“Ubani Resigns As Ikeja Branch Caretaker Committee Member, Says He Cannot Take Part In Disregarding NEC Resolution Of NBA”
Posted: 18/Sep/2020

The former 2nd Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, Esq has resigned as Caretaker Committee Member of NBA Ikeja Branch

Ubani in a statement said his resignation is because the Committee has decided to allow an unqualified candidate to participate in the elections of the Branch contrary to the provisions of the NBA Uniform Bye-laws.

“It is with regret that I tender my letter of resignation from the Caretaker Committee of NBA Ikeja, reason being the ill-advised position of the Chairman and the third member of the Committee to proceed with conducting an illegal election in which a candidate who was not qualified in accordance with our Bye-Law is cleared to run.

“What makes my resignation imperative is the brazen decision of the Committee to go against the National Body despite clear letters written by both the outgone and present National Exco that the Committee should toe the line of legality in the conduct of the said election,” Ubani said

He explained that by virtue of Article 6(3) of the 2015 Uniform Bye-Law of NBA, person who occupies office twice shall wait for another five years to be eligible to recontest in the Branch level

“The major problem is with Article 6(3) of the 2015 Uniform Bye-Law which bars a candidate from contesting for a new office if he or she has not spent the requisite number of years after occupying executive position twice at the Branch and at National office. At the branch level you are required to spend five years, while at the national level you are required to spend ten years.”

Ubani added that “The said article 6(3) was resolved at Jos NEC in 2016 to have retrospective effect and reiterated or reaffirmed in Benin NEC of same 2016. Since then, the interpretation has been used to disqualify any candidate who has held two executive positions without allowing the requisite number of years to exhaust before seeking for a further office all over the federation.”

Giving a background of what transpired leading to the resignation, Monday Ubani said a petition was received against one of the Branch’s chairmanship aspirants alleging that the said aspirant is contesting for the third time. The allegation was eventually found to be true. The Committee involved the national body of the Association in interpreting the constitution and the position was unanimous that a person who has occupied office for two consecutive times shall not be eligible to contest again till after the expiration of five years.

“Part of the Caretaker Committee’s mandate is to conduct an election for the Branch for the year 2020. Having cleared and published the voters list, the next task was to clear the contestants. However, we had a petition written against one of the candidates seeking for the chairmanship position alleging that he has held two executive positions at the Branch level and has not exhausted the requisite five years before seeking for the new office.

“Our findings supported the allegation and to avoid being accused of bias the Committee sought clarifications from both the outgone and present national Secretariat and they in their various letters dated 5th of August, 2020 and 14th of September, 2020 reiterated the fact that Article 6(3) of the Uniform Bye-law is applied retrospectively and advised the Committee should not depart from the said application moreso since the interpretation as adopted in JOS NEC has not been reversed in any subsequent NEC, AGM or by the court.” Ubani said

To his dismay, however, “The Committee of the branch met today and it is sad to note that they decided to proceed with the said election despite the clear directives of the National Body that set us up in the first place.”

He said he cannot serve in a Committee to undermine the national body. He therefore resigned.

“It is, therefore, my decision, regrettably though, that I have to decline serving in a committee that set out purposely to undermine the National Body. Such behaviour is not tandem to what I believe and stand for in the NBA. It is improper to undermine the integrity and strength of our national body through our actions at the Branch level whereas everyone in our inner-most heart desires a very strong and united bar. Hypocrisy of this magnitude is a lethal sin. My nature abhors it. I hereby resign my membership of the Caretaker Committee of NBA Ikeja of 2020 to avoid being part of the persons that will engineer an unnecessary crisis in my beloved Branch.”