The Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has dismissed the petition by a presidential candidate in the recently concluded NBA General Election, Mr. Dele Adesina SAN seeking the cancellation of the election on the ground of fraud and irregularities.
In its letter dated August 19, 2020, personally signed by the BOT Chairman and former NBA President, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN and addressed to Adesina, the Trustees noted that it has no judicial authority to give direction to the NBA as the board’s position is at best advisory. “we have no judicial authority to give direction to the NBA,” the Board of Trustees stated that its position “is at best advisory.”
The Trustees noted in its letter that Mr. Adesina’s petition was forwarded to and responses received from the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA); NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN; NBA President-elect, Mr. Olumide Akpata and Mr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN “in line with the principles of fair hearing”.
Reviewing the responses received from the parties, the trustees declared: “We note that the Elections were not perfect. We reviewed your petition and note that it raises serious issues. Nonetheless, our advice will be the overall interest of the Bar should be paramount on the mind of every Nigerian lawyer and to that extent, we urge that all lawyers and no less the candidates be mindful of the need to promote a cohesive, united and strong Bar. We regret that we are unable to advise that the election should be cancelled in the overall interest of the Bar.”
Noting that NBA elections “continue to present challenges going back to 2016,” the trustees “strongly recommend that a major transformation of our electoral process and framework must be undertaken,” adding that “we are happy to be assigned this very important responsibility of ensuring that the incoming administration acts accordingly.”
Mr. Adesina had withdrawn from the NBA election few hours before the conclusion voting citing massive rigging and irregularities. He subsequently forwarded a petition to the NBA Board of Trustees seeking the cancellation of the 2020 general election which saw the emergence of Olumide Akpata as the 30th President of the Nigerian Bar Association.
With the decision of the Trustees, it is hoped that the issues raised by the election would be laid to rest in the overall interest of the Association.