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HomeNewsEGBE's PLANNED COERCION OF NBA CHAIRMEN & SECRETARIES FOR PREFERRED CANDIDATE

EGBE’s PLANNED COERCION OF NBA CHAIRMEN & SECRETARIES FOR PREFERRED CANDIDATE

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By Favour Njoku

Egbe Amofin is said to be the umbrella body of Yoruba lawyers in Nigeria, however, I’m worried by the undemocratic twist in the politics of adoption of preferred candidate in the forthcoming NBA presidential elections.

One of the hallmarks of the administration of Austin Alegeh SAN was the introduction of universal suffrage in NBA elections. This new system made NBA elections more democratic and stopped the corrupt ridden delegate system which created room for vote buying and horse trading. Of course, the old system allowed little room for accountability to members of the profession by leaders who possibly spent so much on delegates before they could be elected.

The ‘‘interests’’ in Egbe Amofin who decided on this adoption route must not take us back to those days. I say ‘‘interests’’ because recent surveys already show that the choice was not the choice of the majority of Yoruba lawyers but the choice of a few who took the decision. These are revolutionary times where the “establishments” no longer hold sway even in national and international politics. The ‘‘interests’’ in Egbe need to remember that.

More worrisome is the fact that the these ‘‘interests’’ through one of its leaders issued a veiled threat to any Branch Chairman who refuses to support its adopted candidate, Deacon Dele Adesina SAN.

The statement read as follows ” Egbe Amofin at its meeting of 14 December, 2019 held in Ibadan adopted the recommendation of the Egbe Amofin 2020 NBA Election Advisory Committee. The Committee recommended Deacon Dele Adesina SAN as the consensus candidate of Egbe Amofin for the office of the President, Nigerian Bar Association at the 2020 Election. We expect all members of Egbe Amofin in particular the Chairmen of NBA Branches to abide by this decision and refrain from actions which may undermine the decision of Egbe Amofin.”

The above statement raises so many questions that lawyers interested in the progress of the Bar need to ponder on.

Why must these ‘‘interests’’ in Egbe resort to threats?

Why must the Egbe seek to curtail the inalienable right of the Branch Chairmen to support candidates of their choice?

Does the Egbe think that the Chairmen would use whatever means at their disposal to coerce or unduly influence members of their Executive Committees and members of their Branch to support the adopted candidate of the Egbe?

Is the Egbe cabal saying that other eminently qualified candidates like Dr. Tunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Adesina Ogunlana are not entitled to exercise their right to contest the election? More so the fact that Dr. Ajibade SAN is very popular amongst lawyers across Nigeria as recent polls showed?

Is the Egbe’s adopted candidate going to be the President of Egbe Amofin alone or the President of the Nigerian Bar Association?

If the Egbe’s candidate is truly popular, why the attempt to coerce Branch Chairmen to support him instead of allowing him test his popularity by convincing all members of the profession to support his candidacy?

Will the Egbe cabal devise a means to monitor how lawyers vote during the elections to know the voting trend in a supposedly secret ballot?

Whether these ‘‘interests’’ in Egbe like it or not, universal suffrage has come to stay. In fact, we can link it to the increasing responsiveness of the leadership of the Bar both at the National level and in Lagos & Abuja Branches in particular to the needs and welfare of lawyers. We are not there yet but we have certainly made progress in many respects because every lawyer now has a sense of belonging in the affairs of the NBA through universal suffrage.

If these ‘‘interests’’ in Egbe have made any progress at all in this election brouhaha, it certainly has not done any good to the aspirations of its adopted candidate.

Lawyers don’t want a President that will be controlled by a some ‘‘interests’’. We won our freedom through the switch to universal suffrage and we will not trade it for anything. We say no to the imposition of candidates by ‘‘interests’’ for the NBA presidency.

Favour Njoku.
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Oludare
Oludare
Lawyer, Bibliophile, Polyglot, Traveller
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