NBA Elections: Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, Emerges as President, Gadzama Faults Electoral Process
The Nigerian Bar Association, on Monday, elected Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, SAN, as President but his closest contender, Mr Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, disputed the election result alleging "grave and growing concerns" about the election.
Mahmoud, who was declared the winner of the 2016 Presidential election of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) won the first time ever electronic voting process by polling 3, 055 votes to defeat Gadzama (SAN) who scored 2, 384 votes.
Other winners in the Bar elections of 2016 include: Mr. Caleb Gal Dajan, First Vice President; Mr. Monday Ubani, Second Vice President and Mr. Benedict Oji, Third Vice President, all of whom were returned unopposed.
Mr. Isiaka Olagunju polled 2, 721 votes to beat Mr. Desmond Yamah, who polled 2, 510 votes to become General Secretary of the NBA, while the post of First Assistant Secretary went to Mr. Okey Leo Ohagba who received 2, 402 votes to beat his closet rival, Mr. Olukunle Edun who polled 1, 653 votes. Mr. Enebi Mohammed Salihu polled 1, 067 votes to place third.
Other winners are Ugbuji Cecilia Ngede, Second Assistant Secretary; Ado Aisha Abdullahi, Treasurer; Adesina Adegbite, Welfare Secretary; Ngozi Udodi, Financial Secretary; Dorcas Ngwu, Assistant Financial Secretary; Chuwuemeka Mbamala, Assistant Publicity Secretary, and Oyeyemi Rafiu Balogun, Legal Adviser.
In disputing the electoral process, the Gadzama Group in a protest letter delivered to the Electoral Committee Chairman, Mr. Kenneth Mozia (SAN), the group recalled its earlier letters on the election “expressing grave and growing concerns about the NBA National elections."
The letter reads: "We are constrained to write again in view of the fact that some of these concerns were either completely ignored or inadequately addressed.
“We refer specifically to our previous letters of the 24th June, 15th July and 20th July 2016. All of these letters and their various attachments were received by the Nigerian Bar Association as shown by their endorsements.
“We wish to now draw your attention to some very important concerns. Our agents have been in the NBA National Secretariat for the past 40 hours. All they have monitored in all those 40 hours is nothing more than the names of those voting and the branches from which they voted. We do not think this is meaningful at all", the group said.
Also, supporters of Gadzama and Mahmoud had engaged in a fierce war of words over allegations of plans to rig the elections.
Opening the can of worms, a key supporter of Gadzama, Mr. T. T. Hyundu wrote: “Gentlemen, it has been discovered that the NBA EXCO fraudulently created a portal for A. B. Mahmoud where the result is collated separately from the original portal.”
Not done, Hyundu who is also the Assistant Secretary of Arewa Lawyers Forum (ALF) said: “Furthermore, there are additional names added to the branches e. g. 200 names were added to Abuja branch just to enable them have their way. I now understand the basis of our opponents.
But the Mahmoud camp quickly fired back, with Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) saying that, "Mr. Hyundu, I don’t think giving your propensity to make wild and unsubstantiated allegations. I will be bothered about what you post. But having invited me and the fact that I am a stakeholder in this project of the Bar, I am forced to react thus: That your allegation of manipulation of voters Register with over 200 members to favour one candidate against your preferred candidate must be proved by you and you need to supply sufficient particulars.
“Two, your assertion that NBA President allowed presidential candidates and indeed other candidates to have experts represent them at the secretariat which I confirmed to be correct is in sharp contrast with the allegation in litigation sponsored by your preferred candidate that the president did allow experts to represent candidates.
“For me, giving the level of your propensity to make allegations and requesting your audience to investigate, I wouldn’t be carried away to attach any credibility to this one as the allegations are coming from person whose interest in this election is not strictly overall interest of the Bar but personal interest. For me you are a senior member of the Bar of post call of 26 years that needs to be sure of what you post on this forum.
"I don’t believe you and even the conference you intend to hold on behalf of your sponsor is intended to discredit the process as alibi to create confusion to be instigated by your sponsor. After all. whatever a fowl cannot eat it got the power to scatter and destroy it. But I plead with you to think twice before spreading your allegations which may be counter productive, he added.
It will be recalled that an Abuja High Court last week struck out a suit seeking to stop the NBA 2016 general election.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi who struck out the suit, said that the plaintiff, John Unachukwu Austin, lacked the locus standi to institute the action against the NBA on the ground of uncertainties in his name and documents he placed before the court.
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