By Innocent Anaba
A week to the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA delegates election in Ibadan, the Eastern Bar Forum, EBF has adopted candidates for various offices. The Forum released the list at its general meeting hosted by NBA, Ogoja branch at the Bekwarra LGC Hall, Abouchiche on July 17. The meeting which was chaired by the Chairman, Governing Council, EBF, ProfÂ Ernest Ojukwu, started with invitation to contestants for various offices at the election, but who are not EBF members.
They were given few minutes each to speak. Those who spoke and canvassed for votes include Jonathan Nattan, Steve Abba, representative of J. P. Emeka Obegolu for P.R.O, Adekunle Ajasa, a representative of Mr Muyiwa Akinboror; Mr. Edward Aibangbee, Mrs. Linda Bala who spoke on behalf of Joseph Daudu, SAN and Chief Joe Kyrari Gadzama, SAN, who stormed the venue with 22 branch chairmen and secretaries of the Arewa Bar Forum.Â Each of the chairmen and secretaries was called. They came out, took a bow and left. Gadzama was given a standing ovation after his presentation.
The meeting observed one minute silence in honour of the former Enugu branch chairman, Mr. Sam. Okoh.
Those adopted for by forum include Blessing Ukiri for the office of First Vice-President, Obong Iniabasi Udobong for Second Vice-President, Dr. Mrs. Ikpeze Ogugua for Third Vice-President, Anthony Oka for Publicity Secretary, Kelvin Ejelonu for Welfare Secretary, Victor Nwugo for Legal Adviser, Mrs. Chinwe Nwodike for Assistant Financial Secretary, Afam Obi for Assistant Publicity Secretary and Paul Ebiala for Second Assistant Secretary.
In a chat with Vanguard Law and Human Rights, Prof Ojukwu said, â€œit was a wonderful time, the branch was also wonderful, and they provided many of the delegates who came to this meeting with accommodation. The only problem we had was the access road to Ogoja, which of course requires a major intervention of at all levels of government, the states around them and the Federal Government.
â€œThis is one of the major landmark cities in Nigeria. It is a major provincial council comprising parts of the present day Enugu and Ebonyi States. The meeting was very successful. Eastern Bar Forum took a giant step further towards the development of the Bar in general and focus on the reform of the legal profession.â€ On how the forum adopted candidates for the NBA election without rancour, Ojukwu said, â€œhistorically, the people of EBF, which comprises of all the states of the Old Easter Region from Bayelsa to Rivers, to Cross Rivers, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi and soon have always been a democratic people. What we got from our great grand fathers was what we used.â€Â The Chairman Ogoja Branch, Mr. A. Ashong said,Â â€œthe meeting was very successful because there was a great turn out. We have passed the rules that will be governing our elections in the forum, we have also passed the committee that will be responsible for elections in this forum. We have again passed the list of the candidates we intend to support at the NBA election come July 28, 2010 in Ibadan.
Â â€œIt is proper for the forum because any forum without a common direction, a common focus, cannot face the challenges of todayâ€™s Nigeria. So I feel that today holds a great promise, for the EBF.â€ Speaking on how the forum was able to adopt its candidates without crisis, rancour or acrimony Ashong said, â€œwe started from Isioko before Owerri, in that process,Â we had the normal give and take negotiations. We did it transparently at Owerri, if you lost youâ€™ll know that you lost clearly that is the key in every election, fairness and fairness.â€
Chairman of the committee of chairmen and secretaries of Arewa Bar Forum, ABF and chairman, NBA Yola branch, Mr. B. Esthon, who spoke to Vanguard Law said, â€œthe reason why we decided to come in mass to the Eastern Bar Meeting here in Ogoja is to prove the point that almost all the chairmen, secretaries and their delegates from the Arewa Bar Forum are 100 percent in support of Chief Gadzama SAN for the NBA Presidency, and you know, documents have been circulated, so we have come here in person to tell them and say, look, these documents you are seeing, we are the document. We are the people who are to prove to the world that really what happened in either Kaduna or Abuja was not done through democratic process. â€œFor that reason, we are the people that are supposed to determine the election and we are here, we have told them saying, look, this letter is not true, we did not adopt Joseph Daudu, SAN, as an Arewa candidate for NBA President. The Eastern Bar Forum has seen us now, they have seen our number, they have known our weight that is all.â€
Speaking on the import of their visit, Esthon said, â€œwe willl the massage is to let the other Bar fora know that Chief Gadzama is the candidate of Arewa Bar Forum, those who are running away from the truth should come home and join us to support him and the NBA.â€