Group, Lawyer Threaten To Sue Body Of SANs Over NBA Elections
Posted: 15/Sep/2020

Abuja- based legal practitioner and co convener of the  Open Bar Initiative (OBI) Mr. Silas Joseph Onu,  has advised the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria(BOSAN) not to audit the just-concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)  2020 national elections.

According to him, BOSAN’s move is because a non-Senior Advocate of Nigeria won the election as the President.

BOSAN had in its meeting of September 5, under the chairmanship of the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Chief Mrs. Folake Solanke, praised Deacon Adesina ( SAN) for his decision to accept the verdict of the Board of Trustees of the NBA, on the 2020 NBA elections and not to contest the result of the said election  in court and thereby bring the Bar into disrepute.

It also set up  committee to audit the election.

A communiqué issued at the end of its meeting reads in part: “BOSAN is determined to achieve the installation of a flawless electoral system for  the  NBA and conscious of  the  need not to  take  a decision on the said elections without  the benefit  of  detailed  facts  based on  proper investigation and  the   experience   with    previous  elections,  further resolved  to set up a five-man committee for the audit of the  2018 and 2020 NBA elections, in partnership with the  Nigerian Bar  Association, comprising the following members:

Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN)  (Chairman); Mr. Osaro Eghobamien (SAN); Chief Yomi Aliyu (SAN); Prof Offornze Amucheazi (SAN) and Mr.  Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN).

However, Onu argued that BOSAN can neither lawfully supervise nor meddle in the affairs of the Nigerian Bar Association.

In a statement, he threatened to sue BOSAN unless it desisted.

Onu said: “Our attention has been drawn to the sinister activity of a group known and referred to as the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), an independent incorporated trustee, with no connection to the NBA whatsoever, as it constitutes itself into a supervisory body of the Nigerian Bar Association.

“Today, they plan to announce a committee of that body to audit the just concluded NBA election. It is evident that many Senior Advocates who personally felt defeated by a non-SAN are now working overtime to supplant the Nigerian Bar Association with a group formed only for the SANs.

“This is not the only overbearing activity embarked upon by the group without any authority from Nigerian lawyers. They have also constituted themselves into the drafters of the proposed amendment to the Legal Practitioner’s Act and therein attempting to give the body a statutory flavour.

“This attempts to undermine the Nigerian Bar Association simply because a non-SAN is the current President by promoting another platform that will speak for and on behalf of lawyers, is unfortunate and hereby condemned. It cannot stand and must be resisted by all well-meaning Nigerian lawyers.

“Senior Advocates, like young lawyers, have the right to come together under a forum that is subject to the Nigerian Bar Association. However, incorporating an independent body with the aim of surreptitiously taking over the core responsibilities of the Nigerian Bar Association is, sadly, demonstrative of the rot that some of these seniors have brought to this profession. The only reason for such a body is to show a distinction between “ordinary” lawyers and the “extraordinary” Senior Advocates, who have now surpassed the level of being called lawyers, or so we imagine.

“The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, being an independent incorporated trustee, has no business whatsoever in meddling with NBA Election under any guise and should discontinue any attempt to so interfere forthwith. They can organise an election for their preferred candidates to lead their own body and it wont be our business at all.

Also, the body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria is not known to the legal practitioner’s Act and has no place in the proposed amendment of the said Act. If they have any input to make, it should be routed through the recognised body of lawyers, the Nigerian Bar Association. They cannot constitute themselves into body acting for or on behalf of lawyers. Their entire membership is less than 600 and as such, they aren’t in any position to act or speak for the over 120, 000 lawyers in Nigeria. They are to desist from further usurpation of responsibilities that does not fall within their purview.

“We are resolved to drag that body to Court if it insists on acting unilaterally in ways that undermine the core purpose and responsibilities of the Nigerian Bar Association.

“We know that not all Senior Advocates subscribe to the objectives of this body and therefore call on the very respected Senior Advocates of Nigeria, properly so -called, to dissociate themselves from this attempt to undermine the Nigerian Bar Association simply because a Non-SAN is presently the President” Onu stated.

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