!!!

Dear All,

The ECNBA has just released a list of Accredited Voters of 29,635 names, which is attached below for ease of reference.

Kindly go through the list and ascertain that you name is contained therein. If your name had previously been on the Fnal Voters List as released by the ECNBA and now omitted from this newly released one, kindly send me an email urgently at: nbalagoschairman@gmail.com.

Please note that by the newly released statement from the ECNBA, campaigns are hereby suspended forthwith. Therefore, all members are urged not further post any campaign material on the platforms.

Kind regards
Yemi Akangbe
Chairman, NBA Lagos.

U. Emiri

This list is riddled with errors, most oleh branch lawyers are listed under ughelli branch. This is so disheartening, that ECNBA is not able to get it right this time again.

Caleb Adebayo

Just like we suspected, the ECNBA has repeatedly revealed its incompetence. And to think they kept acting like they had everything under control. So many errors in the list!

Good evening, Tawo Tawo (SAN), Chairman, ECNBA.

I am Samuel Chukwuemeka Odoh Esq, chairman of Sapele Branch, and I am writing you, for and on behalf of the entire members of the Sapele Branch of the NBA.

We hereby, unequivocally register the *PROTEST of the entire members of our branch on the monumental travesty done to our branch. Our members have just gone through the so-called final list of voters published by you a few hours ago.

After a very thorough perusal of the list of indicated for Sapele Branch, we were shocked to find that only 70 (seventy) names were published out over 100 (one hundred) names published in the provisional names! Our members who successfully verified are over 100 (one hundred)!

To make matters doubly worse, the 70 (seventy) names published this evening contains 20 (twenty) names who are neither known to us nor our members! We believe they are fictitious names added under our column to perpetrate fraud in this elections!

We therefore protest vehemently and demand that the situation be resolved immediately.

If our above demand cannot be granted, we hereby call for an outright CANCELATION or POSTPONEMENT of the election to a future date, as it is obvious that you are ill prepared to carry out this sacred for which you were appointed!

Thanks.

S. C. Odoh Esq.
Chairman, NBA Sapele Branch.

A PLOY TO DISENFRANCHISE MEMBERS OF THE NBA, SAPELE BRANCH FROM EXERCISING THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN THE NBA, 2020 ELECTION.
I am OKE ODINDE, ESQ, the YLF Chairman, Ex-Publicity Secretary of NBA, Sapele Branch and the “I.T Man” of NBA, Sapele Branch. I worked with the immediate past Chairman of the Branch to prepare eligible names of Branch Members and same was sent to ECNBA.

When the ECNBA released the provisional list containing the names of our eligible voters, we had 115 eligible voters from our Branch.

It is very unfortunate to state that the numbers of eligible voters of our Branch has been reduced in the just published ACCREDITED LIST.

On the said accredited list are 70 supposed names of Sapele Branch Members but the reality is that 20 names stated on the list are not members of the Sapele Branch.

Names of Persons stated to be Sapele Baranch Members on the ECNBA ACCREDITED LIST (but in actual sense are not Members); are listed hereunder.
1. BABADIDI, MELE JASCO
2. OMORDIA, NGOZI OBIAGELI
3. SAKA, RASAK AYODEJI
4. DUROSINMI, ETTI LOOKMAN
5. CHIGBO, CHINONSO FESTUS
6. AKPORHONOR, EMILY ONOME
7. ADENIRAN, ABAYOMI ADEYEMI
8. ADEJOH, JIBRIN YUSUF
9. OJIAKU, STANLEY ARINZECHUKWU
10. OBAWEYA, TAIWO FOLUKE
11. ANAENUGWU, ANTHONY CHUKWUEMEKA
12. EKWALE, SARAH OCHUKO
13. OVEDHE, NATHAN TIMOTHY
14. MARTINOS, FRANCIS OLUYOMI
15. AKEREDOLU, YEWANDE YINKA
16. CHEGWE, WEYIMI ANITA
17. AKEREDOLU, YEWANDE YINKA
18. GESE, IORSE SIMON
19. OKWUAGBALA, UCHE IRUOMA
20. GOLD, KHADIJAT KUBURA

This is a ploy to disenfranchise our Branch Members.
Our questions are
1. What happened to the Provisional List that contains the complete names of eligible voters.
2. Why would the ECNBA add names not in the Sapele Branch to the Sapele Branch List?
3. Why would the ECNBA reduce the Sapele Branch Members from 115 to 52 Members?
This is unacceptable…
OKE ODINDE ESQ.
NBA, SAPELE BRANCH, YLF CHAIRMAN

THE YLF CHAIRMAN, NWABAA CLINTON AMONG OVER A HUNDRED VOTERS FROM IKORODU BRANCH, DECRIES HIS RUTHLESS DISENFRANCHISEMENT BY THE ECNBA 3 HOURS TO NBA NATIONAL ELECTIONS; CALLS FOR RECTIFICATION OF THE ACCREDITED VOTERS LIST BEFORE THE VOTING EXERCISE.

