The delay in registration of the amended Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Constitution is posing a serious threat to the planned National Officers Election slated for July 16, 2022, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

Sources who are familiar with the matter told CITY LAWYER that the uncertainty over the legal regime that will underpin the eagerly awaited Election has thrown the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) into confusion.

According to one of the sources, “Without clarity on the constitutional framework applicable, ECNBA cannot move on elections.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that former Secretary to the NBA Constitution Review Committee, Mr. Olasupo Ojo had petitioned the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), urging it to decline registration of the amended NBA Constitution. In the letter titled “NOTICE OF OBJECTION TO REPEAL OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION CONSTITUTION, 2015 (AS AMENDED IN 2019), Ojo argued that the NBA “duly adopted and passed the resolution to amend the Extant Constitution at the 2021 Annual General Meeting,” adding that “Contrary to the foregoing state of fact and resolutions of the AGM, it now appears that the NBA had inadvertently inserted the following into the proposed NBA Constitution 2021 which purports to now repeal the extant Constitution:

i. Insertion of Sections 28 and 29 which purports to Repeal the Extant Constitution.

ii. Insertion of a Cover which reads: Nigeria Bar Association Constitution 2021.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that the CAC may have referred the petition to the NBA leadership for its response.

Another ranking source told CITY LAWYER that if the uncertainty is not quickly resolved, several constitutional deadlines may be missed or the ECNBA may be forced to compress timelines, posing challenges.

Painting a grave picture of the magnitude of the crisis, a key stakeholder told CITY LAWYER that the uncertainty over the legal regime has a “chilling” effect on the entire electoral process.

Watchers of NBA politics observe that if the ECNBA has to fall back on the 2015 NBA Constitution, this may pose additional challenges to the electoral process, especially as it relates to payment of branch dues and attendant challenges as to compilation of voters’ register.

Efforts by CITY LAWYER to get an update from the CAC on the registration proved abortive, as the Registrar General, Mr. Garba Abubakar did not respond to our telephone call or to SMS and WhatsApp messages sent to his verified telephone number.

However, NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata told CITY LAWYER that there is no cause for concern, saying: “The process should be completed this week or early next week at the latest.”

It is recalled that the NBA National Executive Council (NEC) had approved Saturday, 16th of July, 2022 for the conduct of the election of new National Executive Committee members.

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