The 2nd Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, Esq., has released more details on the reasons behind his resignation as Caretaker Committee Member of NBA Ikeja Branch.
Ubani, in a statement made available to TheNigeriaLawyer (TNL) titled “FURTHER AND BETTER PARTICULARS FOR MY RESIGNATION – M. O. UBANI.”, said he deliberately did not give much details earlier to avoid creating unnecessary distractions but nonetheless, he will give more facts.
He said “I have seen and read some reactions to my resignation from the Caretaker Committee of NBA Ikeja and some of them stemmed from my inability to provide further and better particulars to the reasons for my resignation.
“Some have asked ‘why resign’ when the Committee seemed to have done the right thing by disqualifying the unqualified candidate.
“The truth of the matter is that I did not provide sufficient reasons for resigning from the Committee not to create unnecessary distractions but I think few facts may be necessary all the same.”
Ubani narrated that the 3 members of the Caretaker Committee signed a disqualification letter for one of the candidates but the letter was later retrieved by Mr. Omole and retyped with Committee Chairman as a sole signatory. He said he felt betrayed by such act
“The letter to the disqualified candidate was signed by the 3 man committee comprising the Chairman, Mr Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun, Mr Omole Adebamigbe, Secretary and my humble self Mr M.O.Ubani as Member.
“One of us, Mr Omole came back the following day and retrieved the signed letter from the clerk that was supposed to go and serve the letter on the disqualified candidate and asked the Bar Secretary to re-type the letter in which the Chairman Mr Bisi Ade-Ademuwagun will sign as a sole signatory on behalf of the Committee.
“I felt totally betrayed and rattled as a member of the committee by this kind of behavior. If not that I made a photocopy of the signed letter, Mr Omole can even deny ever signing the said letter. His reason I learnt from the Chairman is that he does not believe that Article 6(3) of the Uniform Bye Law should have a retrospective effect.” Ubani said
Furthermore, he said he knew that there was a secret plan when it took the Caretaker Chairman almost two hours to sign the disqualification letter
The statement reads in part:
“The Chairman took virtually two hours consulting persons that I do not know before signing by which time, the Candidate was reported not to be around and his office closed to receive the letter. I knew what game was up their sleeves.
“I instructed the Secretary to send the scanned copy of the letter to the candidate’s email which was promptly complied with and proof of delivery through our official email sent to me for the records.
“Thereafter I requested that we publish the names of the qualified candidates and the Guidelines for the election as time was no longer on our side since our tenure expires at the end of this September.
“The Chairman pleaded with me to hold on till the following day in order for us to have another meeting, the purpose of which was not clear to me.
“The last time we held our meeting, we collectively agreed to push out the names of the cleared candidates and electoral guidelines to guide the process as time was of essence. The inability to push out the names of the cleared candidates and the guidelines was not clear to me and I perceived that the meeting called for the following day without pushing out the names of the cleared candidates and Guidelines was laden with ill-motive.
“I made it clear to the chairman that if the names and guidelines did not go out on the 17th of September since we have 29th of September to conduct the election, I will excuse myself from the Committee as I do not operate under an atmosphere of inconsistency.
“Later in the evening I got it from a reliable authority that the disqualified candidate has concluded plans to go to court the following day. Heard that action was filed today the 18th of September 2020 confirming my suspicion.
“At that point it became obvious to me why the Chairman had asked that the names and guidelines be stopped from being published. The reason is to lay the committee bare for judicial ambush. I learnt that they have concluded plans to drag the Committee and the National body to court.”
Ubani explained that he is not afraid of courts. However, what he does not like is not allowing the right thing to be done.
“For the sake of records, I am not afraid of being dragged to court but what I found distasteful is the idea of not allowing the right thing to be done and encouraging wrong thing to be done by the Committee. The court is there for everyone and success in a case is a matter of evidence.” he said
He went further to list 5 “Wrong things:” that informed his resignation. The things include opposing seeking of clarification on the interpretation of Article 6(3)of the NBA Uniform Bye-law, refusal to be guided by the clarification made by the national body and delay in publication of cleared names even when law suit is imminent. Read them below:
“a. Asking that no clarifications be sought from the national when the committee is aware that Article 6(3) of the Uniform Bye-Law was a big issue during the time of the disbanded Electoral Committee headed by the learned Tunde Adejuyigbe SAN.
b. Insisting that the National’s clarifications in their letters cannot form the basis of our decision for the candidacy of the unqualified candidate.
c. When the decision was taken to do the right thing even belatedly, the Chairman’s lack of firmness in publishing the cleared candidates and releasing the electoral guidelines was a burden too heavy for me to endure.
d. The Chairman knowing that the people want to go to court and still urge me to hang on on the issue of publishing the names of cleared candidates and guidelines was act of betrayal to me and I felt uncomfortable working in such an atmosphere.
e. Interpreting that the decisions of the Electoral Committee is final when it is obvious that the finality of the decision of the Electoral Committee can only be legally acceptable when the Electoral Committee’s decision complies with extant law in its functions. If I may ask, can any sane electoral Committee clear a 2 year post call candidate to run for the office of chairman in any branch on the ground that its decision enjoys finality under the Uniform Bye-Law? What are we really saying gentlemen?”
Ubani concluded and insisted that Article 6(3) of the NBA Uniform Bye-law has retrospective effect as interpreted at the NBA NEC meeting in Jos in 2016. Therefore, he wouldn’t want to damage his reputation as lawyers need to be decent always
“With these acts of schenaniganism coupled with the fact that these guys are desperate to rub mud on anyone both decent and indecent, I advised myself to take a walk.
“The two months service as a Caretaker committee member was taking a toll already on me and my practice even though I was not complaining, but I do not want to add defamatory and reputational damage as a further baggage.
“We are lawyers and our ways must be seen to be decent always.
“As far as the retrospective interpretation of Article 6(3) of the Uniform Bye-law has not been reversed in any subsequent NEC, AGM or by any court in Nigeria any one preferring his or her own interpretation contrary to NEC resolution in Jos in 2016 is SIMPLY A TROUBLE MAKER AND SHOULD BE SO MARKED BY DECENT MEMBERS OF THE PROFESSION. A REBEL MUST HAVE A CAUSE, THERE IS NO CAUSE IN THIS FIGHT. QUOTE ME.”
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