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NBA presidency 2016:  Arewa backs  Gadzama, Mahmoud faults choice

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Adeniyi Adegbonmire (SAN), (left) Kemi Balogun (SAN), Funke Aboyade (SAN), President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the celebrant, Biodun Owonikoko (SAN), and wife, Oyinlayo at the official commissioning of the Juweirat Law Resource Centre in Lekki, Lagos…recently.  

Adeniyi Adegbonmire (SAN), (left) Kemi Balogun (SAN), Funke Aboyade (SAN), President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the celebrant, Biodun Owonikoko (SAN), and wife, Oyinlayo at the official commissioning of the Juweirat Law Resource Centre in Lekki, Lagos…recently.

AREWA Lawyers Forum (ALF), a seven-member screening committee set up to screen candidates for the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) elections in July, over the weekend in Kaduna, Kaduna State, recommended the former chairman of the NBA’s Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN) for adoption as the Forum’s presidential candidate in the election.

 

Chairman of the selection committee, Garuba Pwul (SAN), while presenting the report of the committee, stated the terms of reference of the committee to include: “Screening members of the Forum who intend to contest for the various positions in the 2016 NBA elections; to advise the Forum as to the most preferred candidates to be supported by the Forum for the elections and to take all other steps as may be required to give effect to the above objectives.

Pwul said: “The committee immediately held its inaugural meeting on October 30, 2015, where it developed a module with which to carry out its mandate, the committee resolved to invite written submissions from the persons who had earlier submitted their letters of expression of interest to the forum, to state the reasons why each of them should be the preferred candidate to be supported by ALF.

The committee also resolved to clear candidates whose positions were not being contested by any member of the Forum and who will satisfy the guidelines of the NBA electoral committee.

“That the Committee arrived at its decisions after considering the commitment of the candidates to the cause of Arewa Lawyers Forum, their contributions, and participation in the affairs of the NBA, their seniority at the Bar and their overall acceptability to members across the country and others for the election”

“Consequently the committee adopted candidates as follows: Garba Abubakar for Asst. Publicity Secretary; Saidu Abubakar for the office of Publicity Secretary; T.T. Igba for Welfare Secretary; Aisha Ado Abdullahi for Treasurer; Ibrahim Aliyu Nasarawa for the office of First Vice-President and Chief J-K Gadzama  (SAN) for the office of NBA President

A. B. Mahmoud (SAN) stood up and rejected the adoption stating that ALF should tread with caution to avoid laying a foundation for what is not right.

He said: “I have been a lawyer for 33 years and have built a reputation for myself, I have been discussing this election matter with Chief J-K Gadzama and two of us  are very close, therefore, I will not be bound by  the outcome of a process that is not transparent  and I deserve to be treated with honour.

“I received the notice of last October meeting of the ALF in which the screening committee was set up by 12pm. So I went to the meeting late after this screening committee had been set up, the committee assessed me solely on the basis of the documents which I submitted to  them  without further interaction with  me,  therefore I suggest  that a committee of elders of ALF be set up to resolve this  issue”

But the chairman of ALF who is also the Governor of Bauchi State, M. A. Abubakar told him that time to fix a meeting of any group is a process that can be decided at any time by the executives.

In his speech, Gadzama said: “ It is true that Mr. Mahmoud and I have been talking on this issue, we are brothers, very close and have come a long way.

But I am surprised at his comments about the October meeting of ALF in Bauchi which all of us attended, we signed the attendance register, shook hands and also took group photographs after the meeting which were published in the national dailies. I have copies here with me.

“He never complained about the constitution of the screening committee, the processes or expressed any doubts on the outcome of its deliberations. All of us spoke at that meeting and agreed to be bound by the results of the screening exercise. Before that meeting, we had submitted our letters of intent to contest the election, then we were asked to submit the reasons why each of us thought we should be adopted by ALF for the election, Mr. Mahmoud submitted and I submitted, nobody raised any issue or objection

He continued: “We have never witnessed this in Arewa, last time, Mr. J. B. Daudu (SAN) and I sat down for hours in my Abuja house while a group of 11 Arewa elders took a decision on our behalf. I have said it times without number, that I am bound by any decision taken by this house, I am bound by it whether it favours me or not.

“Let us remain together, it is better for us, I and Mahmoud are friends. I had invited him to my house, though he is yet to invite me to his house and anytime he invites me, I will go. I know that even in arbitration, parties may decide to have documents only on arbitration. You can mediate for parties through documents only and the result will bind them, it will be acceptable and binding. The path to take now is to take the path of caution and the parameters have been set”.

The meeting resolved that a committee made of seven members to be known as Elders Council should be formed to resolve the issue, and that each of the gladiators: Gadzama (SAN) and Mahmoud (SAN) should each nominate three members and the exco will nominate a member who should double as  Chairman of the Elders Council.



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