MAIKYAU WINS, AS NBA APPEALS C’TE WINDS UP, SUBMITS REPORT

The last hurdle on the path of Nigerian Bar Association President-elect, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN being sworn-in as the next NBA President has been cleared, with the winding up of the appeals process.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN, who was declared runner-up in the elections, had queried the outcome of the election, though he vowed not to file any petition unless the NBA National Appeals Committee (NBA-NEAC) was ratified by the NBA National Executive Council before commencing its work and an audit of the election conducted.

But an unimpeachable source at NBA House told CITY LAWYER that the Appeals Committee has wound up its activities, adding that “The committee has submitted its report.” This has foreclosed the filing of any appeal on the election.

It is recalled that NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata had during the week dissolved all Standing Committees, leaving only the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) and the Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP) which is spearheading the forthcoming NBA Annual General Conference (AGC).

While members of the first NBA-NEAC LED BY Mrs. Funmi Roberts had resigned en masse following allegations of bias by the Gadzama Campaign Team against some of its members, another committee was quickly constituted to deal with any petitions arising from the 2022 NBA Elections.

Led by former Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi SAN, the committee comprised of former NBA President and Board of Trustees Chairman, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN; Cecilia Madueke (Secretary); Mr. Olumide Babalola (Counsel) and Mr. Rotimi Ogunyemi (Resident IT Expert).

The committee had on August 5, 2022 issued guidelines for filing of petitions, pegging the deadline at 7 days. The appeal window lapsed on August 12, 2022. There are strong indications that the committee did not receive any appeal on the election.

CITY LAWYER reliably gathered that the NBA leadership will present the committee and its report to the NBA-NEC for ratification.

Maikyau was declared winner of the NBA presidential election with 22,342 votes while Gadzama polled 10,842 to become runner-up. Immediate past NBA General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Taidi garnered 1380 votes to place third.

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TAIDI CONGRATULATES MAIKYAU, HAILS ELECTION AS CREDIBLE

Congratulatory Message

I congratulate the President-Elect, Mr. Yakubu C. Maikyau, SAN, the General Secretary-elect Adesina Adegbite, Esq and all the newly elected National Officers as well as Members of the General Council of the Bar for a successful election.

The candour throughout the electioneering process is a testament to our collective commitment towards enthroning the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) of our dream in particular and a country built on the Rule of Law, seamless administration of justice and rapid improvement on the welfare of the people generally.

I particularly commend the Chairman and Members of ECNBA whose sleepless nights culminated in a seamless electoral process that has made us proud members of the NBA.

I must thank all my enthusiastic supporters and colleagues who stood committed and kept faith throughout the electioneering process, enabling us to finish strong. Your efforts were not in vain as they sent a strong message of courage, hope and endless possibilities.

I congratulate the entire members of the Bar and urge you all to support the newly elected National Officers in their service to the Association.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
Past General Secretary, NBA & Presidential Candidate

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NBA PRESIDENCY: ENDORSEMENT WAR RAGES, AS BAR LEADERS BACK GADZAMA, MAIKYAU

An endorsement battle seems to be raging among the leading presidential candidates, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

Bar Leaders among others are currently lining behind their preferred candidates in the hope that this will sway eligible voters to tag along.

Each endorsement is celebrated by the campaign organisations with flashy flyers highlighting the testimonial about the candidate.

CITY LAWYER observes that the endorsements are not limited to the presidential candidates, as some candidates especially for national offices have also been receiving testimonials from close aides and associates.

Among those who have thrown their weight behind the presidential aspiration of Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN are incumbent Ondo State Governor and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu SAN; former Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Chief George Uwechue SAN; foremost human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana SAN, and former Deputy Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN.

Others are leading chartered arbitrator, Prof. Paul Obo Idornigie SAN; Messrs Zik Obi and Chuks Ikokwu, both former Presidents of Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society), the umbrella body of lawyers of Igbo extraction; Chief Martin Ogunleye, former Chairman of NBA Lagos Branch; Mr. Sylvester Udemezue, a Lecturer at the Nigerian Law School, and Hadiza Nasir Ahmad, former member of NBA Electoral Reform and Audit Committee.

On his part, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN has garnered endorsements from equally eminent Bar Leaders including Mrs. Hairat Ade-Balogun OON, a Life Bencher; foremost arbitrator and former NBA Treasurer, Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN; former Chairman of NBA Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee, Dr. Anthony Idigbe SAN, and Mallam Yusuf Ali SAN, pioneer Chairman, NBA Section on Legal Practice (SLP).

Others are Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN; Chief Adebayo Adelodun SAN; Mr. K. K. Eleja SAN; Prof. Wahab Egbewole SAN; former NBA General Secretary, Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN and Mr. Abdul Mohammed SAN

An aide of Taidi told CITY LAWYER that “We need to take our time to compile the list. I have asked our team members to work on it.” He was yet to revert at press time.

The NBA Election is scheduled to hold via electronic voting on Saturday, July 16, 2022. The election will be conducted on ElectionBuddy voting platform in collaboration with Finesse Technology Limited.

The presidential candidates will tomorrow go head-to-head in a hybrid Presidential Debate organized by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA).

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‘WHY WE DID NOT ADOPT GADZAMA, MAIKYAU, OTHERS,’ – BY EGBE AMOFIN

The resurgent umbrella association of lawyers of Yoruba extraction, Egbe Amofin O’odua has thrown its weight behind some candidates in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Elections, even as it shunned adoption of any of the presidential candidates.

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Sokoya, the Egbe “adopted” some of the candidates but was silent on all the presidential candidates among others.

The forum also shunned some candidates who are of Yoruba extraction but who failed to approach the association for endorsement. These include Messrs Oladapo Olalekan Idowu and Oyeyiola Durodoluwa Emmanuel who are gunning for the position of NBA Representative at the General Council of the Bar (GCB).

CITY LAWYER gathered that the Egbe failed to adopt any of the presidential candidates, including Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN and Mr. Jonathan Gunu Taidi, because the Arewa Lawyers Forum did not adopt any of them as its candidate.

The tradition, which is based on reciprocity, is for the regional forums to adopt candidates proposed to them by the forum whose turn it is to present a candidate for certain positions. The position of NBA President is allotted to the Northern Zone by the NBA Constitution (as amended), shutting out aspirants from both Eastern and Western zones.

According to the statement signed by Messrs Isiaka Abiola Olagunju SAN and Adetunji Oso, Egbe Amofin’s Chairman and Secretary General respectively, the resolutions arose from the hybrid Egbe Amofin 1st Quarterly Meeting held on 2nd July, 2022 at the Aare Afe Babalola SAN NBA Ibadan Bar Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.

It stated that some Egbe members contesting the NBA Elections “were presented to the meeting for adoption and were so adopted.”

These include former NBA Welfare Secretary, Mr. Adesina Adegbite who aspires for the mantle of NBA General Secretary; Mr. Gbemiga Adaramola (Welfare Secretary), Funmi Adeogun (National Treasurer), Mr. Habib Akorede Lawal (Publicity Secretary), Mr. Charles Ajiboye (Assistant Publicity Secretary) and Prof. Oluwole Akintayo, GCB Representative. It also “adopted” Messrs Dhikirullah Adewale Balogun and Seun Aka who are poised for a face-off to clinch the position of Assistant General Secretary.

