By Abdulgafar Oladimeji
The Body of Vice Chairman , BOVC under the aegis of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA may resort to litigation to resolve the leadership dispute surrounding the vacant chairmanship seat in NBA , Abuja branch.
The secretary BOVC, Abbass Gawuna, Esq in an exclusive telephone chat with our correspondent said, owing to the disturbing signals surrounding the ascension to the throne, the body may resort to legal action to seek to set a precedence that will secure the future of the association from the threats arisen from uncodified rules been flaunted in some quarters.
Gawuna who hammered on the essence to approach the court in the interest of the umbrella body of legal practitioners, hinted that there are internal issues that my mar the spirit of the game, if the rules governing the affairs of the association, which are in dire need of legal interpretation and precedence for good are not squarely addressed.
It will be recalled that , BODVC in a communiqué it issued in relation with the issue said “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;
“Finally, we further affirm and hold that, “for there is but one essential justice which cements society and one law which establishes this justice.