Lawyers from the Eastern and South-South parts of Nigeria continue to react in anger at the developments of Saturday’s quarterly meeting of the Easter Bar Forum (EBF) in Port Harcourt, where a single candidate (out of the four candidates representing the zone) was adopted by a group of people as the choice candidate for the zone, thereby disregarding the motion raised by other members in opposition of this move.
It would be recalled that in our last edition, we reported that the EBF would at its forum in Port Harcourt attempt to endorse and adopt a candidate for the office of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), disregarding the motions raised to oppose this adoption.
Members of the bar within and outside the region who have opposed this move argue that the current universal suffrage adopted by the NBA renders the endorsement of the EBF ineffective and as such every candidate of the zone must be given a fair chance to campaign and win votes
In fact, many who responded to our questions did so between gritting teeth; expressing deep seethed rage at the outcome of this meeting.
Sharing his views about this development, Clinton, a member of the eastern zone said, “The EBF adoption is just another wash party. We are going with Universal Suffrage, hence our total discountenance of all that took place in Port Harcourt as NOT the true position of affairs within the NBA.”
Another respectable member of the bar who is not from the zone, Tolani Rafiu had this to say, “The absence of the erudite Prof Ojukwu SAN, the resourceful Paul Usoro SAN, energetic Afam Osigwe and other key members of the bar and zone at this forum says it all.”
In his remarks, the Publisher of Courtroom Mail and Coordinator of the Lawyers Table Tennis Tournament, Anthony Atata said, “EBF has exhibited lawlessness in adopting a candidate when the ban is yet to be lifted.”
The developments of Saturday’s EBF meeting notwithstanding, several lawyers from the Zone remain confident that this adoption will amount to not.
Their words… “We are in a new dispensation in our voting system and as such, the Eastern Bar Forum (EBF) should have been dynamic enough to change its pattern with changing trends.
“Except we are saying the EBF has an analog system that can’t be changed” Clinton said.
“The EBF can adopt whoever it likes. Thank God we are not going for a regional elections,” Chidi Ifeonye said.
“The outcome of the EBF adoption was an open secret. It was lopsided and one-sided, because before it took place, everyone knew who the winner would be. Sincerely though, EBF is what I would describe this time around as ‘Bad Market’ to any candidate who allows himself to roped into adoption. To be forewarned is to be forearmed!” – Francis Nworah
“The delegate system is over. Today, on the day of the elections, I will vote from my room, no one sees who anyone votes. Bottom-line, the times have changed. I would advice everyone to campaign for their candidate far and wide, don’t rely on adoption or you will be disappointed,” Mexis.
However, there was a group which expressed gladness at the adoption. One of such was, Azebi Bobobraye who joyfully said, “I stand with the outcome of EBF adoption.”
Indeed, by the provisions of the Section 2.2 (d)(e) of the NBA Constitution, which provides for zoning, the next president of the NBA is expected to emerge from the Eastern zone – this refers to the nine (9) states of the old Eastern Region (i.e. South East and the South-South states of Rivers, Cross-Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States).
This means all the candidates for this office IN 2018, MUST be from the Old Eastern Region and based on the present electronic voting under universal suffrage, lawyers across the federation will ONLY elect a President of Eastern Region.
It is for this reason that members of the region argue that this current arrangement (of universal suffrage) has rendered the endorsement of the EBF unnecessary, stating that the electorates are all entitled to vote in this era of universal suffrage and should be allowed to do so without without interference.