The meeting was attended by Chief Adeniyi Akintola SAN, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN, Aare Muyiwa Akinboro SAN, Chief Ranti Ajeleti, and Mr. Olasupo Ojo among others while Mr. Oluseun Abimbola SAN and Prof. Ademola Olawuyi SAN joined virtually.

Aside from resolving to “greatly de-emphasise the relevance and activities of Egbe during NBA National Election and engage in other rewarding activities in order to re-position Egbe,” the regional forum also “condemned the terrorists attack on a Catholic Church in Owo on 5th June 2022 as it was highly unacceptable and sent condolences to all families who lost their loved ones in unfortunate incident.”

The NBA Elections hold on Saturday, July 16, 2022 with about 60,000 eligible voters expected to cast their ballots.

 

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GADZAMA, MAIKYAU, TAIDI TO CLASH, AS ECNBA HOLDS DEBATE JULY 7

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) will on Thursday, July 7, 2022 hold a “MANIFESTO DAY AND PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE” to herald the 2022 NBA Elections for National Officers and NBA Representatives at the General Council of the Bar.

In an Information Release made available to CITY LAWYER, the Committee stated that “As part of the electoral process, the ECNBA invites members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to the Manifesto Day and Presidential Debate fixed for 10 am, Thursday, 7 July 2022 at the Auditorium NBA House, Plot 1101 Cadastral Zone Central
Business District, Abuja FCT.

“Ahead of the event, members are enjoined to send their question(s) to info@ecnba.ng. Please note that the link for virtual participation will be circulated in due course.”

A further release urged lawyers who plan to attend the debate in-person to register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdTUuNEOSFZwix5qRCqpfrELg0K5Nbrg17k__3co1-Kq_wp9g/viewform.

The NBA Election is scheduled to hold via electronic voting on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

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‘YOUR LAW WEEK THEME IS APT,’ TAIDI TELLS NBA IKEJA BRANCH

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION IKEJA BRANCH ON HER 2022 LAW WEEK

It is with great delight that I felicitate with the Chairman, Executive and Planning Committees as well as the entire members of the Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja Branch on her 2022 Law Week with the theme: “2023: Looking Backwards To Move Forward.”

There is a common African saying that “God created eyes in front so we can always look forward rather than backwards.”

However, as the great Chinua Achebe said, “We must know where the rain began to beat us in order to know where we dried our body.” In other words, it is only by examining the past that we are able to take stock and measure our progress in every endeavour.

Therefore, the choice of this theme is remarkably creative and apt and like the roar of a lion, quite a wake up call in view of the approaching general elections scheduled for 2023.

The recent primary elections of the major political parties, which was brazenly “dollarized,” was a huge embarrassment to our democratic journey.

Of great concern is the supervision of these carnivals by various national agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices are Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Department of State Services (DSS) and other similar bodies which have, at their disposal, the facilities and manpower to check these excesses, but chose to look the other way.

It is impossible to make any meaningful progress when we fail to examine the issues that continue to take us backwards in this same journey where other countries with less potentials have recorded tremendous growth.

I challenge all participants at this event to put on their thinking cap and help discover the ways out of our regressive quargmire as a nation.

This indeed will be the greatest gift in our quest for national rebirth.

May we all be counted as part of the solution as we share very meaningful exchanges on this august occasion.

I wish you all a memorable and beneficial law week.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
Candidate for NBA President

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TAIDI TASKS NBA BENIN ON INSECURITY AS LAW WEEK THEME

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION BENIN BRANCH ON HER 2022 LAW WEEK

The Lion Bar chose a great theme: “Security: Panacea for National Growth” and I congratulate the organisers, leaders and members of the branch on this auspicious occasion of the 2022 Bar Week.

Security is a condition precedent to every human endeavour and its absence, known as insecurity, is the albatross of our society. This critical discourse, on this occasion, affords us a unique opportunity to re-examine the existential threats to security of lives and property which is the primary purpose of governance.

It is expected that the legal community and the nation will discover the solution we seek from the outcome of this law week which promises to be like no other.

We eagerly await the resolutions which we hope will signal a new beginning for peaceful and purposeful co-existence and, like the roar of a lion, clear all the obstacles along its path.

I wish all participants a memorable and beneficial law week

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
Candidate for NBA President

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DEMOCRACY DAY: ‘OUR DEMOCRACY NOW FOR HIGHEST BIDDER,’ SAYS TAIDI

Democracy Day, and 2022 is the 20th Anniversary of this Day which used to be celebrated on May 29. Democracy is well known across the world as the method of governance which insists on the active participation of the people, in cooperation with the leadership.

Democracy all over the world is a work in progress and every democratic government has its peculiar challenges as even the United States of America, acclaimed as a leading democracy, saw its Capitol (which is the equivalent of our National Assembly), invaded by anti-democratic forces barely three years ago.

Our 20th Anniversary was marked with the usual speeches, worships and fanfare, but it is hardly appropriate that we should be celebrating our return to democracy which, despite being paid for in blood and toil, has now become quite commercialised and available only to the highest bidder.

It is impossible to progress in our journey to nationhood when we perpetuate such a farce or allow our leaders take us along such a dangerous path which only benefits very few at the expense of society.

The legal profession has a vital role to play in our quest to practice the kind of genuine democracy that is worthy of celebration.

As we reflect on those issues that can reshape our country, and our part in the process, may I wish our distinguished learned colleagues happy holidays.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq
Candidate for NBA President

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‘X-RAY ISSUES THAT HINDER LAW AND DEMOCRACY,’ TAIDI TELLS NBA MINNA LAW WEEK

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION MINNA BRANCH ON HER 2022 LAW WEEK

I felicitate with the Chairman, Executive Committee and Members of the Nigerian Bar Association Minna Branch on the occasion of her 2022 Law Week with the theme: “Law & Democracy: Progress, Challenges & Prospects.”

Law and Democracy like Siamese twins are the foundation of good governance and development. Any society therefore which is consistently grappling with the rudiments of good governance and development stands on a shaky foundation.

The theme of the law week and the topical issues lined up for discussion are timely given the precarious state of our nation which is in need of retooling.

I congratulate the Planning Committee for bringing to the front burner the progress so far recorded, the attendant challenges and the urgent need to find a pathway to the progress and prosperity of our nation.

I charge all participants to take advantage of this platform and interrogate issues militating against law and democracy and profer workable solutions aimed at bailing our ailing nation.

I wish you all a memorable and beneficial law week.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq
Candidate for NBA President

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OWO KILLINGS: ‘TIME TO OVERHAUL NIGERIA’S SECURITY SYSTEM,’ SAYS TAIDI

The Owo Attack and Security Agencies in Nigeria

The attack on the Catholic Church Owo, Ondo State, where scores of worshippers were killed and several others wounded has again been greeted with the usual “condemnation” from various quarters – as if such a response is enough to avert future occurrences of similar or worse attacks.

The dastardly act has again exposed the ineptitude of our security agencies whose score card has certainly fallen below zero in intelligence gathering. The whole thing was made even more odious by the complete lack of response from the police, or the motley number of uniformed agencies that are sworn to defend the people, thus making it easy for the attackers to operate maximally and flee without any intervention or interception.

