Unity Is Achievable In Unity Bar Elections By Chidi Udekwe, Esq.
“UNITY BAR , my beloved!
I hope you will survive another ELECTION CRISIS from the handwriting on the wall!!! Again, I come in peace”
Above, was a post on the 7th day of March 2022 after the monthly meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association Abuja Branch (Unity Bar).
The statement was made because of the perceived breach of the NBA By-Law as it concerns the dissolution of the electoral committee set up in the December 2021 meeting of the Branch. The fundamental issue borders on whether the Committee was an adhoc committee or a standing committee subject to the provisions of the Bye-Law.
Notwithstanding the issues associated with setting up of the new electoral committee, I have implicit confidence on the composition of the new committee. The Chairman and particularly the Secretary and other members of the electoral committee are persons of integrity. Their selection to me is devoid of any ulterior motive to favour any prospective candidates in the forthcoming election of the Branch.
However, having generated concerns, I urge the Committee to be upright, open, inclusive and fair in all their actions towards the conduct of the Branch election by 9th of June 2022. Let all interested candidates be carried along in the activities of the Committee to ensure transparency and trust.
Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all CONCERNED? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? The Four-Way Test of the Things we think, say or can do by Rotary International, I believe can be applied in our engagements for the development of our profession through the ballot. The test, cuts across relations in everything we do in our home, community, business, practice as Lawyers and proposed leaders of the Bar.
The practicability of the test is not rocket science particularly when applied in the affairs of NBA Abuja (Unity Bar). Thus, in answer to above poser, I say YES, NBA Abuja (Unity Bar) will survive another election. It has survived so many since 2016 and I have utmost confidence that the electoral committee would dispense its task dispassionately and would not risk to be held responsible for any electoral fallout at the Branch at this time that the Branch eventually regained its prominence. Since the electoral guidelines was released and as the election draws close, all eyes are on the electoral committee to ensure that peace in the Branch is not eroded once more.
From April 8 to May 6 2022 collection and submission of nomination forms will close for all intending aspirants to the respective offices of the Branch. I humbly suggest that the electoral committee should hold meeting with the aspirants to clear any doubt in any gray area or issues of concern. The aspirants should be given opportunity to scrutinize the attendance register for which questions were raised at the March meeting of the Branch with a follow-up prose referring to blank pages on all the registers of attendance after each monthly meeting.
As a way forward, there is need for opportunity to all ascertained aspirants to interrogate and suggest electoral procedures to be adopted as this would not only ensure free and transparent election but would foster peace and unity after the election. The register of the Branch should be scrutinised to clear doubts before voters list is published or same should be vetted by aspirants or a better way maybe to use the minutes of meeting which have list of attendees to the monthly meeting to compile the voters list. Indeed, no gray area should be left to indicate manipulation of the polls!
I urge all aspirants to bear in mind that Unity of the Unity Bar should not be compromised because of any individual or parochial interest. Let politics of rancour and bitterness be eschewed. It must be stated that election is not a do or die affairs especially as it relates to election of a professional body like NBA where the tenure is just but two years and where it is believed that the duty is service based. Consequently, it would be incongruous for a Lawyer to lose focus because of a two year serviced based tenure and position.
Politics as the cliché goes is a game of numbers. Thus, aspirants should consult and convince lawyers of what they can deliver in the position they want to be voted into. Furthermore, if there is need to have a consensus candidate, such should be a matter of collective decision and not a case of imposition by vested interests. Besides, what is the beauty of democracy if not a healthy contest for power?
Chidi Udekwe ESQ