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Lawyers plan new association

The last has not been heard on the just concluded national election of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) as some lawyers have commenced moves to form another association.

The NBA election, which produced Paul Usoro (SAN) as the president, also has Jonathan Taidi as General Secretary with Imo Stanley Chidozie (First Vice President); Dada Foluke (Second Vice President); and Igba Theophilus Terhile (Third Vice President), among other positions.

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One of the presidential candidates, Prof Ernest Ojukwu (SAN) has indicated interest in hosting an inaugural meeting of a new lawyers’ body between August 27 and 31, and invited lawyers to indicate interest in joining the new body.

This followed call by a former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Odinkalu, who had earlier criticized the process of the election as “messy racket.” He followed this up with a call on lawyers to register a new association or join another association.

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Odinkalu argued that NBA is an NGO registered under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). This means the association is not a statutory body.

Also, the Eastern Bar Forum (EBF), which adopted presidential candidate, Arthur Obi-Okafor (SAN) lost in the election on Wednesday last week met in Asaba, where they resolved to reject the result of the NBA election over its irregularities and allegations of 3000 fake email accounts.

“The EBF had previously rejected the retention of the CHAMS PLC as the IT service provider for the election on the grounds of relationship with one of the presidential candidates suggesting a real likelihood of bias, and incompetence in the handling of the earlier verification process,” EBF said through its chairman, Elvis Chukwu.

Also, Obi-Okafor on his part is requesting an independent, international audit of the election before he will ascertain the way forward.

However, the Uyo Branch of the NBA distanced itself from the decisions reached in Asaba by the EBF, noting that the publication “smacks of manifest ill will towards the common good, peace and progress of NBA and is also disrespectful of lawyers all over the country who in spite of common difficulties exercised their franchise to enable leadership transition in the NBA.”

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