The inability of various security agencies to device effective intelligence gathering is responsible for the calamities that befall us in various locations and at varying shades of vileness.

Our security agencies, despite the huge allocation of scarce resources, are constantly caught sleeping on duty and this has become a running national embarrassment.

Again, we must insist that the time has come to re-examine the nation’s security architecture, to overhaul and upgrade the detecting arm of all the security forces and to recalibrate our surveillance systems to meet modern methods of investigating crime. We have been locked in an obsolete system where we spend money on men, rather than on sophisticated materials and scientific methods.
At this point, a national summit on security will not be out of place because the brains currently manning our forces appeared tired, and posses neither the enthusiasm for crime fighting nor the innovative skills required to succeed at such an enterprise.

I condole with the families of the victims as well as the Catholic community over this avoidable loss of innocent lives and pray for the repose of the souls of those whose lives have been so brutally cut short.

I hope those whose duty it is to arrest and prosecute the criminals responsible for this mayhem will, for once, do their job swiftly and effectively in order to bring closure to the families of the bereaved and the rest of our anxious nation.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.

TAIDI SALUTES EASTERN BAR FORUM ON MONTHLY PARLEY

I felicitate with the Governing Council and Members of the Eastern Bar Forum on her Quarterly General Meeting holding in Calabar, Cross River State between 3 – 5 June, 2022.

The quarterly meeting of this Forum serves the quite useful purpose of bringing together like minds united by geographical location within Nigeria to discuss issues of common interest for the advancement of its members.

There is no doubt that a common challenge confronting the region today, as it is in other parts of Nigeria, is insecurity. Therefore, discussions at this meeting ought to deliberately interrogate the remote causes of this menace with a view to proffering solutions, something which has so far eluded our leaders.

I enjoin members while enjoying the hospitality of the tourist hub not to lose sight of the other numerous issues confronting the legal profession within the region in particular and Nigeria in general.

I wish all attendees journey mercies.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
Candidate for NBA President

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TAIDI URGES NBA MAKURDI TO TACKLE ELECTORAL CHALLENGES AT LAW WEEK

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION MAKURDI BRANCH ON HER 2022 LAW WEEK

I felicitate with the Chairman and Members of the Nigerian Bar Association Makurdi Branch on her 2022 Law Week on the theme: “Democracy, Electoral Process and Paradigm of Change in Nigeria”.

The choice of the theme for this year’s programme is apt given that the bane of our development revolves around the democratic process and the need to find a workable and less expensive model.

It is hoped that participants will take advantage of the opportunity presented by this platform to interrogate the challenges of our electoral process and fashion ways of designing an adaptive model.

I therefore challenge the organisers to endeavour to publish the outcome of this discourse for the benefit of legal practitioners in particular and Nigerians in general.

Happy and rewarding deliberations.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
Candidate for NBA President

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‘TAIDI AS A GREAT LEADER: A PERSONAL TESTAMENT,’ BY IKE AUGUSTINE

OPINION

MR. JONATHAN GUNU TAIDI: A GREAT LEADER THE BAR NEEDS

I have known Mr. Jonathan Gunu Taidi right from the days of my practice in Minna, Niger State. Testimonies abound of his impeccable track record. He is someone who shows so much dedication to any task given to him. His deep passion to see the Bar taking its place as the vanguard for social justice is what drives him to take up leadership roles at the bar. He is very accessible, amiable and above all an astute Bar man. He is an invaluable asset to the Bar.

I feel elated and there is hope of a rejuvenated and virile Bar seeing that he has been cleared by the ECNBA to contest for the office of NBA President in this year’s election.

Ike Augustine, Esq.
Activist and Public Commentator

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‘I HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED BY ECNBA,’ SAYS TAIDI

FEATURED

Dear Distinguished Colleagues,

Recall that on the 14th of April, 2022 in furtherance of my deep commitment to galvanize the Bar to live up to its challenges and the even more grievous challenges bedeviling our nation, I made a commitment and that commitment has now been certified as fit and proper by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA).

I therefore thank Almighty God for enabling my availability to serve, and our esteemed courageous supporters and would-be supporters for patiently and painstakingly keeping step with us.

Indeed, it has not and will not be an easy task to consolidate on the gains so far achieved and with vigour surpass every performance so far experienced, but it is possible.

In the coming days when ECNBA will unveil the manifesto for the well being of distinguished colleagues and total liberation of the Bar, each one will be required to share their lofty ideas with others for a focused, truly unified and dignified Bar.

I thank you all most sincerely and I am more than confident that together we win.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
Candidate for NBA President

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‘ROLE OF LAWYERS IN NATION BUILDING,’ BY TAIDI

By Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.

The major goals of any given nation are: to promote the wellbeing of its citizens, develop strong institutions, strengthen its sovereignty, gain traction in the world map and engender a sense of patriotism in her citizens. All of these can conveniently be subsumed into the concept of nation building.
Nation building undeniably hangs on the strings of the rule of law, without which there is no environment for growth. In turn, the rule of law is guarded by the ministers at the temple of justice (lawyers and judicial officers) who must ensure that at every point in time, there is compliance with laid down rules. And since judicial officers are first lawyers before they ‘ascend’ to the bench and since they wield ultimate power in interpreting the letters of the law, they are without a doubt an integral part of nation building.

SPECIFIC ROLES AND IMPACT OF LAWYERS AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS IN NATION BUILDING
Under this subhead, we will attempt to outline certain key and specific roles lawyers-cum-judicial officers play in nation building. It is important to state that the roles herein are subsumed under the major role of upholding the principles of the rule of law. The roles are hereunder enumerated: 1. Lawyers are duty bound to Treat Civil Cases as Purely Civil.

There are a plethora of criminal cases in our courts today that are purely or majorly civil in nature. These cases mostly border on debt recovery, wherein facts are skewed to present a case of obtainment with false pretense so as to bring same under the purview of criminal law. These cases are handled by lawyers who are supposed to be ministers in the temple of justice, but as we have seen so many times, the desire to cash out often outweigh the lawyer’s duty to advise a client on the best legal route to take in seeking redress. Many have argued that this system is the fastest means of recovering debts, and while this may have some level of truism; it however contributes in destroying our legal system by creating a certain level of uncertainty, which in turn creates room for monumental arbitrariness. No nation can grow where there is such uncertainty regarding its legal practices.

2. Duty of Lawyers to Turn Down cases Aiding and Abetting Money Laundering by Government Officials and Private Individuals Alike

It is safe to state that no major act of money laundering is possible without the aid of a lawyer whether before or after the fact. The thieving mind either seeks counsel on how best to pull off the ignoble act or how to sustain it without suspicion. Lawyers are frequently directly involved in this dishonorable act by accepting laundered money labeled as legal fees. We are well aware that this arrangement is perhaps one of the safest ways to conceal laundered money since the lawyer’s account is seen as sacrosanct. The courts have even given judicial backing to this fact since it nullified the classification of the lawyer’s account as one over which the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering can beam its searchlight. Without doubt, this judicial step is a noble one which moreover confers respectability on the person of the lawyer. It resonates with pride and underlines the high esteem with which lawyers are regarded. It is however sad that rather than live up to this perception, we take advantage of same to destroy the country all the more. No nation can develop where such acts continue unabated. Thus, if every lawyer can choose to do better in this regard, we can begin to chart a sustainable course for nation building.

