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NBA ELECTION 2024: Joyce Oduah to contest disqualification by ECNBA – Group 

NBA ELECTION 2024: Joyce Oduah to contest disqualification by ECNBA – Group 

Few hours after the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) released the list of 37 contestants it cleared to contest and the 12 it disqualified from contesting for various positions in its forthcoming election, the Joyce Oduah support group has faulted her disqualification.

A group that named itself Friends and Supporters of Joyce Oduah issued a press release signed by Mujtaba Adamu Ameen on Sunday to contest the disqualification of their candidate who’s interested in becoming the NBA president.

READ ALSO: NBA ELECTION 2024: ECNBA clears 37 contestants, disqualifies 12

The group dismissed her disqualification as trivial and based on non-controversial and vowed that she will contest the decision.

READ THE FULL RELEASE BELOW:

Joyce Oduah, FICMC Shall Contest the Decision by ECNBA

We, the supporters and friends of Joyce Oduah, received the news of her disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) from running for the office of President of the NBA with dissatisfaction.

Joyce Oduah, FICMC, a respected member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) with great experience and institutional knowledge of the affairs of the NBA, deserves better treatment.

The ECNBA grounds for the disqualification are:

  1. “Your Nomination Form reveals that you held elective office for two terms in the association in the period 2012-2014(as Treasurer) and 2020 – 2022 (as General Secretary), and by the clear and unambiguous provision of Section 9(9)(c) of the constitution reproduced above, you cannot contest for a national office until at least ten (10) years after your last term which ended in 2022”.
  2. “That your Seconder submitted receipts evidencing the payment of Bar Practicing Fees for 2022, and 2023, and a receipt evidencing payment for stamp and seal in the sum of N8,000.00, paid on the 24th day of March 2024. No Bar Practicing fee receipt for 2024 was submitted by your Seconder”.

The two grounds upon which she was disqualified demonstrate a disregard for the principles of fairness, justice, and the rule of law. It is imperative to emphasise that the decision by the ECNBA flies in the face of the Nigerian legal system, which unequivocally opposes the retrospective application of laws.

In the case of Ojokolobo v Alamu, the Supreme Court noted emphatically that “It is a cardinal principle of law that a statute operates prospectively unless it is made to do so by clear express terms”.

The Supreme Court also restated this position in the case of Afolabi v Governor of Oyo State. It must be stated categorically that there is no provision in Section 9 (3) of the NBA Constitution that states that the provision shall apply retrospectively. It is within the knowledge of members of the NBA that the two attempts to amend the NBA Constitution, in 2022 and 2023 to include that the provision would have retrospective effect have failed. We believe such a decision was taken without recourse to copious case law on the subject and the practice of democratic processes.

Also, the assertion that Mrs Oduah’s nominator presented a receipt for payment for stamp and seal made on the 24th of March, 2024, instead of the Bar Practicing Fee receipt is a non-controversial issue that could and should have been easily rectified during the form opening stage. It is essential to note that payment for stamp and seal on the above date is prima facie evidence of payment for the Bar Practicing Fee before the 31st of March, 2024, as one cannot obtain the former without fulfilling the latter requirement.

The decision to disqualify Mrs. Oduah based on these non-controversial issues reflects a failure to exercise discretion and fairness in applying the electoral rules. It is evident that Mrs. Oduah meets all the necessary qualifications and requirements to contest for the office of NBA president, and her disqualification on such inconsequential grounds is a grave injustice. The electoral process must be conducted in a manner that fosters trust and confidence among NBA members and the wider legal community.

Mrs. Oduah, a dedicated and committed member of the legal profession, has always upheld the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, and ethics throughout her career. Her candidacy for the office of NBA President represents hope for positive change, inclusivity, and transformation within the association.

In light of these developments, we wish to inform the distinguished members of the Nigerian Bar Association that Mrs. Oduah shall pursue all legal avenues to challenge the decision of the ECNBA and to reinstate her rightful candidacy for the office of President of the NBA. We remain resolute in our determination to uphold the principles of justice and fairness and to ensure that the rights of all NBA members are protected.

Mrs. Oduah extends her heartfelt gratitude to her supporters and well-wishers for their unwavering solidarity and encouragement. She urges her supporters not to be deterred by this decision, but to remain focused and resolute in our quest to meet our long desired goal of having a proactive and responsive Bar.

Together, we will continue striving for a legal system built on the pillars of integrity, transparency, and accountability.

Signed:

NBA ELECTION 2024, Joyce Oduah, Contest, Disqualification. ECNBA - Group 
Mujtaba Adamu Ameen, LLM (Glasgow) ACIArb. Former Secretary NBA Kano Branch. For Friends and Supporters of Joyce Oduah FICMC.

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