BEING A COMMUNIQUE OF THE EMERGENCY MEETING OF THE NBA BODY OF VICE CHAIRMEN OF BRANCHES ON CONTROVERSY OVER THE POSITION OF THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF NBA-ABUJA BRANCH
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
We, the Vice Chairmen of NBA branches and Chairmen, Human Rights Committee of branches held an emergency meeting on Saturday, the 13th day of November 2021 on the bye-election proposed to be held to fill the purported vacant office of the Chairman of the Abuja branch, in spite the fact that the Branch has a Vice-Chairperson at the time the office of the substantive Chairman of the Branch became vacant.
Recalling that the Chairperson of the Abuja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association was announced dead in a statement titled, ‘Notice of the demise of our Chairman, Dr Hauwa E. Shekarau,’ issued by the Secretary of NBA, Abuja branch, Prince Adetosoye on the 15th of September, 2021.
That the Vice Chairmen of Branches commiserated with the Vice Chairman of Abuja branch, in which they recognized the need to support her in knowledge sharing and capacity building in responding to public social emergencies as she takes over the new mantle of the Abuja branch as the Chairperson;
Considering the provisions of the NBA constitution that formally and constitutionally endorsed her to, in the absence of the Chairman, preside at all meetings over which the Chairman has the power to preside and to perform all other duties which the Chairman, owing to ill-health, or absence is unable to perform;
Further considering that she has to provide direction and leadership to all Committees, Officers and members of the branch in the performance of their duties and motivate them towards the achievement of the aims and objects of the Branch;
Acknowledging that any potential disobedience from obedience to the extant provisions of the NBA constitution is a social, economic, and existential threat to the peace and unity of the Association;
Further, taking into consideration that the motto of the NBA is ‘promoting the rule of law’; which is a strategic and foundational framework for the sustainable stability and existence of the Association, will be severely compromised and betrayed by myopic and short-sighted incidences that directly violates the hallowed provisions of the constitution that we freely gave to ourselves, by the conduct of a manifestly unconstitutional bye-election to the non-vacant office of the chairman deserves timely coordination, collaboration, and concerted actions to halt the illegality;
Cognisant of the severe consequences that the proposed bye-election will be wrought on the Association’s efforts in achieving its goals in the context of preserving equity, good conscience and natural justice, promoting and protecting the principles of the rule of law and respect for the enforcement of fundamental rights, human rights, and people’s rights; maintenance and defence of the integrity of the Bar, as adopted and enshrined by us all in the Constitution;
Cognisant that any bye-election in Abuja would be devastating in light of the multiple challenges that Bar presently faces;
Recalling that the Vice-Chairmen are the Chairmen of the Human Rights Committee of branches and as the statutory custodians are therefore irrevocably committed to:
i. Protecting vulnerable groups/people from abuse;
ii. Helping people to stand up to societal corruption;
iii. Encouraging freedom of speech and expression;
iv. Providing to a universal standard that holds government, institutions, leaders, association, etc all accountable;
Also recalling the Vice Chairmen’s peculiar and constitutionally designated paramount role in promoting the aims and objectives of the Association;
Noting that the qualification requirements for the election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman are the same;
Further noting that “Justice is the constant and perpetual will to allot to every man his due’’ – Ulpian;
The NBA-BOVC emergency meeting collectively agreed and resolved as follows;
1. To prepare for, and proactively respond to the injustice that now seems orchestrated to be meted against the hitherto Vice-Chairperson (now the substantive Chairperson of the NBA-Abuja branch by operation of law) or any other Vice-Chairman of a branch whosoever even if it entails going to court to protect the sanctity, integrity and dignity of the office of the Vice-Chairman of a branch.
2. That in the very unlikely event that the NBA Abuja branch refuses, fails and/or neglects to obey the clear and extant provisions of the NBA constitution that is; that the Vice-Chairman of a branch automatically ascends to the substantive office of the Chairman of the branch upon the absence of the Chairman for whatever reason and which was what the ISIALA-NGWA BRANCH DID AFTER THE DEMISE OF HER CHAIRMAN, and as also happened when Bayo Ojo, SAN vacated the office of the President of the NBA, that the Body of Vice-Chairmen will take all lawful actions to seek justice.
3. That the President and the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, and the entire members of NBA Abuja Branch to support the NBA-BOVC’s efforts in maintaining justice and obedience to the provisions of the constitution and uniform bye-laws for branches of the NBA.
4. That the Chairman of Abuja branch is hereby strongly advised to direct the election committee of the branch to organise an election to fill the position of the Vice-Chairman of the branch that is now vacant.
Finally, we further affirm and hold that, “for there is but one essential justice which cements society and one law which establishes this justice.
The law is the right reason, which is the true rule of all commandments and prohibitions. Whoever neglects this law whether written or unwritten is unnecessarily unjust and wicked.
Marcus Tullius Cicero.
DATED THIS 13th DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2021.
For the NBA-Body of Vice Chairmen of Branches;
1. Funmi Adeogun, FICMC, CMC, MCIArb (UK)
Vice-Chairperson, Epe/Chairperson NBA-BOVC.
2. Abbas Haladu Esq.
Vice-Chairman, Kano/Secretary NBA-BOVC.
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