3. Duty by Lawyers to Desist From Undue Delay and Frustration of Cases In Court
as justice delayed is justice denied. There can be no serious talk of nation building when the general notion is that a tortoise would probably finish touring the world before a case in a Nigerian court would come to a conclusion. Lawyers in a bid to buy time employ delay tactics to frustrate cases over which they are well aware their clients have no legal rights. Series of excuses are proffered to obtain unreasonable adjournments. As ministers in the temple of justice, we ought to defend or prosecute cases in court with the aim of doing justice regardless of whose interest we are representing. If a client is well in the wrong, we are duty bound to advise him accordingly to explore settlement options or take the necessary steps for the speedy dispensation of the case. The funny thing about unconscionable delay tactics is that we are all victims of it. The argument you proffer in court today will come back to haunt you tomorrow in a separate matter. All of these create in the minds of the citizens a diminished sense of confidence in the judiciary, thereby leading to increased use of self-help, or rather jungle justice, which is inimical to nation building.

4. Duty by Lawyers to Uphold the Rights of the Undefended

One of the noblest ways to adequately express the gift of advocacy is to as much as possible stand for people whose rights are trampled on and have no one to fight for them. As lawyers, we owe it a duty to the society as a measure of our goodwill and ‘giving back,’ to take deserving cases in this regard, prosecute or defend these to their logical conclusions. Any wrong that goes unaddressed is a dent on the rule of law which has its toll on nation building.

5. Duty by Lawyers to Advise Government Officials and Institutions Appropriately
A lawyer is trained to always uphold the rule of law and to be bold in doing same. The travesty of government officials on whose watch or at whose behest the rule of law is greatly bastardized and left unchecked, is sadly often aided by lawyers in both government and private practice who are determined to earn their fat fees at the detriment of the soul of the nation. This is a major stumbling block to nation building. We have witnessed time and again the impunity with which orders of court are disobeyed by government officials. I am of the strong opinion that these government officials are not being properly advised by the legal personalities saddled with the responsibility to so do. We have had situations where Attorney Generals have been sent to prison for the failure of governments to obey court orders. This sort of thing is a dent on the legal profession. Where a governor or elected government official fails to obey orders of court, the A.G ought to resign in protest to protect the rule of law. This will to a large extent send the right signal and foster a sense of confidence in the legal profession which remains the last hope of the common man.

6. Duty by Lawyers to When Necessary Institute Public Interest Suits in Defense of the Rule of Law
Similar to the point made previously on the duty of lawyers to take up pro bono cases, is the duty of lawyers, especially the NBA, to take it upon themselves to champion the cause of true nation building by being in the forefront of challenging any act of government or individuals that threaten the collective goodwill of the nation. This duty is codified in the NBA constitution through the Section on Public Interest and Development Law. I must commend this section of the NBA for its work thus far, but there is still much to be done.

7. Duty To Appoint Judicial Officers Who Would Always do Justice Without Fear or Favour
One corrupt judge is perhaps more dangerous than 10 armed men, for he can throw the innocent into prison and free as many guilty people that can bribe their way to unmerited judgment. In the same vein, a judge who applies sentiments in adjudicating on matters will hardly ever reach just conclusions. To this end, it is important that the necessary appointing authorities, as a matter of duty and patriotism, place on the seats of adjudication only people with proven track record of integrity and grit in the dispensation of justice.

Closely related to the above is also the need for judicial officers to be up and doing in terms of the time frame within which cases in their courts are dispensed with. They should always stand firm in curbing the antics of lawyers who try to delay the cause of justice.

We have enumerated few specific roles by lawyers and judicial officers alike in contributing to nation building. It is hoped that as we progress as a nation, we will see the need as legal practitioners to embrace this all important duty. Away from the legal duties lawyers must perform in promoting nationhood, we must also be up and doing in our civic duties to the state.

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CHILDREN’S DAY: ‘REVERSE NIGERIA’S MEDIOCRITY CULTURE,’ SAYS TAIDI

FEATURED

Dear Children,

You were born into a country many of us grew to know as Nigeria.

Nigeria held a lot of promise at conception, and was a country you would have been proud of. Sadly, over the years, the huge potentials have been dwarfed by so many harmful legacies including: epileptic power supply, poor infrastructure, low productivity, poverty and insecurity, all bequeathed to us by several years of deceptive and inept leadership.

As you grow, learn to reverse the mediocrity that has become our bane. Grow up with determination and the will to do the right thing so that generations after you will respect how you refused to continue on the deplorable path that was handed to you.

As always, I wish you a happy Children’s day.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
Legal Practitioner

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‘BOSAN IS UNDERMINING NBA PRESIDENT,’ SAYS TAIDI

The immediate past Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Gunu Taidi has blasted the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) for allegedly undermining the office of the NBA President.

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, Taidi, who is vying for the position of NBA President in the forthcoming elections, said that instances of alleged undermining efforts “have become intolerable and deserving of serious condemnation, even sanction.”

He stated that “The latest of these catalogue of breaches is the attempt to subvert the existing order of precedence during the Valedictory Court Session in honour of retiring Justice of the Supreme Court Ejembi Eko, J.S.C. where some senior members of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) caused the altering of the existing protocol which rightly recognizes the President of the NBA ahead of the Chairman of BOSAN.”

Taidi warned that “the NBA President is the president of all, irrespective of whether or not they belong to BOSAN, or whether or not they belong to the inner bar or outer bar,” adding that BOSAN should focus on major challenges that hobble the judiciary “instead of this quibbling over who should be recognized first at a public forum.”

Saying there are BOSAN members with serious disciplinary issues, the former NBA scribe stated that “rather than this tendency to use every opportunity to undermine the Bar leadership, it is advisable that BOSAN directs its energies at redressing some very gross acts committed by the rank of its membership, some of which are so heinous that they are included in the law reports. Undoubtedly, such acts are inimical to the progress of the noble profession and should be discouraged.”

The statement reads:

The recurring attempts by some senior members of the inner bar to undermine the office the NBA President have become intolerable and deserving of serious condemnation, even sanction. A series of egregious actions which seek to reduce the leadership of the bar has recently come to fore and it is clear that a group within the inner bar is determined to wage an unnecessary war of attrition on the NBA, which is the umbrella body of all lawyers in Nigeria.

The latest of these catalogue of breaches is the attempt to subvert the existing order of precedence during the Valedictory Court Session in honour of retiring Justice of the Supreme Court Ejembi Eko, J.S.C. where some senior members of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) caused the altering of the existing protocol which rightly recognizes the President of the NBA ahead of the Chairman of BOSAN.

For the avoidance of doubt, the NBA President is the president of all, irrespective of whether or not they belong to BOSAN, or whether or not they belong to the inner bar or outer bar.

I believe that the judicial system of this country has serious problems requiring immediate remedy, issues that go to the very heart of the practice of law in this country, issues that should rather engage the erudite minds of our senior advocates instead of this quibbling over who should be recognized first at a public forum.

