The Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has responded to the petition of Dele Adesina, saying it cannot cancel the association’s July 29 election.
Adesina, who came third in the NBA presidential election, had called for its cancellation, alleging that the poll was manipulated.
Adesina had alleged that the processes that led to the election and the election itself were fraught with “instances of lawlessness and gross violation of the NBA constitution”.
But in a reply dated August 19 and signed by Olisa Agbakoba, chairman of the BoT, the trustees expressed regret that they cannot advise that the election be cancelled, adding that it has no judicial authority to give direction to the NBA and can only advise.
The BoT also said it forwarded Adesina’s petition to the election committee of the NBA (ECNBA); Olumide Apata, the president-elect, and Babatunde Ajibade, another presidential candidate, “in line with principles of fair hearing”.
It said having given careful consideration to Adesina’s petition and all the responses received, it noticed that the elections were not perfect.
The BoT noted that though Adesina raised issues of serious concern about the conduct of the election, it would advise him to promote unity in the association.
“The Trustees have given careful consideration and deeply reflected on your petition and all the responses, in particular, that of ECNBA (Election Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association),” the BoT said.
“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.”
The BoT added that the NBA elections “continue to present challenges going back to 2016,” and “strongly recommend that a major transformation of our electoral process and framework must be undertaken”.
“We are happy to be assigned this very important responsibility of ensuring that the incoming administration acts accordingly,” the BoT added.