“My name is Nwabaa Clinton O. I’m a lawyer and an active member of NBA Ikorodu branch and also the present chairman young lawyers forum, Ikorodu branch.

The NBA Ikorodu falls within 11507-11639 that means that the only accredited voters of my branch are 132 leaving well over 100 active voters disenfranchised.

I hereby raised objection to this election and as well put NBA on notice to show cause why the election should be held as I’m disenfranchised.

Shola Abiloye

Something to keep us busy until 11pm tonight. Collating the list of accredited voters in alphabetical order should be the simplest of things for the ECNBA. Why punish people because they want to vote?

Uche Ogwo

I have zoomed and zoomed and peered into and around this list, i have checked for my name and maiden name and both are not there!!!!!. I did all including the verification and got a mail saying I was verified and I CAN’T SEE MY NAME!!!. Let me not be hasty please if anyone sees Uchenna Chinyere Ogwo or Uchenna Chinyere Nweke, kindly notify me because I MUST VOTE!!!. Why my name must always be omitted is totally beyond my understanding 🤷♀️🤦

Raqeebah Oloko

Thank you so much. I have seen it. They didn’t put it under Lagos Branch and when you type search it wont come up.

Thank you yinka for saving me the trouble as I have started writing to ecnba. No time to waste when election is just less than 3hrs away

SIMPLE I. DIOHA

Good evening Sir.

I have gone through the Isiokpo Branch list and discovered that out of the original about 84 names published in all the previous lists, we now have only 48 names published.

I suspect serious mischief in the exercise because many of those whose names were omitted did their verification in my presence.

For example one IZEOMA ORLU-AKWU did her verification in my presence. Now she could not find her name in this present list despite her name had appeared in all the previous lists.

Please urgent attention is needed.

Thanks.

SIMPLE I. DIOHA, ESQ.
NBA, ISIOKPO BRANCH, RIVERS STATE.

NBA ELECTIONS: ECNBA TO MEET CANDIDATES TOMORROW

The Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) has made good its promise to meet with candidates in the forthcoming NBA Elections. The electoral committee in a statement scheduled the meeting to hold tomorrow at 5 pm.

The sole agenda for the meeting is “Update on the Elections.”

The full text of the statement is below:

Please TAKE NOTICE that the ECNBA would be holding an online interactive session with all Candidates in the NBA National Officers Election 2020, Bar leaders, and Stakeholders.

Details of the meeting are as follows:

Date: Monday, the 27th day of July 2020.

Time: 5.00 PM

Agenda: Update on the Elections

Dial-in details will be sent by email to participants.

Dated this 26th Day of July 2020.

Cordelia U. Eke (Mrs)

Secretary, ECNBA

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag 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.

NBA ELECTION: OGUNLANA VOWS TO FORGE AHEAD WITH MAIN SUIT

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Former Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana has vowed to go ahead with a lawsuit to determine his eligibility for the forthcoming NBA National Election, saying today’s ruling by a Lagos High Court sitting at Ikeja did not tamper with his right to institute the substantive action.

Though Ogunlana’s telephone numbers were switched off when CITY LAWYER attempted to contact him, his close aide and RAMINBA Secretary, Mr. Ayo Ademiluyi, said there is “serious misconception” regarding the court ruling, adding that “our main claim is very much alive.”

He said that the movement will proceed to conclude the Pre Action protocols within the next seven days before filing the substantive suit “to determine whether Mr. Ogunlana was validly excluded from the race and whether any NBA Chairman can on his own issue a Letter of Good Standing or refuse same as he wills.”

It is recalled that the court had dismissed Ogunlana’s application asking it to set aside his disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) or restrain the defendants from conducting the NBA Elections without his inclusion in the race. The electoral body had disqualified the former branch chieftain on the ground that his nomination forms did not include a “Letter of Good Standing” from his branch chairman.

But the Nigerian Bar Association asked the court to dismiss the suit. Represented by high-profile lawyer, Dr. Paul Ananaba SAN, the NBA brought a Notice of Preliminary Objection pursuant to Order 43 (Rule 1) of the Civil Procedure Rules 2019 of the High Court of Lagos State and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court. The motion was served on the Lead Counsel for Ogunlana, Mr. Dare Akande at exactly 6:12 pm yesterday. The matter is slated for hearing today before Justice Adedayo Oyebanji.

The Respondents are Incorporated Trustees of Nigeria Bar Association; Mr. Paul Usoro SAN (President of the Nigerian Bar Association); Mr. Jonathan Taidi (General Secretary, Nigeria Bar Association); and Professor (sic) Tawo Tawo SAN, Chairman, Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association. Others are ECNBA Secretary, Cordelia Eke, Esq. and Dele Oloke, Esq (immediate past chairman of Ikeja Branch of Nigerian Bar Association).

Marked as Suit No. ID/4015GCM/2020, Ogunlana is praying for “An interlocutory order of this honourable court directing and compelling the Defendants, to include the name of the Claimant/Applicant in the list of candidates to contest for the Office of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association in the 2020 National Officers’ Elections and allowing same to contest pending the determination of the Motion on Notice in this matter.”

