The federal high court Abuja had on Thursday 27th March,2017 annulled the amended constitution on the ground that it was not duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Blames and accusations have began to trail the alleged nullification of the 2015 NBA Constitution by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. Some lawyers have made their comments based on the speculation of void constitution of the Association. Thenigerialawyer monitored comments of many Lawyers on social media fora thus. Below are the Unedited comments * Is it not a big shame that a body of lawyers could not properly follow through the amendment process of her constitution? It is like the body of surveyors not been able to properly survey the piece of land upon which their secretariat is erected, or the body of architects designing their secretariat that collapsed on them due to faulty design. There ought to be consequences. Who was the NBA legal adviser then? * Another pointed out that, “the greatest problem that has bedevilled our association is IMPUNITY. It explains why we rushed in to ‘amend’ a constitution without due process. It also explains the ‘arrogance’ of national leadership that pushes policies without extensive dialogue and consultation with its branches.Now we all must learn the hard way”.God save the NBA! * A constitution that it’s provisions were amended extensively, yet only a “YES or NO” voting option was used to adopt it. Now we all have to bear the consequences. It unfortunate. The issue has nothing to do with the amendment of the constitution.The issue is failure to file the constitution with CAC after the amendment at the AGM. * The NBA will simply proceed to register same with CAC. I agree with my Chairman on the issue of arrogance of national officers! it all boils down to the same thing. In the haste to foist a particular mindset on the Bar, so many corners were cut. Eventually, they missed the most important thing; registering the hastily adopted constitution in accordance with the law. Anyway, the question is, what is the way forward now? * We had similar experience NUBIFIE in the 80s in the case of Ademoyero v.NUBIFIE where the constitution of the union was never registered with the Registrar of Trade Unions.The matter went up to the supreme court.We resolved the matter at the delegates conference in Bauchi in 1990.Members of the NBA can resolve it. * Democracy is a game of numbers… Painting the past Exco dark because of this court of first instance Judgement notwithstanding their many novel achievements is to me in bad faith. The question should be the way forward and not grandstanding on the “rightness” or “wrongness” of the opposition.Anybody fighting the Universal suffrage Constitution does not mean well for the Bar * I wonder who is against the Universal Adult Suffrage or demonizing the past administration. This is how we personalize conversations, muddy the waters and lose sight of the real issues. * Unfortunately this is not about demonizing anyone. We must identify the dark spots and right the wrongs. You would realize that the crises in Abuja, Ikeja, Ikot Ekpene and other branches arose from their respective branch elections which were as a result of the same constitution now voided. * It is not about fighting the Universal suffrage Constitution. It’s about doing the right thing the right time. And the negligence is much impermissible when it’s coming from a body of lawyers that put themselves out to be abreast with the law. Let’s accept our unpardonable negligence and seek for a political solution and not to wear the garb of the ordinary Nigerian politician. * Possible SOLUTIONs to the approach of the nullity verdict 1. Proceed as if nothing as changed… If the national ratifies by curing the defect before an election then all well and good 2. All elections previously held but nullified because of the now problematic bylaw stands valid…. Those affected must therefore reach a compromise rather than hammer on the legality….. Ikeja Branch for instance can now validate their elections or go back to the polls on their own terms… Only if they do so before national rectifies the registration issue 3. Let’s all go back to each branch having their own unique bylaws….. That to me is true federalism within the NBA…. If this where to happen elsewhere we Lawyers will be crying fowl…. We don’t need a unitary system in the BAR * Does quick registration cure the fact that it has been declared void? Would it retrospectively ratify everything that was done pursuant to the void constitution? * Registration does not cure the defect, the process must be done afresh. The voiding of the constitution was not based on non registration but by reason of not following conditions precedent before the purported amendment. * The Amended Constitution can still be filed with the CAC, but what is the fate of all acts that had been predicated and structures built on the nullified constitution? The situation, to me may not be as light as it appears. Our leaders need to urgently meet, before our over- litigious learned colleagues start influxing through the wide-open floodgate of Bar-related litigations. Emergency NEC meeting may need to be called. Let’s