NBA Elections, Lawyers and Hate Speeches – Abdulrasheed Ibrahim


A lawyer recently stirred the hornet’s nest in one of the social media’s platforms when he tried to bring down one of the Presidential aspirants in the forthcoming NBA National Elections. The supporters of the victim did not take this very lightly with the lawyer I may say has committed what I may call “HATE SPEECH”.

The bombardment and the verbal missiles against the poser of the said pose were overwhelming. Up to the moment I was writing this post, the mixed reactions and comments both positive and negative were still on. Some lawyers even used that opportunity to showcase their respective aspirants as the best for the job. When making my own comment on the said platform I said:

“My own word of advice to every one of us is that as lawyers, we should please desist from trying to bring one another down. The way we play politics in NBA should be model to the others to emulate .We should play this politics with the spirit of sportsmanship. We need not castigate any aspirant unnecessarily .Everyone should vote for the candidate of his or her choice.”
When I came across an administrator reading the riot act that it would not accept for publication on his platform any campaign embedded in hate speech, I said this is a welcome development which every other administrators must embrace.   Lawyers should not be seen playing bar politics like the market women or taxi drivers unions. Every lawyer must display high level courtesy and maturity the way he or she goes about canvassing votes for his or her preferred candidate. To cast aspersion on the integrity of others will be grossly unfair. I think it is high time NBA electoral committee buys into the idea of televised Presidential debate as it is done in the United States of America. Let those who want to lead the congregation of lawyers tell the lawyers how they will solve the problems confronting the lawyers.
Lawyers need not be desperate in the quest for power as it is done under the conventional politics where the politicians in the system see the quest as do or die affairs where the people’s lives meant nothing to them. In Nigeria, some politicians unfortunately believe in the shedding of blood to gain power which was the reason why many cases of political of death  have been recorded.
There is no doubt that one of the unfortunate traditions under conventional politic is that the politicians always engage themselves in ruthless press war during political campaign or when there is any political disputes. For instance when Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola parted away as friends during the First Republic ,they went for each other’s throat and  press war was declared wherein newspapers became the war weapons. Reviewing this incident in his book titled:  PEOPLE, POLITICS AND POLITICIANS OF NIGERIA (1940 – 1979)  published in 1995, Late Chief Bola Ige wrote:
 “SLA (Akintola) did not have any newspaper support to back him in 1962 when he went to war against Awo. He may have been a veteran journalist, but the Daily Service was now a weekly magazine; and, worse for him, it was being edited by L. K. Jakande, one of the group whom SLA so much disliked. The other newspaper sympathetic to the AG and its government of the West was the very popular Daily Express. But the editor-in-chief was Bisi Onabanjo who had never liked SLA. In addition, the financial backer of that paper was Chief S. O. Shonibare whom SLA was planning to put into trouble with Awo. In Ibadan, there were three newspapers – Southern Nigerian Defender which was as good as dead, and the Nigerian Tribune and Irohin Yoruba which were Awo’s newspapers. When SLA and his group started Morning Star and Irawo Owuro in 1963 for NNDP purposes, it was too late and his new government newspaper, Daily Sketch… could not help him much…”
The irony of history was that AWOLOWO, AKINTOLA and IGE that were involved then were all lawyers .But the lesson that was apparent is that in politics you don’t underrate the power of the press. In as much as that incident was very unfortunate; lawyers are still in the better position to change the situation for good. In one of my previous posts titled: NBA 2018 ELECTIONS OF NATIONAL OFFICERS: JOINING THE RACE, I said that:
“Our involvement in this race must be with the spirit of sportsmanship. When winners emerge through free and fair elections, the losers must be ready to embrace and congratulate the winners. The losers today may be winners tomorrow. When we go on with our campaigns, such must be done with the high sense of maturity and remember that we are all colleagues at the bar.”
NBA Lagos branch has demonstrated this before. In 2013 when we had Electoral Marathon Race, Mr. Alex Muoka breasted the tape ahead of Messr. Hannibal Uwaifo and Martin Ogunleye to emerge the Chairman of the branch.  Mrs Bola Animashau who was also in the race for the position of the Assistant Publicity Secretary lost it to Amaka Aneke Esq but this notwithstanding everyone was happy and no ill feelings. Those who lost the elections then congratulated the winners in the spirit of sportsmanship. Was there any lesson from this?  Do you remember the James Hardly Chase’s series titled VULTURE IS A PATIENT BIRD? In 2015, Mr. Martin Ogunleye (a.k.a Akabi Ogun) became the Chairman of the Branch while Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo went on to become the Chairman or President of the African Bar Association. Mrs. Bola Animashau who lost the position of Assistant Publicity Secretary in 2013 is now the incumbent Vice Chairman of our Lagos Branch. This is the gain of being friendly with everyone.
If Abraham Lincoln of America had not being patient he would not have eventually become the President of the United States of America. Buhari would not have become the Nigerian President today if he doesn’t believe in the concept of try again. There was a former President of Senegal who was in opposition for about thirty years before he eventually won elections into that position. Can any typical Nigerian politician remain for so long in opposition without cross carpeting?
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