In the alternative, the disqualified NBA presidential aspirant is seeking “AN ORDER of injunction restraining the Defendants from conducting elections into the office of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, without including the name of the Claimant as a candidate on the 29th and 30th July, 2020 or on any other date pending the determination of the Motion on Notice in the matter.”

Filed on July 9, 2020 Ogunlana revealed in a broadcast on his verified Facebook handle that the matter has been assigned to Justice Adedayo Oyebanji of Ikeja High Court, adding that the court has penciled down the case for hearing “due to its urgent nature.” He reassured his supporters to “keep hope alive,” adding that though the election has been scheduled for 29th and 30th July, 2020, “nothing is sacrosanct.”

Ogunlana listed four grounds to justify his lawsuit, stating that
(i) The 4th and 5th Defendants/respondents’ electoral body, the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) claimed to have disqualified the claimant contesting the election because his Nomination Forms did not include a letter of Good Standing from the 6th defendant, the then Chairman of his branch, the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association as required by the constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association.

(ii) The claimant brought an Appeal based on the objection raised by the 4th and 5th Defendants as stated earlier above in paragraph 1 but his appeal was dismissed based on a completely different issue, and which is applicable to the appeal or case of the claimant.

(iii) The ground of dismissing the Appeal founded in section 8(3)(c) of the NBA Constitution 2015(as amended) vis-a-vis the issue raised and the absence of any evidence to show that the report of the insurance committee if Ikeja Branch of NBA has been set aside “is disjointed from the ground of Appeal itself, which is based on the Appeal against disqualification for absence of letter of Good Standing in the Nomination packet of the Claimant/Applicant.

(iv) The Claimant /Applicant will suffer irreparable loss if this honourable court declines the order sought.”

It is recalled that Ogunlana has had a cat-and-mouse relationship with the electoral body following his initial disqualification from the presidential race. Though he appealed the disqualification, claiming that Oloke lacked the power to withhold his “Letter of Good Standing,” the ECNBA dismissed his appeal as lacking in merit.

NBA ELECTIONS: ELECTORAL C’TE CLEARS ADESINA, AJIBADE, AKPATA, BARS 15 OTHERS

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

• WITHDRAWS CLEARANCE TO GENERAL SECRETARY ASPIRANT
• DISQUALIFIES 2 INCUMBENT NATIONAL OFFICERS
• SETS JULY 15 DEADLINE FOR VERIFICATION
• VOWS TO DISQUALIFY CANDIDATES WHO FLOUT CAMPAIGN RULES
• SETS MONDAY DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF MANIFESTOS
• ASKS CANDIDATES TO DISMANTLE PARALLEL HELP DESKS

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has released the list of candidates to contest the forthcoming NBA National Officers Elections.

While 28 candidates – including three presidential candidates – made the final list, 15 aspirants could not pass through the crucible of the screening process, including two incumbent national officers.

While 19 aspirants were initially disqualified by the electoral committee, 18 filed appeals while one opted not to file any appeal. The ECNBA withdrew the initial provisional clearance granted an aspirant for the post of General Secretary, Barth Okoye-Aniche following a petition, while five aspirants succeeded with their appeals.

CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report noted concerns among some disqualified aspirants over the delay in the screening process and the promise by the electoral committee to fast-track the appeals process.

In its ECNBA Statement No. 13 titled “Full List of properly nominated candidates for the NBA National Elections 2020 and verification of members,” the electoral committee stated that “Having concluded the Appeals process, the ECNBA now presents a list of 28 candidates cleared to contest various offices in the NBA National Officers Elections 2020.” The statement was dated July 3, 2020 and jointly signed by Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN and Mrs. Cordelia Eke, ECNBA Chairman and Secretary respectively.

CANDIDATES LIST

It urged the candidates to “submit an A4 size copy of his/her curriculum vitae (of not more than 4 pages), a comprehensive manifesto and other campaign materials (all in electronic form) on or before 6:00PM on Monday 6th July 2020, for upload on the NBA website.”

The committee emphasized that “campaigns can only be carried out by publication of campaign materials supplied to the ECNBA to be hoisted on the NBA website,” warning specifically that “Travelling across the country to solicit for votes is prohibited.” The committee warned candidates to abide by the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended) and the ECNBA Guidelines in their electioneering campaigns, vowing that “Any violation of these will be severely sanctioned including disqualification from contesting the elections.”

On the controversial final voters register, the committee emphasized “the need for members to verify and update their details on the NBA website on or before the 15th day of July, 2020. This is to ensure that everyone can access the voting portal during the elections as only those who are verified can vote.”

Leading human rights activist and former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu had poked holes in the voters register, saying: “After 2 #RiggedElections, @NigBarAssoc seems well on its way to a 3rd. The voters list produced by#ECNBA appears riddled wth some impressive non-persons. Voter No. 5500 is a person called “Opening Balance”?! There’s a way to stop this: verify the names with reference to receipts.”

