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“We are to advise and not to give directions to the NBA” – NBA Board of Trustees replies Dele Adesina on Petition

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The Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association has replied the petition written by a presidential candidate in the just concluded NBA Elections, Mr. Dele Adesina, SAN where he called for the cancellation of the process that produced Mr. Olumide Akpata as the 60th president of the association. The Board noting that the election cannot be canceled in the Bar interest in order to promote a “cohesive, united and strong Bar”.

This is contained in a reply to the petition written by the Board Chair, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN on the 19th August, 2020 which was made available to Law Reporters.

The Board of Trustees however noted that upon receiving the petition in the interest of fair hearing it heard from the ECNBA, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN, Mr. Olumide Akpata and the NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN. that after a careful consideration of the petition, it regrets the inability to call for the cancellation of the poll because its duty is merely “advisory” and not to give directions to the NBA. This decision was personally signed by the BOT Chairman and former NBA President, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN and addressed to Adesina.

The Board also noted that NBA elections “continue to present challenges going back to 2016,” the trustees “strongly recommend that a major transformation of our electoral process and framework must be undertaken,” adding that “we are happy to be assigned this very important responsibility of ensuring that the incoming administration acts accordingly.”

Law reporters recalls that ECNBA Chairman, Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN had on July 31, 2020 declared Akpata as winner of the NBA presidential election held on July 29 or 30, 2020.

According to the ECNBA Chairman, Akpata polled 9,891 or 54.3 per cent votes to beat his closest rival, Ajibade who garnered 4,328 (23.8 per cent) votes. Adesina polled 3,982 votes (21.9 per cent) to bring up the rear. Adesina had a few hours to the end of the election demanded cancellation of the poll, saying it was fraught with infractions. The election was held via ElectionBuddy, an electronic voting software deployed by Edmonton, Canada based firm.

Though a total of 29,636 lawyers were accredited for the election, only 18,256 or 62 per cent of the voters succeeded in casting their ballots.

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