The Platform Nigeria has formally canceled its planned “interactive session” with Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidates in line with the disapproval of the programme by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA). However, the promotional website for the aborted programme had not been pulled down at press time.

An email to prospective participants which originated from the Convener/Visioner of The Platform Nigeria, Pastor Poju Oyemade, gave no reason for the cancellation. He however assured participants that “We will keep you informed on any new developments.”

Oyemade, the avant-garde Pastor of the mega church, Covenant Christian Centre (CCC), had in an earlier tweet on his verified Twitter handle, invited the public to the now aborted presidential debate, saying: “This Sunday @theplatformnigeria will be holding interactive sessions with the three candidates for the post of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association. #nbadecides2020.” He has not tweeted on the cancellation at press time. The Platform Nigeria is a popular speaking podium which has hosted some of Nigeria’s leading technocrats including the Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).

The ECNBA had in an email obtained by CITY LAWYER warned the presidential candidates against featuring in the virtual “interactive session,” saying it breached the NBA Constitution and “does not meet with the approval of the ECNBA.”

In response to the ECNBA directive, one of the presidential candidates, Mr. Olu Akpata formally withdrew from the interactive session, citing the email received from the electoral body. In a notice that trended on several social media platforms, he said: “Please note that in compliance with an email notice received from the ECNBA, Olumide Akpata will not be participating in the Platform interactive session billed for the 19th of July 2020 or any other debate or interactive session involving more any other candidate.

“We thank the organisers of the Platform interactive session for the work that they have put into organising the session, and hope that they and members of the public understand with us.”

It was unclear at press time whether the other presidential candidates issued any formal statements withdrawing from the programme, even as CITY LAWYER had reported that one of the candidates may have planned to shun the interactive session.

CITY LAWYER had predicted that the ECNBA would come down heavily on the aborted interactive session when it revealed plans by the electoral body to take decisive steps to stem what it perceived as serial disobedience to its earlier directives on campaigns.

Below is an email cancelling one of the planned sessions, even as similar emails were sent for the other presidential candidates:

Poju Oyemade <no-reply@zoom.us>
9:01 AM (14 hours ago)
to (NAME)

Good morning,

The webinar “Join Deacon Dele Adesina SAN in an interactive session on his vision and plans for the Nigeria Bar Association” on Jul 19, 2020, 03:00 PM has been canceled.

The Platform Nigeria wants to thank you for registering. We will keep you informed on any new developments.

Thank you

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