Immediately after I realized that some elements have decided to go all out in achieving their ulterior motives in the coming NBA Elections, I decided to take some steps back, get a comforting sofa with wine and pizza, and watch events from afar as they unfold. I wouldn’t have imagined that someone would create a fake email address for the ECNBA and use same to disseminate information. To the extent of circulating a fake resignation letter purportedly emanating from the Chairman of the ECNBA. It’s unbelievable!!!
While I was taking my second glass of wine this morning, I stumbled on a post on the Facebook Page of Che Oyinatumba where a Petition purportedly written by Mrs. Kehinde Dunmoye to the President of the NBA. The petition is headed: Petition Against The Unprofessional And Unethical Practice of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) In Appeal No. CA/L/640/2013 Between UBA & Anor. Vs. Kehinde Dunmoye.
Because Che is a celebrated supporter of Chief Arthur Obi Okafor (SAN), a Presidential Aspirant in the forth-coming NBA General Elections, I knew the post was not just an innocent journalistic writing. Che questioned the integrity of Paul Usoro (SAN) to lead the Bar having regard to the content of the alleged petition. Che highlighted the following paragraph of the Petition to emphasize his query:
“To further frustrate my effort to reap the fruit of the judgment, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) and his law firm wrote to the Attorney General of the Federation not to grant me consent to execute the judgment of the Court of Appeal…”.
I understand that in politics, everything is possible. Simple things become complex for political gains. Clear provisions of statutes are interpreted to soothe the political divide one belongs. Genuine charitable acts are misinterpreted and labeled political points, amongst other vices. However, as lawyers, the expectations imposed on us by our calling and the society demands a whole lot, much more beyond an average reasoning.
In order to be fair on the person who published the alleged Petition, let’s start with the average reasoning. Assuming Paul Usoro (SAN) indeed wrote a letter to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation not to grant the alleged petitioner consent to execute the referred judgment and the petitioner thinks such correspondence to the HAGF was misleading, wasn’t the average thing to do in that circumstance to write to the HAGF that Paul’s letter be discountenanced while she proceed with the execution of the judgment?
Let’s take it a step further and begin to think as lawyers.
- I see that UBA And one other person are the Appellants in the referred appeal while the alleged petitioner is the Respondent. How did the HAG come into the picture of executing the judgment? How did Paul or his law firm come into the picture? Is it the case that Paul or his law firm represented the Appellant’s in the appeal? If Paul or his law firm represented the Appellant’s in the appeal, would the communication by Paul to the Appellant not be a client/lawyer communication?
- When did it become an ethical issue for a lawyer to communicate with a public officer on his thoughts on a present concern? Would the communication from such lawyer not remain in advisory realm?
- When did it become an ethical issue for a citizen to exercise his constitutional guaranteed right of appeal in matters he so thinks require such exercise of discretion?
- Assuming without conceding that labour matters terminate at the Court of Appeal (which was recently decided upon owing to the chance provided by a citizen who decided to exercise his right of Appeal even where it appeared that the National Industrial Court was the final arbiter on labour matters), wouldn’t it be in the proper place of the Supreme Court to decide if the Appeal filed by Paul Usoro (SAN) or his firm is unmeritorious?
- What exactly is the content of the judgment sought to be executed?
- What is the content of the letter allegedly written by Paul Usoro (SAN) to the HAGF?
- Where is the letter the petitioner alleged that the HAGF wrote to her lawyer?
The moment we seek to have answers to the queries raised above, then we would have left the low ebb of an ordinary politician and begin to reason like nobles that we truly are.
In my view, which I am very much entitled to, this 2018 Election has been the worst thing that has happened to the Nigerian Bar Association in recent times. I sincerely hope we all recover from this and quickly too. I sincerely do!
“No matter who or what you support, I believe in supporting fairness first.”