Turning to the issue of parallel help desks set up by some candidates, the electoral committee frowned on the practice, describing it as “unacceptable.” “We advise that such efforts be dismantled immediately not to interfere with the mandate of the Committee, confuse our members or be interpreted as attempts to harvest members’ details for use at the elections,” it said. It urged eligible voters to rely instead on the Help Desk set up by the NBA to assist members having challenges with the verification process.

Among those cleared to run for the elections are Mr. Dele Adesina SAN, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Olumide Akpata who will battle for the coveted NBA Presidency slot. The position of First Vice President remains the most crowded field, with six candidates cleared for the race. They include John Aikpokpo-Martins, Oluwaseun Ajoba, Adebayo Akinlade, Adedotun Adetunji, Ganiat Siyonbola and Dawud Sulayman. Siyonbola was not in the list of aspirants provisionally cleared for the election.

While the race for Second Vice President is a straight fight between Adesola Abimbola and Kazeem Adeyemo, both aspirants for the position of Third Vice President – Promise Wobo Iwezor and Gerald Abonyi – failed to scale the screening hurdle.

With Barth Okoye-Aniche haven fallen by the way-side, the race for the influential post of General Secretary is now between Alex Muoka, Joyce Oduah, Okey Ohagba and Christopher Yakemewerigha. The battle for the post of Assistant Secretary remains unchanged, with three combatants – Anne Agi, Uche Nwadialo and Aigbokhai Osagie – cleared for the race.

Returnee candidate Mercy Ijato Agada and Raphael Anagor have clinched the positions of Treasurer and Financial Secretary respectively without a fight. While Caroline Ibharuneafe who sought the post of Treasurer fell under the disqualification hammer, Anagor seemed the solitary applicant for the post of Financial Secretary.

With incumbent Second Assistant Secretary Chinyere Obasi and Osahon Irehovbude having been disqualified by the electoral committee, the race for the post of Welfare Secretary promises to be a fierce battle between incumbent National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun and returnee candidate, Sabastine Anyia.

Following a successful appeal and the reinstatement of his name on the ballot, Olayinka Sokoya will slug it out with Rapuluchukwu Nduka for the post of Publicity Secretary while four candidates – President Aigbokhan, Charles Ajiboye, Ferdinand Naza and Dominic Ochenehi – will battle for the position of Assistant Publicity Secretary. While Ajiboye and Ochenehi had appealed their disqualification by the electoral committee, leading to their reinstatement in the race, Henry Chibuike Ugwu of Ihiala Branch and Oladotun Hassan of Epe Branch did not succeed with their appeals.

Among those who were also disqualified are controversial former Ikeja Branch Chairman, Adesina Ogunlana; S. O. K. Shillings, and incumbent Assistant Publicity Secretary, Akorede Habeeb Lawal who sought the substantive post of Publicity Secretary.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag 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.

‘WHY I’M BACKING AJIBADE TO WIN,’ BY CHIJIOKE OKOLI SAN

Frontline white collar litigator and former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (Lagos Branch), Mr. Chijioke Okoli SAN has given reasons for backing a leading presidential aspirant in the forthcoming NBA Elections, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN).

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, the respected Bar Leader described the cerebral senior lawyer as “remarkable in many more ways than one,” adding that “he stands out as the best of the lot.”

Below is the full text of his statement:

THE MAN FOR THIS SEASON:
ENDORSEMENT OF DR. TUNDE AJIBADE, SAN-BY CHIJIOKE OKOLI, SAN.

This Nigerian Bar Association [NBA] national election year is hardly like any other. The legal profession in Nigeria and the country in general are at a momentous crossroads, with self-evidently daunting problems but behind which lies the promise of an enlivening new beginning. The situation is such that, more than ever before, we must be particularly careful with our leadership recruitment processes and choices. Luckily, the NBA is well served this year by an undoubtedly strong field of candidates for the NBA Presidency; three distinguished senior practitioners with good records of service to the legal profession.

I shall however speak of only Dr. Tunde Ajibade SAN who is remarkable in many more ways than one, especially because he stands out as the best of the lot. He brings to the table of the present NBA Presidential contest qualities which are sorely needed to tackle the present crippling problems of the legal profession and administration of justice in Nigeria in general. He epitomizes phenomenal breadth and depth of knowledge and expertise; belonging to that very rare breed of top-line litigators who are equally at home with transactional law practice. And his willingness to share and democratize legal knowledge is underscored by the annual Continuous Legal Education series organized by his law firm of which I have been privileged to attend a few times.

Perhaps most importantly, the present period of widespread anomie requires of the NBA leadership the exceptional personal and professional integrity which Dr. Ajibade exemplifies. More than at any time since the advent of our dysfunctional civilian rule, there is the urgent need for an NBA leadership capable of telling truth to power. His temperament is undoubtedly excellent for the task; possessing quiet but immense strength and courage which saw him visiting and showing solidarity with colleagues in the insurgency-ridden North East region of the country. And his instinctive courteousness and overall civility is unfailingly present in interactions with lawyers of all ranks and ages, in and out of the courtroom.

