…Sets up audit committee over disputed polls
President of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata has lamented the call for divisions of the association.
Starting from the election which saw the emergence of Akpata, to the criticisms following the withdrawal of the invitation letter to Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-rufai to speak at its national conference, the NBA has been having a lot of crises.
The latest is the formation of the Northern Nigeria Bar Association, for lawyers in the Northern States.
The NBA President has however, described the call as “unfortunate for an egalitarian association like ours”.
He said, “I am not unaware of the very recent events and agitations that have tended to divide our bar along regional and religious lines. This is rather unfortunate for an egalitarian association like ours.
“The weight of expectations on us is immense and there is no time to take anything for granted. This enormous task cannot be achieved if we continue to fan the embers of division at a time when we desperately need to unite and speak with one firm voice.”
He added that the association recognises all diversities, and thereby pleaded with the lawyers to remain united.
“The bar that I now lead must be one that is united on all fronts and that recognises that our diversity is, perhaps, our greatest strength. I plead with all Nigerian lawyers to bear this sense of unity in mind as we commence a new journey together”,he added.
Akpata has also constituted an Electoral Audit and Reforms Committee headed by Ayo Akintunde SAN to audit the association’s 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections.
He said this was as outlined in the association’s policy direction for the next two years he listed in his inaugural speech.
He said, “On Friday 28 August 2020, I was sworn into office as 30th President of the Nigerian Bar Association, the foremost professional membership association in Nigeria and the most influential network of legal practitioners in Africa.
“I use this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to God; to the entire membership of the NBA for their mandate; and to the Nigerian populace for their interest and goodwill.
“In my inaugural address to the members, I outlined our policy direction for the next two years while also assuring the members of our intention to fulfil the promises that we made during the electioneering period.
“For me, two things stand out. The first is the need to audit the election that led to our emergence, but which was also characterised by certain glitches that should not be associated with a foremost professional association like ours.
“It is for this reason that I immediately constituted an Electoral Audit and Reforms Committee headed by Ayo Akintunde SAN to audit our 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections and to recommend reforms for our electoral systems and processes.”