NBA Ikeja Elections: Caretaker Committee Split, As Ubani Quits

Fresh crisis may have hit the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja Branch, as a member of the Caretaker Committee mandated to conduct election for the branch, Monday Ubani has quit the committee.

Ubani, a former Second Vice President of the NBA, resigned his position as a member of the Caretaker Committee, citing lack of obedience to NBA Bye-Law on elections

The lawyer, in an open letter addressed to the committee, said “hypocrisy of this magnitude is a lethal sin. My nature abhors it. I hereby resign my membership of the Caretaker Committee of NBA Ikeja of 2020 to avoid being part of the persons that will engineer an unnecessary crisis in my beloved Branch.

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“Already I am aware of some members’ plans to drag the Branch into another round of crisis. It is unnecessary.  I had better walk away.”

It will be recalled that the immediate past NBA President, Paul Usoro (SAN) had dissolved the branch Election Committee following a joint petition by AWLA President and 6 others on the constitution of the Committee.

Usoro appointed a three-man Caretaker Committee to midwife the branch elections. Aside from Ubani, other members of the committee are Messrs Olabisi Ade-ademuwagun and Adebamigbe Omole.

The letter reads, “It is with regret that I tender my letter of resignation from the Caretaker Committee of NBA Ikeja. The main reason for resignation is to avoid my name which I have built over the years to be dragged into the mud by anybody from the branch.

“What makes my resignation imperative is the brazen stance of some members of the branch  to go against the National Body despite clear letters written by both the outgone and present National Exco that the Caretaker Committee should toe the line of legality in the conduct of our forthcoming election by adhering to the Resolution of NEC of NBA in Jos  and Benin both in 2016.

“The major problem is with Article 6(3) of the 2015 Uniform Bye Law which bars a candidate from contesting for a new office if he or she has not spent the requisite number of years after occupying executive position twice at the Branch or at National office.

“At the branch level you are required to stay off for five years, while at the national level you are required to stay off for ten years.

“The said article 6(3) was resolved at Jos NEC in 2016 to have retrospective effect and reiterated or reaffirmed in Benin NEC of same 2016.

“It is on record that I was the only person that raised a voice against the retrospective effect of that Article in Jos NEC of 2016 and was overruled.

“Since then, the interpretation has been used to disqualify any candidate who has held two executive positions without allowing the requisite number of years to exhaust before seeking for a further office all over the branches and at the national level.

“Part of the Caretaker Committee’s mandate is to conduct an election for the Branch for the year 2020. Having cleared and published the voters list, the next task was to clear the contestants.

“However we had a petition written against one of the candidates seeking for the chairmanship position alleging that he has held two executive positions at the Branch level and has not exhausted the requisite five years before seeking for the new office.

“Our findings supported the allegation and to avoid being accused of bias the Committee sought clarifications from both the outgone and present national Secretariat and they in their various letters dated 5th of August, 2020 and 14th of September, 2020 reiterated the fact that Article 6(3) of the Uniform Bye-law be  applied retrospectively and advised the the Committee should not depart from the said application moreso since the interpretation as adopted in JOS NEC has not been reversed in any subsequent NEC, AGM or by the court.

“The Committee of the branch met few days ago and on a sad note decided to proceed with the said election by clearing every person including the candidate that was caught up with Article 6(3) of the Uniform Bye Law of 2015  despite the clear clarifications of the National Body that set us up in the first place.

“I vehemently dissented with this view and insisted that the new National Exco be written seeking clarification to the said Article if we were still in doubt as to the interpretation of that section of the law.

“The Committee had to retrace the wrong step they had earlier on taken by complying with the interpretation of the contentious section   after they got a response from the present Secretariat reitering the fact that we should abide with NEC Resolution of Jos 2016.

“The Committee thereby disqualified one of the Candidates who is contesting for the chairmanship position because he has held offices for two times and have not stayed off from contesting from five years as required by the said Bye Law.

“The position of the law is that the said candidate stands disqualified from contesting the 2020 NBA Election. That is the status quo ante properly interpreted.

“It is regrettably though, that I have to resign the membership of the committee that refused to do the right thing in the first place.

“Such behaviour is not in tandem with what I believe and stand for in the NBA. It is improper to undermine the integrity and strength of our national body through our actions at the Branch level whereas everyone in our inner-most heart, desires a very strong and united bar.

“Hypocrisy of this magnitude is a lethal sin. My nature abhors it. I hereby resign my membership of the Caretaker Committee of NBA Ikeja of 2020 to avoid being part of the persons that will engineer an unnecessary crisis in my beloved Branch.

“Already I am aware of some members’ plans to drag the Branch into another round of crisis. It is unnecessary.  I had better walk away.”

26th October 2021
Nigerian Pantagraph
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