Finally, this. Whilst the generality of Nigerian lawyers owe the Austine Alegeh Presidency a debt of gratitude for the introduction of universal suffrage in NBA national elections, he was but a Paul who came to water the ground tilled by some of us Appollos; i.e., those who were appalled by the now jettisoned grossly unfair and corrupt delegates system and fought for its change. Part of the unfairness of the delegates system was that it badly shortchanged the larger branches exemplified by the Lagos Branch. Seeing it as my duty as Chairman of the NBA Lagos Branch at the time [between 2009-2011] to see to the correction of the injustice to the Branch and vast majority of lawyers, I heartily campaigned for universal lawyers’ suffrage for the election of NBA national officers.

Whilst I recollect the likes of Anselm Chidi Odinkalu and Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN being in the trenches of the struggle, so to speak, Dr. Ajibade was one of those Lagos based senior practitioners who steadfastly encouraged me from the sides, sharing my view that the concept of equality at the Bar can hardly find more practical and appropriate expression than giving each Nigerian lawyer the right to a direct vote in the election of NBA national officers. Ultimately, the goal was achieved for the majority, properly so called, to determine who leads the NBA. And it is to this majority, all of us essentially, that I appeal to give their vote to Dr. Tunde Ajibade. I have no doubt at all that the NBA would be in very good hands with him as our President.

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. 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.

NBA ELECTIONS: VERIFICATION ‘HOT LINES’ GO COLD

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Doubts were yesterday cast on the functionality of the Help Desk set up by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to facilitate the verification exercise for the forthcoming NBA Elections, as the hot lines were unavailable. The elections are scheduled to hold on July 29 and 30, 2020 to elect new national officers for the association.

The NBA had in an online post by its Assistant National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Akorede Habeeb Lawal titled “NBA VERIFICATION SUPPORT” unveiled some telephone numbers to assist lawyers having challenges with the verification exercise.

The statement read: “In order to afford support for our members going through the verification process or having issues with accessing their personal portals on the NBA website, the NBA has introduced the following support lines which shall be available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm every day of the week.” He also added that “Complaints may also be sent to support@nigerianbar.org.ng.”

However, when CITY LAWYER dialed all the four numbers between 7:33 pm and 7:35 pm yesterday, none of the numbers connected. Instead, each telephone number returned the message that “The MTN number you are trying to call is currently switched off. Please try again later.” The numbers are 08168011579, 08165374194, 08165037594 and 08167181605. It was unclear at press time how this will impact the verification exercise.

It is recalled that the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had in its ECNBA STATEMENT NO 009 at the weekend announced the same numbers as help lines for the verification exercise.

In the statement signed by its Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN, the electoral committee stated that “Members who are yet to undertake the verification of their particulars on the NBA website are advised to do so without further delay. Members are required to activate their personal portal on the website upon verification not later than the 15th day of July 2020.

“A support system which will become operational from Monday the 29th day of June 2020 is being set up with the following dedicated lines 08168011579, 08165374194, 08165037594 and 08167181605 email: support@nigerianbar.org.ng.”

In an earlier statement dated June 21, 2020 the electoral committee announced commencement of the verification exercise, a critical part of the electioneering process, saying: “The ECNBA hereby request all eligible voters to immediately verify their details on the NBA Website to be able to vote in the elections.

VERIFICATION PROCESS
To be verified means that all the member’s necessary and relevant data (particularly phone numbers, email address, postal and home address) are with the Nigerian Bar Association. For you to vote, you are required to maintain an active portal on the NBA website:

(a) For members who have not previously been verified:
1. Visit https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal
2. Click on the Get Verified Option and do the following:

Enter your email address correctly and complete the verification form;
Upload a soft copy of your call to bar certificate;
Patiently wait for a confirmation email from the NBA, which will contain your Supreme Court enrolment number and a temporary password (that you can always change at your convenience).

3. Upon receiving a confirmation email from the NBA indicating that you have been successfully verified, do the following:

Go back to the NBA Membership Portal page;
Copy your enrolment number and password from the confirmation email and enter same on the portal as login details to avoid errors;
Ensure you type both the alphabets and figures of your Supreme Court Number together without space (E.G.: SCN111111).

(b) For members who have previously been verified but unable to login:

1. Visit https://nigerianbar.org.ng/membership-portal

2. Click Forgot Password

3. Enter Your Supreme Court Number and follow the instructions.”

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. 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.

NBA GENERAL SECRETARY: SAN, OTHERS BACK ALEX MUOKA

  • EX YOUNG LAWYERS’ FORUM CHAIR, TOO

The quest by former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Alex Muoka to clinch the influential seat of NBA General Secretary received a major boost today with his endorsement by leading white-collar litigator, Mr. Chijioke Okoli SAN.

A former (NBA), Lagos Branch Chairman himself, Okoli said that Muoka “unquestionably ticks all the requisite boxes” in the run-up to the elections, adding that having lived a life of service to the Bar, “I have no doubt at all that the NBA would be putting its best leg forward if we elect Alex Muoka as our General Secretary in the coming elections.”