all bear in mind that whatever has happened, it is still our own association, and evil shall not befall it. -Bona. * The approval of the said constitution from CAC ought to have been sought and obtained before the implementation of the extant constitution. A cursory look at the teller for remittal payment shows that it was processed on the 22/08/16 almost a year after the adoption of the extant constitution at the AGM held in Abuja on the 27th of August, 2015 and most of branch elections were held in June, 2016 in line with the new constitution without having obtained the approval of CAC as required by Law. The provisions of relevant sections of CAMA make the Amendments and consequential approval a cumulative and not disjointive affairs . To this end Mr. Osigwe’s analysis to my mind lacks legal pillar.( My opinion though) * No one should justify or try to rationalise the lawlessness that characterised the so called constitution. You made a law, you introduced an undemocratic penal provision which you stubbornly insisted must operate retroactively. NBA will surely come out stronger from the constitutional miasma . No opportunistic apologist of lawlessness should insult our intelligence by attempting to rationalise lawlessness. * As per who summons NEC meeting, no court has declared the incumbent executive invalidly elected, albeit its inferability by necessary implication, going by the nullity of the amended constitution. And by the way, NBA certainly exists, and has a constitution with CAC how be it old, and if the Commission cannot take cognisance of the Amended, it cannot discountenance the Old. And even pre incorporation, association acts inter se, as for example, application made, trustees appointed, publications made, MEETING HELD, resolution made, extracts signed, etc. All I’m saying is assuming we are even not yet incorporated, can it be done without meeting? Meeting need be held to chart the way forward, and nothing is unlawful about that in the present circumstance. NBA shall never fall. * Its obvious, any resolution or changes in constitution or memorandum and Article of registered body not registered at ……………Look, we know that the GS sold out in order to terminate Universal Suffrage which has liberated young lawyers. He sent his PA to handle such an important case and didn’t notify the Court that the registration with CAC was done by his predecessor in office. If the judgment is to be allowed, one of it’s implication is that all those who held one office or the other in the NBA, from 2004 to the present occupants will loose their offices and titles. This desperate bid to kill universal Suffrage carries with it, many other damages that the assailants didn’t envisage. It is correct to state that CAMA didn’t envisage that an amended constitution which is yet to be registered with CAC is null and void. CAMA allows compliance at any time without penalty. All that was expected of Olagunju is to bring to the Court’ notice that his predecessor has indeed complied with CAMA by jointly registering all the previously amended constitutions, including that of 2015.Olagunju has failed in his duty as General Secretary and he forgot that if this constitution is jettisoned, he will cease to be in office too. * AFAM OSIGWE’s releases are “medicine ” after death. Didnt he know that Olasupo was challenging the validity of the NBA Constitution under which elections were conducted? Where were those documents when the case was going on? Or was it a default judgment? Cabalism is has taken a choking grip on our dear Country and NBA. That’s why ppl can be disqualified for over -qualifying in NBA once the cabals are uncomfortable with u.. Cheers. E.B. UKIRI * The judgment was given yesterday. Olagunju sent a lawyer who is his personal assistant (on paid salary and therefore not qualified to practice privately) to represent NBA in such an important suit. Being a very young lawyer, he didn’t even file a single document. He didn’t notify the Court that there was a late registration, at least. If he did and the Court refuses, then you can blame the past GS. But check and see before you complain in bad faith, that it was the immediate past GS who also did annual return for NBA covering the period of 2004 – 2016. Didn’t we have other GS before him? * A delay of one year is worrisome, moreso the suit was filed in July 2016 and payment was made a month after in August! If u blame Olagunju for not following up, then u ought also to blame the late application which was late by over a year! >* The media defence to a matter that was duly filed, served and listed in court against an association of lawyers is shameful. While it exposed an original sin, the reaction is more sinful. You mean the executive committee did not discuss it? You mean we are all not aware of the pendency of the matter with all the implications? Were these documents tendered on wattsapp not discussed and made available to the Defence team? Was the chance of success of the defence not discussed with a view of case management? The leaders must bear the brunt of the shame. No apology or browbeat. While pursuing the appeal, let us consider all the implications and be ready to comply or assuage.]]>