I humbly suggest that BOSAN as a body focuses its efforts on mentorship in its respective jurisdictions and preparing young minds to take maximum advantage of emerging opportunities for legal practice. Indeed, rather than engage in a needless tussle vide order of precedence, BOSAN will do well to ensure that its members who have been indicted for all kinds of infractions receive the discipline they deserve.

In other words, rather than this tendency to use every opportunity to undermine the Bar leadership, it is advisable that BOSAN directs its energies at redressing some very gross acts committed by the rank of its membership, some of which are so heinous that they are included in the law reports. Undoubtedly, such acts are inimical to the progress of the noble profession and should be discouraged.

It bears repeating that attempts at undermining the status of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association are unwarranted from anyone, and even more invidious when they come from an associate body like BOSAN.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
NBA General Secretary (2018 – 2020)

BOSAN could not be reached for comments at press time.

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LAW WEEK: TAIDI ACCLAIMS NBA YENAGOA BRANCH

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION YENAGOA BRANCH ON HER 2022 LAW WEEK

I congratulate the Chairman, Executive Committee and Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Yenagoa Branch on the occasion of her 2022 Law Week.

The theme: ‘Building A Stronger Judiciary ‘ presupposes that we already have a vibrant system of administration of justice which only requires some effort to make it even stronger. Actually, things are not so rosy and it is imperative that we interrogate areas of weakness and appraise areas of strength.

This law week is poised to serve the purpose of assembling the building blocks of the virile and progressive judiciary which we earnestly desire.

I therefore urge all participants to focus on the missing link in our justice administration system and work towards enthroning a truly strong judiciary.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
NBA General Secretary (2018 – 2020)

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TAIDI EXTOLS NBA EFFURUN BRANCH ON LAW WEEK

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION (NBA) EFFURUN BRANCH ON THE OCCASION OF HER 2022 LAW WEEK

I felicitate with the Chairman and entire members of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Effurun Branch on her 2022 Law Week on the theme: “The Role of The Judiciary in Nation Building “

The theme is apt and non pretentious in that it seeks to examine the critical role the judiciary plays in nation building.

The role of judiciary as a key stakeholder in the affairs of a nation cannot be under estimated because it is the pillar which holds society together and any gap will inevitably result in a catastrophe for the well-being of the nation.

It is worthwhile that at every turn, we as legal practitioners continue to focus on this vital aspect of our growth as a nation, the engine room of our coexistence.

I once more congratulate the Law Week Planning Committee for this basic but critical theme which I believe will result in very illuminating and impactful discussions.

I wish all participants a rewarding and memorable law week.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
NBA General Secretary (2018 – 2020)

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ECNBA CLEARS GADZAMA, MAIKYAU, TAIDI, OTHERS FOR NBA ELECTIONS

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has cleared three presidential gladiators for the race for NBA President,  CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report. 

However, some aspirants for the positions of NBA First Vice President and NBA Second Vice President among others are among casualties who fell under the ECNBA disqualification hammer.

Among those cleared to participate in the July 16, 2022 poll are Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN and Mr. Jonathan Taidi.

CITY LAWYER also gathered from a source who is familiar with the process that the elelctoral committee completed the screening process within the constitutional timeline and had started dispatching emails to aspirants on the success or otherwise of their applications. 

More details shortly.

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DEBORAH YAKUBU: ‘RULE OF LAW IN ABEYANCE,’ SAYS TAIDI

A presidential aspirant in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Elections, Mr. Jonathan Gunu Taidi has decried the absence of rule of law in Nigeria, adding that the security agencies have failed to protect lives and properties.

Speaking as a discussant at the NBA Ikorodu Branch Bar Week, the immediate past NBA General Secretary said the situation “confirms our inability to evolve a workable template that suits our religious and cultural diversity.”

Below is the full text of his remarks.

REMARKS BY PAST GENERAL SECRETARY OF NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION JONATHAN GUNU TAIDI AS DISCUSSANT AT NBA IKORODU 2022 LAW WEEK

Protocol

It is a great honour to be asked to give a few remarks on the occasion of the Ikorodu Law Week. Although this event is an annual event, it is no less critical for the opportunity it provides for national soul searching, improving jurisprudence and elevating the bar and the practice of law in this country.

Everyday seems to bring  with it new challenges and even more invidious assault on the constitution and the laws we we pledge to uphold and defend.

The recent gruesome murder and decapitation of Ms Deborah Samuel within the premises of Shehu Shagari College of Education Sokoto is a sad reminder that the rule of law is in abeyance and our security apparatus has failed – assuming there was ever any to speak of. It also confirms our inability to evolve a workable template that suits our religious and cultural diversity.

More disappointing, in a catalogue already filled with disappointments, is the comment by the Nigeria Police that some of the perpetrators of this heinous act were not even Nigerians but foreigners from Niger Republic. This is first an indictment on the Nigerian Immigration Service particularly, and the opportunistic and visionless leaderships which over the years have successfully superintended over failure in every facet of our affairs as an “independent” nation where impunity has become our coat of arms. As I write this the papers are awash with news of the arrest of the nation’s accountant general for allegedly perpetrating an N80 billion fraud.

We have made corruption a byword for governance and abominable violence is the new normal. This attitude of just condemning the vile actions of criminals by our leaders, without any deliberate strategy or action to check the menace, has not and will not redress our regression into anarchy.

It is unacceptable that our security agencies are always caught sleeping on duty.  It is time to invest more in intelligence gathering than on weapons especially in the face of scarce resources.

I urge all participants here to fully contribute to the discussions on Nation Building: Our Collective Responsibility. As legal practitioners we must always remember that we are the light of the nation, and we carry the torch of enlightenment and progress.

I hope this particular Law Week helps spearhead a national rebirth that will lead us on the road to a more progressive and prosperous nation.

Thank you and God bless our fatherland.

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TAIDI HAILS NBA IKORODU ON BAR WEEK

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION IKORODU BRANCH ON HER 2022 BAR WEEK

I felicitate with the Chairman, Executive Council Members and members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikorodu Branch on the occasion of her 2022 Bar Week on the theme: “Nation Building: Our Collective Responsibility.”

Our country attained independence on 1st October, 1960 with the promise of greatness, and universal optimism. Alas, 62 years later, the nation remains embroidered in numerous challenges that at times threaten every hope of its survival.

It is therefore heart warming that NBA Ikorodu Branch is determined to interrogate the issues militating against the growth of our nation and the vital roles we all can play in unraveling the complex issues that have kept us in perpetual motion without movement. 

This platform presents another opportunity for us in the legal profession to identify the clogs in the wheel of our development as a nation and come up with workable solutions that will bail us out of stagnation. 

I commend you all to utilize this rare opportunity for the benefit of our dear nation which seriously craves growth and development, and hereby wish you all fruitful deliberations and a positive outcome. 

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq. 

NBA General Secretary (2018 – 2020)

TAIDI LAUDS NBA IKOT EKPENE ON BAR WEEK

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION IKOT EKPENE BRANCH ON THE OCCASION OF HER 2022 BAR WEEK

I heartily congratulate the Chairman and Members of the Nigerian Bar Association Ikot Ekpene Branch on the occasion of her 2022 Bar Week between 8th – 12th May, 2022.