Similar endorsements also came from former Chairman of NBA Lagos Branch Young Lawyers’ Forum (YLF), Ms. Derin Fagbure and the Head of Chambers, A. Muoka & Co., Layo Olugbemi.

Below are the full texts of their endorsements:

CHIJIOKE OKOLI, SAN
ENDORSEMENT OF ALEX MUOKA FOR THE OFFICE OF NBA GENERAL SECRETARY
It is axiomatic that the bane of Nigerian socio-political space in general, of which the Nigerian Bar Association [NBA] is a significant stakeholder, has been the persistently faulty leadership selection processes and choices. Whilst strong institutions are crucially important, it is good men and women who are fit-for-purpose that could, and would, build those institutions. For the NBA, the Secretariat is its engine room and it is critical that care is specially taken in choosing its helmsman, the General Secretary. The occupant must have what it takes to meet the great demands of that high office.

It is for the reason that Alex Muoka unquestionably ticks all the requisite boxes that I am not only supporting him, I nominated him for election to the office. He has managed to be an outstanding lawyer whilst living a life of service to the Bar. As Secretary of the NBA Lagos Branch, apart from reorganizing the Branch Secretariat and making it palpably more efficient, he had a unique and refreshing spin to his writings that the members looked forward to reading minutes of branch meetings and reports the way John Grisham afficionados look forward to his new offerings.

Muoka went on to become Chairman of the Lagos Branch and continued with his record of excellent record of service to the Bar; bringing to the table of leadership good management of men and resources, gravitas, inclusiveness, strength of character and remarkable integrity. His cosmopolitan background and worldview also equip him well, as happened in his tenure as the Chairman of Lagos Branch, to navigate adroitly for optimum performance in the office of General Secretary of an NBA constituted of lawyers of diverse backgrounds and interests.

My dear learned friends, I have no doubt at all that the NBA would be putting its best leg forward if we elect Alex Muoka as our General Secretary in the coming elections.

DERIN FAGBURE
FORMER CHAIRMAN, NBA LAGOS BRANCH YOUNG LAWYERS’ FORUM

Mr Alex Muoka, ‘Oga mi’, as I call him, is a man of his words. He has a good command of language and could make a joke out of the most serious things. It is no wonder he is a highly sought-after compere at legal events, both formal and informal. Mind you, behind those jokes, deep thought is given to the legal implications of the conversation.

As a past Chairman of the Young Lawyers’ Forum of the NBA Lagos Branch, I can attest to the fact that he has the welfare of young lawyers at heart. He is a Senior who relates well with the younger members of the Bar, and appreciates the importance of mentorship. Mr Muoka is not one to make empty promises, and I, therefore, am truly convinced that he would carry out the promises in his manifesto, to the letter.

I wholeheartedly endorse Mr. Alex Muoka for the position of General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Ms. Derin Fagbure
Former Chairman
NBA Lagos Branch YLF

LAYO OLUGBEMI
HEAD OF CHAMBERS, A. MUOKA & CO
I have had the opportunity of working in the law-firm of ‘A. Muoka & Co.’ for more than a decade.

Alex Muoka is a fine gentleman who brings to bear the spirit of distinction in the way and manner he manages our firm.

I have no hesitation whatsoever in endorsing Alex Muoka as General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association – for he will bring the much desired unity to our Association.

He has justifiably paid his dues in the run up to this National office from his impressive antecedents as Secretary of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association and Branch Chairman as well.

His sterling qualities have endeared him to friends and colleagues, many of whom speak about him with admiration. A brilliant lawyer and erudite writer, very detailed, highly principled and purpose driven. He takes no prisoners in his resolute determination to succeed.

Therefore, Alex Muoka has all it takes to raise the Nigerian Bar to another level.

Layo Olugbemi
HEAD OF CHAMBERS, A. MUOKA & CO

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. 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.

 

NBA ELECTORAL COMMITTEE FINALLY DISQUALIFIES OGUNLANA

I WILL HEAD TO COURT, SAYS FORMER IKEJA BRANCH CHAIR

Controversial NBA presidential aspirant, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana finally been  disqualified from contesting the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

Confirming the incident to CITY LAWYER, a close aide of Ogunlana, Mr. Ayo Ademiluyi however said the former NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman will “definitely” head to court to challenge his disqualification. He said Ogunlana will soon issue a statement on his disqualification.

He said that the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) hinged its decision on lack of a Letter of Good Standing from the branch chairman as well as the report of the committee allegedly indicting Ogunlana on the branch insurance funds. Ogunlana has argued that the committee report was not an indictment but merely asked him to account for about N12 million of the branch insurance fund.

Other aspirants whose appeals were also unsuccessful include incumbent NBA Second Assistant Secretary Chinyere Obasi, Messrs S. O. K. Shillings and Promise Wobo Iwezor.

Confirming her disqualification in an online post to her supporters, Obasi said: “Good morning my people. I regret to inform you all that the appeal was refused. ECNBA still stood on sec 8(3) of the NBA constitution 2015 i.e. not being a NEC member for two years before the close of nomination. I thank you all for your support and prayers thus far.”

