It is no longer news that the youngest Presidential Aspirant in the forthcoming NBA General Election has been disqualified. The official reason for his disqualification was basically because of his inability to provide a satisfactory letter of good standing from his branch. Whether the reason is valid in law is a question that only the courts may have to decide. There has been very robust arguments on the relevant provisions of the NBA on “Letter of Good Standing”, I do not intend to go into that in this piece.
With the final words from ECNBA disqualifying Mazi, the options open to him are now very slim. I can immediately identify two: legal and political.
Since the decision of the ECNBA is based purely on their interpretation of the NBA Constitution, then any grievance arising there from should be taken to the court for adjudication. It’s a simple Originating Summons action. The big question is, with our adjudicatory legal system, will the court give a final verdict on the contentious in the next 22 days when the elections would commence? I doubt. And when I talk about final verdict, I refer to the right of all parties to exercise their rights of appeal up to Supreme Court in the event that the decision of the court of first instance is unsatisfactory.
On the legal option open to Mazi, he may also be exploring the option of obtaining restraining orders against NBA from conducting the election pending the final determination of the suit. Hmmmm. I have had a few encounters with Mazi. He is highly cerebral. His passion for the Bar cannot be questioned. It is based on this little knowledge of him that I think he may not want to ground the entire process of transition in NBA because of the decision of the ECNBA. I may be wrong.
If Mazi ever intends to explore legal option in “getting justice”, my thoughts to him would be that he avoids seeking interlocutor injunctions. An action seeking for proper interpretation of the provisions relating to Letter of Good Standing would be sufficient. The action would help in future elections should we have a similar episode play again.
On the other hand, politically, an action in court may be a waste of resources. I am sure Mazi knows that the issues at hand is more political than legal. I am sure he knows that the issues have more to do about his guts and audacity than “Letter of Good Standing”. Afterall, he had gotten messages from “the powers that be” that he would not be allowed to contest.
Mazi, I must say that you fought a good fight. Oh yes! You did fight a good fight. Posterity is already blessing you for what you stood for. However, you know as much as I do that in politics, what matters most are strategies. I think this is the time for you to have a self reflection and take a firm decision on how you intend to proceed. From my stand point, whatever you decide to do would be your own decisions to make. May I however advise that you consult very widely before settling for a decision. Begin to think if what you intend to do to the Unity Bar Crisis. Think through who amongst the existing Presidential Aspirants have similar vision to yours and have some political discussions on how you may proceed. Take a critical look at the entire episode of your disqualification and mend walls where necessary. It would also be a good decision, if you intend to serve as the conscience of the incoming executives of the NBA (I see that you are doing a brave job in that regard already, as always). You may also want to help your teaming supporters to see the clearer picture. A President must emerge. If it is not Mazi, there should be an alternative for them. The Bar has to move on.
On a final note, you must find a way to say a big thank you to Professor Ernest Ojukwu SAN, for speaking out against injustice. He did it at a time when the injustice “would have been of immense benefit to him”. That to me is a man of honour. You may also find out that even though you were both in the same contest, he spoke for you in your absence at the quarters where it mattered.
Mazi, I love your courage. I love your tenacity. I love your persistence. I love your audacity. I wish you the very best in whatever decisions you take going forward.