The theme of the law week: “Strengthening the Pillars of Democracy Through Effective Legislation” is aptly chosen given the gap between our laws and their implementation.

The frequency with which our laws undergo review is a testament to their ineffectiveness. There is therefore the urgent need to enact legislation that will fill the obvious gaps in the polity and thereby promote good governance.

I urge all participants to take advantage presented by this opportunity and come up with recommendations that will discourage the sort of ineffective legislations that have held us back for so long.

Once more, congratulations and I wish you all a rewarding and impactful law week.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
NBA General Secretary (2018 – 2020)

NBA, TAIDI, ABONYI, UGWUOKE CELEBRATE WORKERS’ DAY

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and several Bar Leaders including the immediate past NBA General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Taidi have hailed Nigerian workers on the occasion of International Workers’ Day.

In separate messages to herald the workers’ anniversary, the Bar Leaders applauded the industry of Nigerian workers, urging them not to relent in boosting national productivity and fostering national cohesion.

Below are the statements.

WORKERS DAY 2022: NBA CELEBRATES NIGERIAN WORKERS

The wealth, growth and progress of any Nation, institution or establishment rests on the labour force. The International Workers day provides an opportunity to appreciate members of this “growth propelling force” for their immense contributions. It is also an opportune moment of introspection to reflect on the timeless values of hard work, the dignity of labour; and the need for adequate attention to be paid to the rights and welfare of our workers by the government and all relevant stakeholders.

On the occasion of this year’s International Workers day celebration, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olumide Akpata, on behalf of the Association celebrates the Nigerian Labour force, as well as workers all over the world. The NBA calls on the government to make more deliberate interventions to ensure the elevation of the status of the average worker, by addressing all labour-related issues that have altogether negatively impacted our national growth and productivity.

Happy Workers’ Day

Dr. Rapulu Nduka
Publicity Secretary,
Nigerian Bar Association

‘GIVE MORE ATTENTION TO WORKERS’ WELFARE, WORK ENVIRONMENT’ – TAIDI

Nigerian workers have joined others around the world to mark Labour Day in recognition of the vital role workers play in nation building, a day which symbolises the dignity of labour, and the struggles of workers and their pride in their work.

I felicitate with our distinguished colleagues on this occasion and hope that greater attention is given to the welfare, well-being and the work environment by government and employers of labour – which will in no small measure guarantee efficiency.

In particular, those in authority should use this occasion to resolve the needless industrial action by various labour unions that have stagnated various vital sectors. Indeed, there is no alternative to ensuring the provision of work tools, bonafide entitlements, welfare needs and general well-being of workers by whatever name called.

Aluta continua!!!
JONATHAN GUNU TAIDI, ESQ.

YOUR LABOURS SHALL NOT BE IN VAIN, SAYS GERALD ABONYI

Today is the beginning of a New Month.

It is a day set aside to celebrate the indefatigability and resourcefulness of workers
all over the world.

Congratulations to Nigeria workers.

Your labours shall not be in vain.

Happy Worker’s Day. Happy New Month.

DR. GERALD ABONYI

 

‘LAWYERS ARE EXTRAORDINARY BREED OF WORKERS’ – MAXIMUS UGWUOKE

I wish to extend my heartfelt greeting to all workers in Nigeria particularly Nigerian Lawyers. Lawyers in Nigeria are special breed carved out as ministers in the temple of Justice.

Elbert Hubbard, American writer (1856-1915) once said “One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man”. To this I add that the members of the Nigeria bar are extraordinary gentlemen and no machine can do the works they do in their practice areas.

In their daily strives to meet the demands of the profession, I urge them to be conscious of their health and the stress associated with their works. The health and happiness of all Nigerian lawyers are topnotch in the Hakuna Matata regime of the NBA of my dream and this is encapsulated in the trending mantra and slogan ‘ Maximus for Maximum Welfare’ which I stand for.

Welcome to the month of May and happy workers’ day.

IKECHUKWU MAXIMUS UGWUOKE ESQ
(aka. Hakuna Matata)
Former Social Secretary, NBA Enugu Branch

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‘WHY I SHUNNED KLIEGLIGHTS TO SUBMIT NBA PRESIDENCY FORM,’ BY TAIDI

An aspirant for the post of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Presidency and former NBA General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Taidi has said that the submission of his nomination form and accompanying documents was shorn of any razzmatazz in deference to the “tenor of the times.”

Speaking to CITY LAWYER, Taidi also stated that “to lead the Bar at this time requires deep commitment,” adding that “conduct throughout the NBA electioneering process ought to be solemn and dignified, without razzmatazz.”

His words: “Nigeria is troubled, to put it mildly, and to lead the Bar at this time requires deep commitment – not the usual sort of grandstanding. As a result, after deep reflection, I decided to submit my nomination forms to contest for the President of the Bar. However, cognizant of the spirit of the times, I decided to submit my application solo; no photos, no videos, plain and unaccompanied. For me, conduct throughout the NBA electioneering process ought to be solemn and dignified, without razzmatazz, and I hope that considering the tenor of the times, this becomes a template for other professional bodies and the country as a whole.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) had slated 4 pm today as deadline for submission of nomination form and accompanying documents. The election to fill the positions in the NBA National Executive Council holds on July 16, 2022.

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NBA PRESIDENCY: GADZAMA, MAIKYAU, TAIDI SET FOR BATTLE, SUBMIT NOMINATION FORMS

Bar Leaders, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN and Mr. Jonathan Gunu Taidi have thrown their hats into the ring to battle for the presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in the forthcoming National Officers Election, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

This confirms CITY LAWYER report that the three gladiators plan to vie for the position of NBA President. The election is slated for July 16, 2022.

While Gadzama and Maikyau stormed the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) office with a retinue of supporters, Taidi told CITY LAWYER that he went “unaccompanied.” His words: “No photos, no video, unaccompanied. For me, conduct throughout the NBA electioneering process should be a template for other professional bodies and the country.”

In an interview after submitting his Nomination Form and accompanying documents, Gadzama said: “We must live up to our roles as the watchdog of the society, the eyes of the blind, the eardrums of the deaf and the mouthpiece of the dumb.”

Accompanied by about 77 supporters, Maikyau said in a video sighted by CITY LAWYER: “You know, Sani is my imam. And so we know without a doubt, because what we brought is coming from those that are blessed and is being received by one who is blessed. There is nothing short of victory to come out of it.”

The ECNBA has set 4 pm today as the deadline for submission of nomination forms.

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‘WHY NBA ABUJA BRANCH CRISIS PERSISTS,’ BY TAIDI

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Gunu Taidi has identified quest for relevance by some Senior Advocates of Nigeria as the reason for the continued crisis in NBA Abuja Branch.

Speaking on the theme, “Projecting the Future” at the NBA Makurdi Branch Young Lawyers Forum (YLF) Summit, Taidi revealed that while he had the mandate of then NBA leadership to bring peace to the troubled branch, “regrettably some of the senior members of the Inner Bar hijacked the process and thus frustrated our mandate.”