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. 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.

ECNBA DISQUALIFIES OBASI, SHILLINGS AGAIN, KEEPS MUM ON OGUNLANA, OTHERS

• ELECTORAL COMMITTEE SCRIBE LOSES FATHER

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) may have concluded hearing of appeals from aspirants disqualified in the forthcoming NBA Elections.

There are strong indications that at least three of the appeals were unsuccessful, as the electoral committee sustained its decisions to disqualify the aspirants, including incumbent NBA Second Assistant Secretary, Miss Chinyere Obasi who was gunning for the post of Welfare Secretary, and Promise Wobo Iwezor, an aspirant for the post of Third Vice President.

Also disqualified is NBA Ikorodu Branch chieftain, Mr. S. O. K. Shillings who confirmed his disqualification to CITY LAWYER in a telephone interview. He was vying for the post of First Vice President.

CITY LAWYER gathered from impeccable sources that some of the disqualification letters dated June 25, 2020 were dispatched late last night by the electoral committee.

Several of the aspirants are yet to know their fate, including controversial NBA presidential aspirant, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana. The former NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman told CITY LAWYER that he “is hopeful” of a favourable response from the electoral committee. Incumbent NBA Assistant Publicity Secretary, Mr. Habeeb Lawal also told CITY LAWYER that he had not heard from the electoral committee at press time.

Confirming her disqualification in an online post to her supporters, Obasi said: “Good morning my people. I regret to inform you all that the appeal was refused. ECNBA still stood on sec 8(3) of the NBA constitution 2015 i.e. not being a NEC member for two years before the close of nomination. I thank you all for your support and prayers thus far.”

Meanwhile, tragedy has hit the electoral committee as CITY LAWYER gathered that its Secretary, Mrs. Cordelia Eke has lost her father. The deceased was buried during the weekend. Mrs. Eke has since resumed duty again at the ECNBA.

Another big casualty from the earlier exercise is former NBA Ikorodu Branch Chairman, Mr. Adedotun Habeeb Adetunji who was also vying for the First Vice President. He also told CITY LAWYER he had not received any feedback from the electoral committee as at press time. The fate of Gerald Abonyi, another aspirant for the post of Third Vice President, also remained unclear at press time.

The NBA Elections is now rescheduled to hold on July 29 and 30, 2020.

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. 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.

AWOMOLO LETTER: WHAT SANs, BAR LEADERS, OTHERS ARE SAYING

Many Bar Leaders and lawyers have been weighing in on the recommendation by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN that the next president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should be sourced from the rank of senior advocates.

Aside from the presidential aspirants, many lawyers have also joined the fray in reacting to the controversial letter.

Awomolo had in a letter to former NBA President, Chief Onomigbo Okpoko SAN stated that “It will be a great failure of leadership for the senior advocates to surrender leadership to the outer bar when there are willing and able senior advocates,” urging him to convene a meeting of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) to deliberate on the matter. Okpoko is yet to respond to the leaked letter.

Below are some of the views of Bar leaders, senior advocates and other lawyers on the letter.

KEMI PINHEIRO, SAN
Awomolo SAN expressed his personal opinion and conviction. That is a right guaranteed to everyone one. The NBA has had non SAN presidents before. So it is not going to be news if we have another pls. HEAVEN WILL NOT FALL. However those calling for a revolution should be reminded about what became of the movement to abolish the rank of SAN or the Revolution Now movement in the larger political space!!! A child who wants to become the head of the house while his father is still alive must first find out and understand how the house was built!!! More particularly those who say their candidate is opposed to parochialism must remember that the entire NBA constitution is anchored on parochialism by the zoning of offices to sections of the country and that by paying your branch dues you have subscribed to that constitution albeit parochialism!!

JIBRIN OKUTEPA, SAN
I do not think that anyone should be castigated for his or her views on an issue that the person feels too strong about. Prior to the views expressed in the letter of Chief A S Awomolo SAN on whether the position of the President of the Bar be reserved for SAN, many had expressed the views that the position should not be for only SAN. I think one of the hallmarks of democracy is the freedom of expression. There is no need for anybody to castigate Chief Awomolo SAN or those who hold contrary views. Chief Awomolo SAN has been playing leading role in bringing the members of the Bar together. As lawyers we are not bound to see things the same.

PROF. CHIDI ODINKALU
I have known and respected Asiwaju Gboyega Awomolo, SAN for long. This letter by him concerning #NBADecides2020 is at best ill-advised. The mind-set here inhabits a world of unearned privilege & entitlement with no sense of responsibility. I hope it no one takes it seriously. Any system in which a minority claim entitlement to rule over the majority has only 1 name: Apartheid.

OSAS ERHABOR
That statement by the learned Chief Awomolo is uncalled for both in terms of poor timing and context. It is very divisive and certainly not needed in the heat of campaign for the Presidency of the Bar. This also is my personal opinion.

