Members of NBA National Election Appeal Committee resign
Following the letter written by Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), one of the presidential candidates, who lost in the recently concluded National Elections of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), members of the NBA National Election Appeals Committee (NBA-NEAC) have resigned their appointment.
The election into the National Executive Committee of the NBA and the General Council of the Bar (GCB), which was held July 16, 2022, involved three presidential candidates. The result that was announced Sunday, July 17, 2022, saw Yakubu Maikyau (SAN) declared the winner.
In line with the provisions of Section 14(1)(L) of the NBA Constitution 2021 (as amended), the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, had set up the NBA-NEAC with the mandate to, amongst other responsibilities, receive and determine complaints and disputes (petition) from candidates, who took part in the elections.
But Gadzama, in a letter to Akpata, informed him that he would not approach the NBA-NEAC for redress due to concerns on its neutrality.
The erstwhile Appeals Committee members in their resignation letter dated July 30, 2022, stated that it was to pave the way for a new National Election Appeals Committee to be constituted.
“Regrettably, we the members of the NBA-NEAC have taken the collective decision to resign our appointments to pave way for you to constitute a new National Election Appeals Committee in which Chief J. K. Gadzama (SAN) would have enough confidence to ventilate his grievances against the conduct of the recently-concluded elections,” they wrote.
The letter was signed by Mrs. Funmi Roberts (Chairperson), Huwaila Mohammed Ibrahim, Dr. Rosemary Chinelo Chikwendu, Hubert Nwoye, Austin Ajineh (Secretary), Stephen Obajaja, Okey Ohagba, Grace Selre Mamswa and Matthew Egbadon.
They described it as “most unfortunate and underserving” the “mischaracterisation ascribed to some members of the Committee.”
They also said that many NBA-NEAC members refrained from voting during the election.
According to them, as a way to ensure that the process would not in any way be tainted by the accusation of bias.
Gadzama’s close aides had, in a letter to Akpata, signed by Chukwudi Oli and O. E. Oluwabiyi, the Director-General and Admin Officer of Team J-K Gadzama (SAN), stated that their candidate, Gadzama (SAN) wouldn’t be exploring the option of approaching the Committee on the grounds that the Chairperson of the Committee, Mrs. Funmi Roberts, is “more of a supporter of Maikyau by liking posts on LinkedIn.”
The organisation also said they doubted the neutrality of former NBA National Officer and Appeals Committee member, Mr Okey Ohagba, saying that he “was an active Coordinator in Port Harcourt for Maikyau.”
They again alleged that another member of the Appeals Committee, Mrs Huwaila Muhammed Ibrahim, “actively and openly posted contents on her Facebook platform projecting Maikyau.
“The refusal of the ECNBA to allow an election audit, which would examine the Election/Result Logs and the platform for the election as requested by our candidate’s agent, Andrew Agbo-Madaki in his letter dated Saturday, 16th July 2022 further renders our cause a herculean task, if not an impossible one before the Committee, whose duty is essentially fact-finding,” they lamented.