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Ex-Bar leader decries poor electoral process in NBA


Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, President NBA

Immediate past general secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mazi Afam Osuigwe has condemned what he termed flagrant violation of the associations’ laws, abuse of rule of law and the manipulation of its electoral process to achieve an intended end.

The lawyer, who was once a branch chairman in Abuja said the association is on the verge of crisis, adding that the association no longer inspire confidence.

Osuigwe, who was recently disqualified from contesting for the president of the association by the body’s electoral committee, said his disqualification was malicious, unjust. He said on account of the injustice, he approached the court to seek redress.

His words: “NBA is on the verge of crisis. That is why we cannot hold election, election we would have held easily if we had obeyed our own laws, instead of manipulating the process, and having a particular candidate boast that I will not contest for the election because he and the secretary are working together.

“The goings on in NBA does not inspire confidence. NBA is supposed to be one of the associations that advocates rule of law.

We criticize others for not obeying laws, we criticize government for trying to narrow down the democratic space, to muzzle out opposition and dissenting voices, but here we are.

NBA seems to be setting bad example for the nation and it makes us worry that if this could be happening in the Bar association, then what hope do we have for the nation?”

He argued that the reason for his disqualification and that of others were baseless. According to him, the electoral committee said one of the reasons for his disqualified was because his branch due for 2017 could not be verified; a claim he said was untrue.

He faulted the verification exercise, which he said is shoddy and being done to disenfranchise those suspected to be loyal to candidates blacklisted by the general secretary.

Osuigwe decried the entire electoral process, saying it is far below acceptable standard.

“We pointed out these issue about the mode of collecting data. We also pointed out the undue influence and involvement of the general secretary in causing people to be disqualified and teleguiding the electoral committee.

“There are issues of violation of rule of law, non-compliance with law and manipulating the electoral process to achieve an intended end,” he alleged, insisting that if the election eventually holds before the conclusion of his case, the entire process stands the risk of being voided by the court.

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