According to Taidi, who is believed to be eyeing the NBA Presidency in the forthcoming National Officers Election, “It is unhealthy to see some senior members of the Inner Bar competing for relevance with the leadership of the Bar. Those efforts are required in the areas of mentorship of our young colleagues who are now in their huge numbers. Indeed, the President of the Bar is president of all whether from the Inner or Outer Bar and there is no room for power or relevance tussle with him.”

Below is the full text of his remarks.

REMARKS AT NBA MAKURDI BRANCH YOUNG LAWYERS FORUM SUMMIT ON THE THEME: “PROJECTING THE FUTURE” HELD ON 8TH APRIL, 2022

I am grateful to the Planning Committee for inviting me to chair the session on “Widening Window on Medical Law Practice in Nigeria” and glad that we have on the panel Dr. Ushakuma Anenger who is the Chairman of Association of Resident Doctors in Benue State and our colleague Cleopatra Atsor.

Permit me to congratulate the Chairman and Members of YLF of this branch who have taken this bold initiative of exploring the means through which we can finally widen the opportunities in medical practice for legal practitioners. For me, such an initiative coming from this branch is a wake-up call to other YLF branches yet to catch up with the need to stem the tide of migratory practice that has overburdened our urban branches. I will in particular commend this kind of programme to my home branch, bearing in mind the hydro-electric industry for which Niger State is well known with a view to exploring opportunities in Energy Law practice.

One of the reasons programmes like this are springing up is because of the enabling environment provided for branches of our association by the leadership of President Olumide Akpata. I am proud that he is one of us at the Outer Bar who has performed beyond our expectations.

Under his leadership, our branches are experiencing zero crisis. Of course, the lingering situation in Dutse and Abuja branches were legacy matters that were inherited. While the situation is under control in Dutse Branch, that of Abuja persists largely due to the needless interference of some senior members of the Inner Bar who instigated the crises in the first place.

I chaired a team as General Secretary sometime in the first quarter of 2020 with the sole mandate of conducting unified election for the branch, but regrettably some of the senior members of the Inner Bar hijacked the process and thus frustrated our mandate.

It is unhealthy to see some senior members of the Inner Bar competing for relevance with the leadership of the Bar. Those efforts are required in the areas of mentorship of our young colleagues who are now in their huge numbers. Indeed, the President of the Bar is president of all whether from the Inner or Outer Bar and there is no room for power or relevance tussle with him. I again commend the doggedness of Mr. Akpata who has no rank baggage which would have impeded his ability to confront the issues that have arisen under his leadership.

I am a little ashamed that other professional associations such as the Nigerian Medical Association, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and Nigerian Society of Engineers have long moved away from the teething issues that we continue to grapple with in the legal profession.

On this note, it is my honor to invite Prof. Agbo J. Madaki to speak to his 19-page presentation which has been circulated.

I wish us an engaging and informative session.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.

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ZONING: ECNBA OKAYS MAIKYAU, TAIDI FOR NBA PRESIDENCY

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has finally laid to rest the controversy on the zoning of offices for the July 16, 2022 NBA National Elections.

In a document obtained by CITY LAWYER and signed by Mr. Ayodele Akintunde SAN and Ms. Mabel Ekeke, ECNBA Chairman and Secretary respectively, the committee stated that “for purposes of zoning in the forthcoming 16 July 2022 elections, the applicable zoning principles are as contained in the Constitution of the NBA, which remain sacrosanct.”

This has ostensibly settled the vexed issue of “micro-zoning” of offices in the eagerly awaited elections. CITY LAWYER recalls that former Secretary of the NBA Constitution Review Committee, Mr. Olasupo Ojo had asked the committee to interpret especially Section 9(3) of the recently amended NBA Constitution.

However, throwing the gates wide open for all aspirants within each geographical zone to vie for the offices, the ECNBA put the issue beyond debate, thereby clearing the way for NBA Welfare Committee Chairman, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN and immediate past NBA General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Taidi.

Watchers of NBA politics had speculated that if the committee had implemented the “micro-zoning” principle, this would especially have shut out Maikyau, given that former NBA President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud SAN is from the same zone. This, they believe, would have handed the initiative to the Chairman of NBA Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN who is believed to be eyeing the NBA Presidency.

Said ECNBA: “For purposes of determining the eligibility of a candidate to contest for the offices liable to be rotated on the basis of the zoning arrangements specified in the Constitution of the NBA as fully reflected in the ECNBA’s Preliminary Notice of Election and the Guideline for 2022 Elections, regard shall be had to the candidate’s geographical zone of origin with particular reference to a State within the zone under reference.”

The committee noted that its Preliminary Notice of Election dated 17 March 2022 and Guideline for 2022 Elections of National Officers of the NBA and the NBA Representatives to the General Council of the Bar (General Council) dated 24 March 2022 “sets out the zoning arrangement for National Officers and NBA Representatives to the General Council consistent with the provisions of Part IV (1), (2), (3), (4) (5) and Part V (2) of the Constitution.”

It observed that 1.3 Part IV (4) of the Constitution provides that “where a position is zoned to a particular geographical zone, the position shall be rotated and held in turn by the different groups and/or sections in the geographical zone”.

Perhaps hinting that there is a lacuna in the NBA Constitution, the committee stated that all that was defined in the Constitution were the States that are comprised in the various zones and not the “different groups and/or sections in the geographical zone”.

According to the committee, “The Constitution specifies some offices subject to rotation on the basis of the principle of zoning. With reference to the election of national officers, these offices are:

(a) President (b) 1st Vice-President (c) 2nd Vice-President (d) 3rd Vice-President (e) General Secretary

“With reference to the election of NBA representatives to the General Council, the NBA Constitution specifies that each zone shall elect not less than six (6) Representatives to the General Council.

“For clarity, the States in each of the zones as provided for in the NBA Constitution are reproduced below:

i. Northern Zone: Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and FCT-Abuja.
ii. Eastern Zone: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers State.
iii. Western Zone: Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that Ojo had in the letter addressed to ECNBA Chairman and marked “URGENT” with reference number OO/ECNBA/ABJ/ECNBA/02/22, Ojo said: “In the main, I write to formally seek the attention of the ECNBA, for the proper interpretation of the mandatory provisions of section 9(3) of the NBA Constitution as well as paragraphs 2.2(b) and 2.2(d) of the second schedule in light of the forthcoming 2022 NBA National Officers’ election.”

Continuing, the fiery senior lawyer said: “Pursuant to the dictates of section 9(3) of NBA Constitution and paragraphs 2.2(b) and 2.2(d) of the second schedule, the rotation of the candidacy for the office of the presidency amongst different groups/sections in the geographical zones created by the NBA Constitution has been and is an intrinsic provision of the NBA Constitution; which has since been endorsed by the 2020 Electoral Reform and Audit Committee which recommended inter alia that same;

“…should be strictly adhered to in order to ensure that no group and/or section in a geographical zone is marginalized and the unity of the bar is preserved.”

“This report and recommendation was also given imprimatur by its subsequent adoption by the NBA NEC as contained in the communiqué issued by the President and General Secretary of the Association on March 18, 2021. Kindly find attached the relevant pages of the report, NEC minutes of meeting and communiqué for ease of reference.”

