NBA 2018 Election: The Power of the Incumbency

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For political observers and commentators, the power of the incumbency is one factor which is never trivialized. There are several instances where the incumbent has used his “power and might” to support an aspirant to the seat against all other interests. It is surely not the case that there is an absolute guarantee that the incumbent’s “power and might” provides an automatic victory. The recent presidential elections in both the United States of America and Nigeria are immediate case studies.

With respect to the NBA 2018 National Elections, the dynamics of the “power of the incumbency” would definitely play out. From recent developments, we may actually say that the dynamics have started projecting.

As of today, there are four individuals who appear to be interested in the position of the President of the NBA in the 2018 National Elections, Mazi Afam Osigwe; Arthur Obi Okafor (SAN); Professor Ernest Ojukwu (SAN) and Paul Usoro (SAN). All these prospective contestants are political gladiators in their own rights. The question is; how are they expected to deal with the “power and might” of the incumbency?

The last person who quietly joined the race for the post of the President of the NBA was Paul Usoro (SAN). Surprisingly, his late entry came with some strategies, vigour and seeming “national” blessings.

The president of the NBA, A. B. Mahmud (SAN) was scheduled to deliver a speech at the special court session held at the Supreme Court in honour of the late Justice of the Supreme Court, Honourable Justice Paul Kemdilim Nwokedi. For some reasons, the President of the Bar was unavoidably absent at the special court session. There was then a need for the President to send a representative to deliver the President’s speech at the session. Section 8(5)(b)(iv) of the NBA Constitution 2015 provides that the First Vice President shall perform all the duties as he/she may be directed by the President of the National Executive Committee or the Annual General Conference or which the President is unable to perform owing to ill health, old age, absence from the country or nay other reason. I am not going to run into an error of attempting to interpret the provisions of the constitution guiding the affairs of lawyers because I am sure that there would be as much variant interpretations as there are lawyers. What is clear though is that the President has to give the Vice President some sense of responsibilities where it is impossible for him to perform his constitutional/administrative role.

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An ordinary member of the bar would have expected that any of the vice presidents of the NBA would have delivered the speech of the President of the NBA. Alas, the President’s speech was delivered by Paul Usoro, SAN (a prospective contender to the post of the NBA President in the next election). Isn’t the privilege accorded Mr. Paul Usoro SAN to deliver the speech a form of subtle endorsement of a prospective interest he may have in the seat of the NBA President? Is the privilege of representing the NBA President at the court session supposed to be part of the tutorials for Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) on the conduct expected of him upon his ascension to the throne? Was the privilege part of the publicist strategies outlined to sell the candidacy of Mr. Paul Usoro SAN? Whatever the answers to these questions are, the other prospective aspirants must wake up from their slumber and begin to do some serious strategizing if they are truly serious about their ambitions.

May I offer a few free advice to specific prospective contenders for the post of the NBA President.

I had at some points noted that the “young lawyers” supporters of Mazi Afam Osigwe have exhausted all their abusive arsenals and have gone back to their mothers to such more breast milk to gather strength for further abuse. I advise that the captain of the ship (Mazi Afam Osigwe) identifies clear strategies for his ambition. What would definitely not work is the strategy of pitching the “young lawyers” against the “senior lawyers”. Nobody would applaud that strategy, not even those who sing your praise in your presence. Mazi Afam Osigwe needs to have clear and consistent answers to all the allegations of mismanagement and disruption of the political order of the Abuja Branch of the NBA. He must also be ready to articulate his achievements as the past General Secretary of the NBA. He must begin to weigh his achievements on an imaginary scale and convince himself that they out-weigh the dents in his sojourn while in office (if there were dents)

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The little profile of “Teacher” I have read does not suggest he is a green horn in the politics of the NBA. My only fear is whether he has enough resources (Financial material and human) to run a successful campaign to contest for the office of the President of the NBA. Professor Ojukwu SAN is an academia with very high intellect. This is one resource he has to totally deploy to his ambition. Whichever way he intends to harness his intellectual sagacity to fill the areas where he lacks depends entirely on how soon he begins to understand that the contest, favours the rich and mighty. This is not an academic contest, it is politics and “Teacher” has to play politics to be seen as a contender.

A lot of people have commented that Chief Arthur Obi Okafor (SAN) represents the “Igbo” version of doing things. I am not sure this sounds right. I am however certain that Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN is arguably the most successful counsel in private legal practice, next only to Paul Usoro SAN, who is presently in the race for the post of the President. My simple advice to Chief is that, he should amongst other strategies reach out to Mazi Afam Osigwe and Professor Ernest Ojukwu.  The trio should have a strategic session, close ranks and agree on a common front/candidate from the South-East to put up a fierce contest against the South-south candidate who already has seeming National blessing.

I have recently read that Paul Usoro SAN is the Co-chair of the Planning Committee of the first ever Dinner to be organized by the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria. Could this be part of the selling points? Time will tell.

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I am interested in arraying the nuances of the forthcoming NBA Election. I shall make sure you enjoy every bit of the events as they unfold. My name? I shall reveal it when all my prophesies have come to pass. Stay on board!

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