Yoruba lawyers, under the aegis of Egbe Amofin, have distanced themselves from the decision reached at the just-concluded meeting of the Eastern Bar Forum in Port Harcourt where a presidential candidate was adopted for the upcoming Nigerian Bar Association national election.
The body, in a statement on Wednesday, said it could not have been represented at the EBF meeting, since it had not held any meeting of its own in the last three years.
It said since the demise of “our revered leader, Chief Bandele Aiku (SAN), and the fallout of the adoption brouhaha preceding the 2014 NBA national election” Egbe Amofin “has technically ceased to exist.”
It recalled that Egbe Amofin had run into trouble due to its failure to present a concessus presidential candidate for the 2014 NBA national election among “three highly-respected and well-qualified candidates of our extraction who contested after the issue of adopting a single candidate for the office of the President of NBA could not be achieved after several meetings of Egbe Amofin and Elders of Yoruba.”
It noted that the issue was not ironed out till Aiku died and it “regrettably culminated in Egbe’s inability to call a meeting to even discuss Chief Aiku’s final burial rites.”
The body, therefore, said Mr. Ranti Ajeleti could not have represented it at the EBF meeting in Port Harcourt and adopted any candidate, as he did not consult with the elders of Egbe Amofin, particularly Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who was deputy to the late Aiku.
It said, “Chief Gboyega Awomolo (SAN), Chief Femi Falana (SAN), the only state governor among us in Egbe, Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Mrs. Funke Adekoya (SAN), Asiwaju Niyi Akintola (SAN) and Chief Emmanuel Abiodun, were not consulted” by Ajeleti.
It reiterated that “it was never the tradition of Egbe Amofin that Yoruba lawyers will ratify candidates of other fora in foreign land.
“The tradition is that whatever the decision of any regional group within the NBA, like the EBF, such decision will be communicated to Egbe in writing and shall be discussed at a general meeting or the meeting of elders before a decision is taken.
“The Yoruba lawyers did not adopt any candidate at the last election because the procedure/conditions for such exercise were not met by the Arewa Lawyers Forum, whose turn it was to produce the President.
“The adoption ratified by Mr. Ranti Ajeleti was done in his personal capacity and lacks the support of Yoruba lawyers.”
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A Report Of The Judgement Of The 16 Divisions Of The Court Of Appeal In Nigeria