TUNDE FAGBOHUNLU, SAN
A candidate’s qualification to lead the Bar should be a function of his/her competence and integrity. It is entirely immaterial whether he/she is or IS NOT a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

DAME CAROL AJIE
The position of Chief Awomolo SAN that the office of the President of NBA should be the exclusive reserve of SAN is impolite and disrespects the majority. As INEC counsel defending some democratic institutions Asiwaju ought to know that majority be respected. The duties and privileges of a SAN are clearly spelt out and restricted to the courts. Period! You have a distinct group known as Body of SANs? Only SANs should lead there not in NBA. I had thought you would deal with NBA constitutional issues of rotation within the sub-region. Why do you have such disdain for the NBA Constitution? It does not restrict the office of the President to SAN?

AHMED T. UWAIS
For me this is a game changer, some years ago my dear friend Afam was disqualified simply because he was not an SAN. Its not a provision in the NBA Constitution that in order to contest and be elected the NBA President you have to be an SAN. Though it has been long since any non SAN was elected the president of NBA, in my humble view this election is not about electing an SAN or not as the right person to lead our dear profession which has been declining in terms of integrity, respect and influence in our society.

CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM
The decision to vote a candidate as President of the Bar should not be based on the titles that the candidates bear. It should be based on an objective assessment of the character, ability, track record and programmes of each candidate. In the same manner, I disapprove of any campaign to vote for a candidate because he/she is not a senior advocate, I disapprove of the statement allegedly issued by the very respected Silk, Chief Awomolo.

OLUKAYODE ENITAN, SAN
The forthcoming NBA elections should be made a revolution that we all should ensure succeeds in bringing forth the best of us in content of character, abundance of capacity and excellent antecedents devoid of parochial and pecuniary sentiments!

ANTHONY MALIK, SAN
Mr. Gboyega Awomolo, SAN is, by any parameter, a doyen of the Bar. I respect him and appreciate his overall contributions to the Bar and the enrichment of our body of laws. Regrettably, I am unable to navigate my way through the contents of his letter. In clear terms, his letter does not enjoy my endorsement in the least. We have a Constitution which has just been amended and it serves no good importing into it what is not contained therein. If it was the desire of the Association to make the Presidency of NBA the exclusive preserve of SANs, a provision along this line would have been inserted in the Constitution.

ADEMOLA ADEWALE
This statement credited to Highly respected member of BOSAN Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN, is not only unfortunate but capable of boomeranging and destroying the chances of the very able and competent SANs who are in the race to become the next President of the NBA!!!!! To start with it comes across as arrogant and condescending!!!! Particularly when it is considered that most of the voting electorate is overwhelmingly non SAN!!!! So as we all await the NBA election that will lead to the emergence of the next President of the NBA, let our focus be on competence and vision of service to our great Association!!!! Not rank or status!!!!!

AFAM OSIGWE
I subscribe to the view that to attain leadership at the Bar, you do not have to be a Senior Advocate. If you are a Senior Advocate, that’s fine, if you are not, that’s also fine. If the NBA thought it was important for you to take the top job, you must be a senior Advocate, It would have put it in the NBA constitution. Since there’s no stipulation that one must be a Senior Advocate, then it’s a non-issue. To the question, “Is it imperative that one be a senior advocate to aspire to be president”, one must note that Dr Mudiaga Odjeh, Alao Aka Bashorun, Prince Bola Ajibola, Charles Idehen to name a few were NBA Presidents without taking Silk at the time of their election. And that tradition has continued to be maintained in our constitution.

GODWIN OMOAKA, SAN
I read with utter shock the letter by eminent Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo in which he argued that the office of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association should be reserved only for Senior Advocates of Nigeria. As a member of the inner bar, I strongly disagree with the views expressed by my respected leader and learned brother silk who appears to have lost touch with the current trend in the profession. The letter is, at the very least, discriminatory (it offends section 8 of the NBA Constitution), ill-thought out and clearly divisive. I see it as an attempt to pitch SANs against the majority of our colleagues in the outer bar.

AYULI JEMIDE
“It is a great failure of leadership for the Senior Advocates to surrender leadership to outer bar when there are willing and able senior advocates,” says Adegobyega Awomolo SAN. I consider this ‘inner vs outer’ notion as discriminatory.

SANNI ABBAS
The learned senior advocate has not written a letter as to the issue of welfare of lawyers, he has also not proffered an opinion on the minimum wage to be paid by senior advocates even when it is in public domain how much many senior lawyers pay lawyers (peanuts). It’s an open secret that some Silk do not even pay close to what non senior advocates are paying i.e he pays take home that is not even enough to take you home.

SILAS ONU
I was not surprised by the content, especially coming from Awomolo SAN. I must state for the sake of clarity, that I know as a fact, that so many Senior Advocates, properly so called, are not in support of the letter from Awomolo SAN and will never share his view on the NBA leadership. In the nearest future, the activism record of individual, public interest litigations and penchant for defending the right of person should be the core criteria for Bar leadership. Legal practice is different from leading the Bar. The Bar leadership requires a person who can jump in the mud with the masses to protest against abuse of human rights and unconstitutional actions of government.