Lawyers petition Malami over ‘unconstitutional’ NBA election

A group of lawyers has described the ongoing election of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) as illegal and unconstitutional.

The group, Concerned Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has written a letter asking Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, to intervene in the matter.

The lawyers have demanded that the general council of the NBA should be convened as enshrined in the body’s constitution — in a situation where the association is unable to conduct its election at the end of July.

The electoral committee of the association had scheduled the election for July 27-28 but shifted the date to July 30-31, and most recently, to August 2-3.

“The NBA constitution clearly requires the association to conclude leadership elections before the end of July,” read the letter signed by Chidi Odinkalu, convener and Silas Onu, secretary.

“That is clearly the ‘appropriate time’ provided in section 6(2) of the constitution. If elections do not do not take place by the end of July, then by operation of section 6(2) of the NBA constitution, the tenure of the national officers of the association is terminated and the general council of the Bar shall convene to appoint a 10-man caretaker committee to run the affairs of the NBA for the unexpired duration of the tenure or such a time as new national officers are elected.

“The underlying disposition of the NBA constitution is clearly that a leadership that is unwilling or unable to organize elections within the clock envisaged by the NBA constitution loses credibility to do so. Section 6(2) operates to bring its tenure to an end.

“For the avoidance of doubt, after July 31, even the ECNBA ceases to exist and cannot organize any elections.”

The concerned lawyers also protested that the ongoing election is “afflicted with irredeemable deficits of legitimacy”.

“Quite apart from failing to meet constitutional muster, the on-going process of election is afflicted with irredeemable deficits of legitimacy. It has been configured to guarantee that an overwhelming majority of voters will be unable to accredit to vote for no fault of theirs. The outcome will lack legitimacy within and beyond the NBA,” the group said.

When TheCable reached out to Abubakar Mahmoud, president of the NBA, his personal assistant answered the call saying his principal is in a meeting “sorting NBA issues”.