Justice Adeniyi of FCT High court Apo, has dismissed the suit filed against the NBA, the Immediate Former President of the NBA, A.B. Mahmoud, SAN and others, by J.K Gadzama, SAN challenging the outcome of the 2016 NBA election that brought A.B. Mahmoud to power as NBA President.
The Court in its judgement dismissed reliefs 6-10 for being academic. The said reliefs among others include Orders of Court seeking to nullify and set aside the 2016 General Election which brought A.B. Mahmoud, SAN to power as NBA President, and the setting up of a newly constituted Electoral Committee of the NBA which will issue Guidelines and conduct a fresh 2016 elections.
However, the Court agreed with the claimant that reliefs 1-5 are not academic and are worthy to be pronounced upon. The said reliefs are as follows:
a. A DECLARATION that the Defendants jointly and/or severally are bound by the provisions of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association amended and adopted in August 2015 and must in all matters relating to, connected with the business and or affairs of the Association obey and give effect to the provisions thereof.
b. A DECLARATION that the 2016 Nigerian Bar Association Election as it relates to the office/position of the President held on 30th and 31st July, 2016 under the supervision of the 8th to 14th (2nd to 8th) Defendants, which purportedly produced the 15th Defendant (9th Defendant) as President, was in total violation and disregard of the mandatory provisions of the NBA Constitution 2015, Election Guidelines set down for the said Election, fell short of established standards and international best practices, thereby making the said Election null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
c. A DECLARATION that the Internet voting mechanism, method and system adopted for the conduct of the 2016 Nigerian Bar Association Election as it relates to the office/position of the President held on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July 2016 was not in conformity with the mandatory provisions of the NBA Constitution 2015, in that all the pre-requisite preparations, obligations and duties provided for under the Constitution to guarantee free, fair, credible and transparent Electronic voting system were ignored, disregarded and or not complied with by the Defendants.
d. A DECLARATION that the integrity of the 2016 Nigerian Bar Association Election as it relates to the office/position of the President organised by the 8th to 14th, (2nd to 8th) Defendants on 30th and 31st July 2016 which purportedly returned the 15th (9th) Defendant as President was fundamentally and incurably compromised by undue influence, overbearing, biased conduct and utterances of the 14th Defendant [8th Defendant] (Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN, President, Nigerian Bar Association) through the media and at Bar meetings before and during the Election and thereby robbed the conduct of the election of every element of impartiality, independence and transparency as required by established standards and international best practices.
e. A DECLARATION that the Dispute Resolution Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) purportedly set up by the 14th Defendant (8th Defendant) on the 2nd day of August, 2016 or thereabout is ultra vires his powers, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
TheNigerialawyer (TNL) recalls that on the day for the adoption of the final written addresses before judgement, the defendants had argued that the case be dismissed for being academic.
On a further consideration of the arguments before the court, however, Justice Adeniyi held that the Claimant has not established his entitlement to the declaratory reliefs sought, save for the 1st relief which needs no court sanction. The Court also noted that there can’t be any flawless elections anywhere, but enjoined the handlers of the NBA elections to consider the issues raised in the suit in future elections.
The Judgment has brought to an end before the court of first instance, the long-lasted battle between the two learned silks of the bar with respect to the 2016 NBA elections controversy.
TNL recalls that by a Writ of Sumons dated the 15th day fo August, 2016, filed on te 16th August, 2016, the claimant, J.K. Gadzama, SAN had challenged the outcome of the 2016 elections on the ground of irregularities, among others.