The Legal Adviser to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Owerri Branch, Mazi Udegbulem has said the Eastern Bar (Forum EBF) has no power to decide who becomes the President of the NBA. He said this on the heels of the controversy being stirred up in some quarters by members of the EBF regarding a purported move to prevent some members of the Forum from contesting for the position of the President of the NBA in the 2018 general election.
On the Reason for Forming EBF
EBF was formed amongst other things with the intention to fight for better recognition for the old Easter region in Nigeria Bar politics. That said, EBF has even surpassed the dream of her founding fathers. We have tried and even got the opportunity of presenting candidates twice in rotation. We now have the Arewa lawyers representing the entire North and they fight for the northern slot whenever it is zoned to them, Oduduwa Lawyers representing the west do the same including Edo, and we have south east and South-South separately.
On the Choice of Candidate for NBA Presidency
Chief Okey Wali was President just less than 4yrs ago and by 2018 it will come to Igbo land. That was the success story of EBF.
Now that the slot for the NBA President is coming to East again, EBF should not decide who contest or not except for those offices not specifically zoned to the East. If the slot of NBA President is zoned to the East, it will be wrong for EBF to decide to anoint a candidate. EBF can do her election in those office that are open for other regions to contest just to narrow down on their choice of candidate for those offices but not the offices that are already Eastern Zone bound. The reason is that EBF cannot decide for the NBA. Any attempt to impose a candidate purportedly as EBF candidate especially for the president will not go down well. It may weaken EBF. And I assure you that most of the candidates will not even present themselves for any EBF election or selection. Our leadership should be aware of this and allow all the contestants to fight it out. They are all our sons. Remember the endorsement saga that nearly tore the Arewa lawyers apart. It may happen here.
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