An Abuja based lawyer has urged the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) to reject any aspirant whose Letter of Good Standing is endorsed by any of the factional chairmen of NBA Abuja Branch.

If successful, this will sound the death knell for the ambition of two leading presidential aspirants, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN and Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN, paving the way for the emergence of the immediate past NBA General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Taidi as the next NBA President.

Though undated but addressed to the ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Ayodele Akintunde SAN, the petition was received by the electoral body on May 9, 2022.

In the petition obtained by CITY LAWYER, Mr. Maris Chinye Obichie urged the electoral umpire “to invoke section 10 part 1(6) of the second schedule to the NBA constitution and accordingly reject the candidature of any person who has submitted a letter of good standing from anyone purporting to be chairman of Abuja Branch in respect of a candidate, nominator or seconder for election into national offices and the General Council of the Bar in the 2022 election.”

Arguing that there is a precedent to this effect, the petitioner stated that “the position of NEC on the issue is that none of the factions of Abuja Branch be recognized until the issues are resolved and reconciled,” adding that “Pursuant to this position, ECNBA had in 2018 already set the precedent by disqualifying candidates from Abuja Branch as no valid letter of good standing was issued from Abuja Branch.”

Obichie contended that a Letter of Good Standing from the branch of a candidate, nominator and seconder “is a condition precedent to a valid nomination,” adding that “From the minutes of the NBA National Executive Council (NEC) held on 15th December, 2020; 18th March, 2021; 24th June 2021; 30th September 2021; 2nd November, 2021 and 16th December, 2021 there is (sic) no Chairman for Abuja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.”

If the petition succeeds, it would lead to a gale of disqualification of aspirants. Aside from the two leading presidential aspirants from Abuja, there are aspirants for other positions including the General Council of the Bar, NBA Second Vice President, Publicity Secretary, Assistant Publicity Secretary and Assistant General Secretary.

Aspirants from branches other than Abuja who may have sourced their nominators or seconders from the branch would also be affected by the decision.

The decision of the electoral umpire is awaited on the petition.

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