Human rights activist and member of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) Mr. Ebun-olu Adegboruwa SAN has warned critics not to pit BOSAN against NBA, as the decision of the body to probe past elections of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) was a unanimous one, with no ill motive or foul play in mind.
Mr. Adegboruwa stated this in a statement he issued after the group, Open Bar Initiative (OBI) insinuated that the move by BOSAN was as a result of the defeat suffered by the SANs during the last NBA election.
The full text of the statement is below:
RE: COMMITTEE TO AUDIT NBA ELECTIONS
My attention has been drawn to a news item currently circulating, to the effect that the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, BOSAN, has set up a parallel Committee to audit the national elections of the Nigerian Bar Association for the year 2016, 2018 and 2020. The said report suggests that BOSAN may have done this in order to undermine the Committee set up by the NBA for the same purpose.
I attended the meeting of BOSAN held on September 5, 2020, as a bona fide member of the said organization, which is duly registered under the relevant laws of Nigeria for the protection of the interests of its members, as permitted under section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
I was nominated along with other distinguished members of BOSAN, for a national assignment, as a patriotic member of the legal profession in Nigeria. It was a unanimous decision of BOSAN, with no ill motive or foul play in mind. The meeting was presided over by the first female Senior Advocate, Mrs. Folake Solanke, who sacrificed her time for the said meeting that lasted well over four hours, at well over 80 years of age, for the common good of all.
All stakeholders in the legal profession are working towards a solution to the perennial complaints following our experiences with electronic voting, it is therefore not outside our mandate as lawyers to help the Bar to chart a way forward in this regard, in collaboration with the NBA and other relevant stakeholders.
The insinuation of alleged foul play is totally unwarranted, being a deliberate attempt to twist the narrative of the BOSAN meeting, with the sole aim of blackmailing the noble men and women of the Inner Bar, into silence.
Personally, I am embarrassed that a meeting held to discuss the progress of the Bar and indeed Nigeria, is being bandied as a gang up, even when no official statement or communique has been issued by the executive council of BOSAN.
I verily believe that those spreading this falsehood are enemies of the Bar, who are out on a sadistic mission to pit the NBA against BOSAN, without any justification whatsoever, given that both bodies exist to complement each other.
I’m concerned that the good reputation of patriotic Bar leaders is being maligned recklessly on the altar of Bar politics, or else I cannot fathom the reason why anyone should lose sleep over attempts to build a united, strong and virile Bar.
From available history, BOSAN has never been in rivalry with any NBA Exco; it has been in existence before the new Exco assumed office and it will continue to partner with all NBA Excos for the progress of the Bar and Nigeria at large.
Personally, I offer to work with all stakeholders within the Bar, including the present leadership of the NBA, for the common good of the legal profession and our country, Nigeria, as I do in other national issues.
Recall that the OBI had in a statement by its Convener, My. Silas Joseph Onu, threatened to drag the BOSAN to Court should they proceed with setting up a committee to probe the last election. OBI’s grouse is that the move was dictated by the reluctance of BOSAN to accept Akpata’s election, being the first non-SAN to take the mantle of NBA leadership in about 30 years. His words: “It is evident that many Senior Advocates who personally felt defeated by a non-SAN are now working overtime to supplant the Nigerian Bar Association with a group formed only for the SANs.”