Former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch and one of the presidential candidates for national election of the association, Adeshina Ogunlana has been disqualified.
Ogunlana was disqualified alongside 18 other vying for different posts at forthcoming
election of NBA which would hold on July 24th.
In a statement issued by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECBNA) and,signed by its chairman, Mr. Tawo E. Tawo (SAN)
and the secretary, Cordelia U. Eke respectively, disclosed the decision of the Sub-Committee of ECNBA disqualifying Ogunlana and 18 other aspirants while 24 were cleared to contest for the elections after its screening.
Those who were cleared to contest for national president of the association are Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN, Deacon Dele Adeshina SAN and Mr. Olumide Akpata.
ECNBA noted that the disqualified candidates have a right of appeal and furthermore, that any objection to its final decision on the eligibility status of the candidates should be sent via its email before 4PM on 17th June, 2020.
Meanwhile, one of the presidential candidates, Ajibade SAN, has explained why he withdrew from a Yoruba lawyers’ arrangement to select a consensus candidate for the region.
Ajibade described the selection process organised by pan-Yoruba lawyers association, Egbe Amofin, as “obscure and lacking in objectivity or transparency.”
The NBA has zoned the office of president to the Southwest, and Ajibade SAN is one of at least two Yoruba lawyers and a non-Yoruba in the race.
To quell apprehension that a lack of consensus could split the Yoruba vote and cost the region the post, Egbe Amofin convened a meeting.
The meeting set up a committee to screen and choose the candidate that the group would support and adopt as its presidential candidate for the election.
But Ajibade, who initially agreed to participate in the process, withdrew prior to the committee delivering on its mandate and rejected the eventual outcome.
In a statement, the senior lawyer explained why.
He said: “The reason I have refused to be bound by the Egbe Amofin selection process is because it was obscure and lacking in objectivity or transparency. It failed to meet the basic tests of an acceptable selection process for a variety of reasons.
“As far back as August 2019 and without any consultation with the generality of lawyers of Yoruba extraction, the de-facto leader of Egbe Amofin, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN had called a meeting in Lagos at which it was unilaterally declared that Deacon Dele Adesina, SAN was Egbe Amofin’s preferred candidate for the NBA presidential election.
“In the face of protests at this attempt at imposition, this agenda was stepped down.
“It is worthy of note that Chief Olanipekun, SAN and Deacon Dele Adesina, SAN are in-laws. Deacon Adesina’s son is married to Chief Olanipekun’s daughter.”
According to him, despite this “clear and evident conflict of interest and bias. Chief Olanipekun, SAN continued to preside over and dominate the Egbe Amofin selection process.”
Dr Ajibade claimed that Chief Olanipekun “was instrumental to funding and convening the meeting that was called to initiate the selection process.
“Chief Olanipekun presided over the meeting and proposed the constitution of the committee that was set up to screen candidates and also proposed its Chairman, Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN.
“Despite demands made on the day the committee was set up, it failed to provide the criteria by which it proposed to make a selection from amongst the candidates until late in the day on which the deadline for submission of interests was to expire and then stated that its decision would still be subject to ratification by the leadership of Egbe Amofin, i.e. to ratification by the same Chief Olanipekun, SAN.”
Ajibade identified these for his decision to withdraw from the process via a November 8, 2019 letter, to the selection committee chaired by Chief Akintola.