He noted that section 9(3) of the NBA Constitution provides that the country shall be divided into three zones as set out in the Second Schedule for the purposes of election into national offices.

Quoting Paragraph 2.2(b) of the second schedule to the NBA Constitution, Ojo identified the geographical zones as Northern, Eastern and Western Zones, adding that “what constitutes different groups or sections in the NBA Constitution is akin to the geopolitical zones within the geographical zones.”

Ojo noted that Paragraph 2.2(d) of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution provides that “Where a position is zoned to any particular geographical zone, the position shall be rotated and held in turn by the different groups and/or sections in the geographical zone.”

According to Ojo, “Having due regard to paragraph 2.2(d) of the second schedule to the NBA Constitution reproduced above, an aspirant to the Office of the Presidency of the NBA has to be from a section/geo-political zone in the geographical zone where the Presidency is zoned, in this case the North for 2022 NBA election, in compliance with the constitutional rotation requirement. This rotation within the geographical zones also applies to the positions of 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, 3rd Vice President and General Secretary which have all been zoned to specific geographical zones for the purposes of the 2022 NBA elections as pointed out above. That is to say that within the Western zone, the rotational principle will apply in view of the different sections/groups which are mid-west and south-west while in the Eastern Zone; rotation is to be between the south-south and south-east. In the same vein, the rotation is to be amongst the North-Central, North-West and North-East geopolitical zones within the Northern zone.”

He noted that following the build-up to the 2022 NBA election which has been zoned to the North, “there are several prospective aspirants for the position of the NBA President from the Northern Zone, many of whom have consulted me in respect thereof.

“I seek the clarification and/or confirmation of the ECNBA as to the import of section 9(3) of the NBA Constitution and paragraph 2.2(d) of the second schedule of the NBA Constitution on the 2022 NBA general election in the determination of the issue as to the eligibility status of aspirants emerging from the sub-zones from the North, West and East geopolitical zones respectively with respect to the offices zoned to them.. In my humble view the need for this clarification now is germane to the transparency and fairness of the electoral process and clearly represents the clear and mandatory provision of the just amended NBA Constitution and should ideally therefore be expressly indicated in the guidelines that will be issued and published by the ECNBA in due course.”

Concluding, Ojo wrote: “In the circumstances, I seek the required clarification as it relates to the rotation amongst the various sections/groups within the respective zones that are to produce the next NBA President, General Secretary and Vice Presidents in order to be properly guided as a voter and key stakeholder of the Bar. This is more so as consultations are ongoing and I intend to possibly contest or play key roles in the electioneering process at the appropriate time. I humbly entreat you to treat this matter with utmost fairness, transparency, justice and strict adherence to the rule of law as it is a sensitive issue touching on the future of the Nigerian Bar. I await your prompt response on this matter so that I can be guided accordingly.”

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TAIDI PRAISES NBA CALABAR, HARPS ON NEED FOR ‘PEOPLE’S CONSTITUTION’

The immediate past General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Jonathan Taidi has commended NBA Calabar Branch on its choice of theme for this year’s Annual Law Week.

Describing the theme as “quite apt,” the Bar Leader said that it is “coming at a time when our nation faces multiple challenges, including issues surrounding the extant constitution and the quest by ethnic nationalities for a truly people-oriented constitution that is the product of genuine participation by representatives of the diverse groups that make up this country.”

He expressed hope that the outcome of the discussions at the Law Week “will help contribute to the existing conversation around a genuine people’s constitution and how best to solve the lingering agitations and yearnings of our people.”

Below is the full text of the goodwill message.

GOODWILL MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION (NBA) CALABAR BRANCH (DOYEN BAR) 2022 BAR WEEK

It is with great delight that I felicitate with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Calabar Branch on the occasion of her 2022 Bar Week with the theme: “We The People: Agenda For National Consensus.”

This theme is quite apt, coming at a time when our nation faces multiple challenges, including issues surrounding the extant constitution and the quest by ethnic nationalities for a truly people-oriented constitution that is the product of genuine participation by representatives of the diverse groups that make up this country.

It is my utmost expectation that the outcome of the discussions at the Bar Week will help contribute to the existing conversation around a genuine people’s constitution and how best to solve the lingering agitations and yearnings of our people.

I wish all attendees a memorable Bar Week.

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
NBA General Secretary (2018 – 2020)

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TAIDI CONDOLES NBA OVER TRAIN ATTACK, ASKS FG TO ACT

The immediate past Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Taidi has condoled the NBA leadership on the death of some lawyers in the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train.

Extending his condolence message to the Chairman and members of NBA Kaduna Branch in particular over the loss of three of its members, Taidi said: “My deepest sympathy is with all the families who lost their loved ones on board the train as I join my voice to those who demand that the government immediately accounts for those whose whereabouts are still unknown.”

He urged the Federal Government to act fast to arrest the spate of attacks across the country, adding: “I hereby call on the Federal Government to stop the foot dragging, the feckless reassurances, and the crocodile tears, and actually make drastic changes to the current methodology of crime fighting. It is obvious that whatever it has done till now has not worked and had instead emboldened the bandits to perpetuate even worse atrocities.”

Below is the full text of the statement made available to CITY LAWYER.

TIME TO OVERHAUL NIGERIA’S SECURITY ARCHITECTURE

INCESSANT INSECURITY: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST ACT NOW TO END THESE SENSELESS KILLINGS

The recent twin-attack on the popular Abuja – Kaduna rail line which killed a score of passengers, and left many more wounded or unaccounted for is proof that the Federal Government of Nigeria is sleeping on duty. The second attack actually came within 24 hours of the first and both came only a year after a similar attack was launched on the railway last year shortly after the route became popular as a result of the incessant kidnappings and killings along the Abuja- Kaduna road which made the rail a safer alternative.

Now the bandits have taken away that alternative and we are forced to live like people under permanent siege.

It is impossible to excuse the kind of incompetence that is at work here. At every election we see a massive deployment of security personnel, in their tens of thousands, outside their places of primary assignment, drafted to police the polls, so the question is: why are we not seeing the same kind of commitment now when there is a clear and present danger to the lives of our people traveling this route?

It seems that as far as the government is concerned, winning elections takes precedence over the sacred duty of protecting the lives and property of the people, which is universally acknowledged as the first function of government.

For how long shall we continue to mourn and grieve the loss of our loved ones, colleagues and compatriots while also living in fear for our lives because we know that no one is safe anymore in this country?

I hereby call on the Federal Government to stop the foot dragging, the feckless reassurances, and the crocodile tears, and actually make drastic changes to the current methodology of crime fighting. It is obvious that whatever it has done till now has not worked and had instead emboldened the bandits to perpetuate even worse atrocities.

May I use this medium to commiserate with the president and members of the Nigerian Bar Association in general and the Chairman and Members of NBA Kaduna Branch in particular over the loss of three of its members. My deepest sympathy is with all the families who lost their loved ones on board the train as I join my voice to those who demand that the government immediately accounts for those whose whereabouts are still unknown.

This Government Must Act Now!

Jonathan Gunu Taidi, Esq.
NBA General Secretary (2018 -2020)

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