Recusal: The Take-home Word from Akpata’s Administration

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The elderly ones in Yoruba land while conscientizing a leader we normally say that “nobody judges you by what you start, it is by what you finish”.

It largely appears to me that the need to remind ourselves of the above expression becomes imperative and pressing as the entire bar association i.e NBA is journeying towards unknown pedestal under this current administration.

Undoubtedly, this current administration led by President Olumide Akpata witnessed appreciable decorum in the beginning, and one would then be wondering what is actually the bone of contention of the ongoing brouhaha that is capable of setting ablaze the entire bar association in Nigeria.

The “recusal war” started when President Akpata wrote a letter requesting Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN who is the sitting Chairman of the Body of Benchers to recuse himself from office due to the “saipem mail issue” and other related matters.

Many prominent lawyers have expressed mixed reactions on the recusal request in Akpata’s letter.

The Akpata’s letter made me to agree without more that even a one-paged provocative letter written in mala fide is capable of setting ablaze a whole country if the situation is not urgently and expeditiously addressed and arrested.

Among those who openly expressed their views on the Akpata’s letter, I think I will align myself with the view of those who submitted that President Akpata should have called other distinguished bar leaders to discuss the issue with Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN privately and find a way out that will meet the demand of justice instead of recusal letter, which even escaped to the media for more than 24 hours before serving same on the addressee.

Some even said the approach so adopted on its own amounts to a misconduct, juvenile and boyish passion.

I hope President Akpata will not even be asked to recuse himself from office as NBA President on the above ground?

While still discussing Akpata’s recusal letter, another “recusal brouhaha” hit the media all the way from Akwa Ibom State where a lawyer asked the Chief Judge to recuse himself from further hearing a case on the ground of likelihood of bias.

The said lawyer i.e. Inibene Effiong, Esq. was sentenced without trial to one month imprisonment by the Court.

On the 30th July, 2022, another letter was written to Mr. Akpata by the Chairperson and members of the National Election Appeal Committee.

The said letter in its paragraph 4 reads thus:

“Regrettably, we the members of the NBA-NEAC have taken the collective decision to resign our appointments in order to pave way for you to constitute a new National Election Appeals Committee in which Chief J.K. Gadzama, SAN would have enough confidence to ventilate his grievance against the conduct of the recently concluded elections”.

Aside from the above, we equally have another distinguished silk Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN who was according to the media report removed as chairman of SPIDEL Conference being the immediate reaction of NBA leadership over the failure of BOB members to raise the issue of Akpata’s recusal letter during the last BOB meeting.

It is my humble advice that the NBA leadership should consult senior members of the bar who are sincerely interested in the unity of the bar to wade in within time in putting the burning issues to rest, and not those who are trying to get through the back door what they couldn’t get legitimately.

The bar leadership should also be reminded that our profession is that of hierarchy and seniority. The way we met it and the way we will leave it.

The President-elect, our own distinguished Y.C. Maikyau, SAN should kindly fasten his belt and adequately prepare his mind.

It appears he would inherit disagreements and differences in the bar the same way the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (to be elected) will inherit struggles and liabilities. We have no doubt in the leadership charisma of the president-elect. We believe he will put the young and the old together through a win-win approach.

I wish him best of wisdom and luck.

A stitch in time saves nine.

Thanks for reading.

Author: Moruff O. Balogun,Esq.

Vice Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ijebu Ode Branch,

08052871414/09121207712

[email protected]


SOURCE: LOYAL NIGERIAN LAWYER

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