Former Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Zaria Branch Mr. Saidu Abubakar has warned the Electoral Committee of the NBA to desist from its alleged plot to disqualify voters by introducing clauses which are strange to the NBA Constitution and their enabling powers.
In an open letter to the Electoral Body, Mr. Abubakar warned that he would proceed to court to challenge any requirement which disenfranchises the electorates.
The former publicity secretary who claims that his decision to write to the Electoral Committee was prompted by a worrisome publication by the Electoral Body directing lawyers to submit to their NBA Branches copies of their current annual practicing fee and branches dues with deadline for submission of such documents.
Speaking further, he stated; “My worry was further heightened by part of the notice which stated that these details are necessary to enable lawyers vote in the NBA election. I have carefully searched through the NBA Constitution for the legal basis for the requirement but could not find one,”
Explaining the purport of Paragraph 2.3(d) of 2nd Schedule of NBA Constitution, 2015, Mr. Abubakar noted that the ECNBA is not empowered to issue such guideline but can only request branches to furnish names of members who have paid their branch dues as and when due.
“The paragraph merely requires the ECNBA to publish “the full list of all legal practitioners qualified to vote in conjunction with the National Secretariat of the NBA at least twenty eight (28) days before the date of the election.”
“Paragraph 2.2(f) of 2nd Schedule of NBA Constitution empowers all members of the Association to vote at the general election for National Executives, provided that such members must belong to a branch and must have paid both their Practicing Fees and Branch Dues as and when due and are duly registered to vote at that election.
“There is no legal or logical basis for requiring lawyers to submit copies of Annual Practicing Fee tellers to their branches as NBA has a comprehensive record of all lawyers who paid their Practicing Fee as and when due.
“All lawyers who paid BPF did so with their branch code which clearly records them as belonging to specific branches.
The Electoral Committee had issued a notice to intending voters in the upcoming General Election to submit their practicing fees receipt to their various branches or risk being disqualified from voting. Some Branches have also gone ahead to publish names of its members who are yet to comply with the ECNBA’s directives.