BY INNOCENT ANABA
Controversy is trailing a meeting of South West caucus of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Egbe Amo ofin, slated for January 18, in Ibadan, Oyo State, as the Interim Publicity Secretary of the group, has denied that any gathering of the lawyers was called for that date.
Mr Kunle Adetowubo, Interim Publicity Secretary of Egbe Amo ofin, in his reaction to the purported meeting, said “it is rather unfortunate that some people, who have the mentality of garage touts, have hidden their identities under the guise of Ayekoto to disseminate falsehood about Egbe Amo ofin and are still labouring under the illusion that one Ranti Ajileti is still the Secretary of Egbe Amo ofin.
“Please be reminded that Ranti and his co-travellers have been removed as leaders of Egbe Amo ofin at the Akure meeting of December 7, 2014. The interim leadership of Egbe Amo ofin has therefore, not called any meeting of the association in Ibadan on January 18, 2014. Please disregard any notice of a meeting to that effect.”
Mr. Ranti Ajileti, who claimed to be the Secretary of the group, had said every member of Egbe Amo ofin was welcomed to attend the meeting, adding “We don’t want a divided home in Egbe Amofin, we welcome everybody, everybody is free to attend, they are our people and we are not discriminating. They have equal opportunity with everyone and each and every one of them is qualified to be president of the Bar.
“Funke Adekoya, SAN is good, Dele Adesina, SAN is good, Niyi Akintola, SAN is good and Osas Erhabor
is fantastic, he is also our own. We have a lot of parameters for them, we will screen them, asses them and take the best out of them, we will really go for the best,” he said.
He was referring to the purported meeting, which was in furtherance of the group’s effort to produce the next president of the NBA, to take over from the incumbent, Mr. Okey Wali, SAN, who will complete his two years tenure on August 31, 2014.
Adekoya,Adesina and Akintola mentioned by Ajileti are the three top contenders for the position of NBA president from the South West.
Reinforcing Adetowubo’s position, Bunmi Olugbade, interim chairman of the group, noted that it was laughable that Ajileti and his cohorts were now talking of setting parameters for the Presidential aspirants, wondering what parameters the group would set for the aspirants for political offices in the NBA.
He said: “They should start by telling the world the parameters that were set for such aspirants in 2008 when Adesina SAN contested with Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, the only parameter was endorsement by branch chairmen and appeal to Adesina to step down for Akeredolu, SAN, on the understanding that the group will endorse Adesina when next it comes to the West, why are they not supporting him now that it has come to us.”
“The number of branches supporting Adesina now is more than the number that supported Akeredolu in 2008. Akeredolu was endorsed by 12 branches then which was a simple majority while Adesina now has 15 branches endorsing him, this is two thirds majority, let us respect the will of the people.”
Mr. Kunle Adetowubo, chairman of Ondo State branch of NBA and Interim Publicity of the group said “ The issue of giving everybody a level playing field does not arise now, it is already belated because the organisers of the purported Ibadan meeting never intended it to be so.
“They are talking of everybody attending the meeting, who and who have they invited for the meeting, we had a meeting of the 16 branch chairmen recently and none of us confirmed receipt of invitation to the Ibadan meeting, is this a level playing field?
“Why did they convene the meeting in Ibadan? We had a meeting of Egbe Amo ofin on August 17, 2013 in Abeokuta, which was attended by most of our leaders, including Ajileti and others, the meeting was adjourned to reconvene in the first week of October, 2013 in the Akure, home of Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN. The Abeokuta meeting requested all the presidential aspirants to address the house, which they did. When they saw that Adesina was leading, they scuttled the arrangement, is this level playing field?
“We set up a committee of seven members to screen the candidates, one of the committee members resigned and they insisted on replacing him with the stooge of one of the candidates, is this how to provide a level playing field?