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Akpata, Adesina, Ajibade Jostle for NBA Presidency As Ogunlana Challenges Disqualification

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A former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, Mr Adesina Ogunlana, has vowed to challenge the verdict of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, which affirmed his disqualification from the NBA presidential race.

Nigerian lawyers, under the aegis of the NBA, are set to elect a new set of national leaders in an electronic poll scheduled for July 29 and 30, 2020.

In the NBA presidential race are two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mr Dele Adesina and Dr Babatunde Ajibade; as well as a former Chairman of the NBA Section on Business Law, Mr Olumide Akpata.

The Chief Tawo Tawo-led Electoral Committee of the NBA, on Wednesday, released a list of 29,635 lawyers who had been accredited to vote in the e-election, scheduled to commence at 11pm on Wednesday.

In its “Statement No.18” on Wednesday, the ECNBA said the 29,635 accredited voters excluded “1,604 names with duplicate phone numbers and/or email addresses.”

The electoral committee urged lawyers to conduct themselves “in the respectable manner for which the legal profession is known,” and advised all the candidates in the elections and their supporters to stop campaigning.

The ECNBA said voters could observe the election real time from the comfort of their locations by following a given link.

Meanwhile, at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, Ogunlana explained that he was disqualified by the electoral committee on the basis that he failed to supply a letter of good standing from his local branch.

He blamed the incumbent Chairman of the Ikeja NBA, Mr Dele Oloke, for not only refusing his application for a letter of good standing but also issuing a May 25, 2020 letter, accusing him of failing to refund N11.65m “withdrawn by you from the branch’s insurance account into your personal account.”

Ogunlana argued that Oloke had no right to bring up the N11.65m issue as he was already being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the matter was sub judice.

He maintained that he ought not to have been disqualified from the NBA election because letter of good standing was not one of the eligibility conditions set out in Section 8(3)(c) of the NBA constitution.

Ogunlana’s attempt to stop the NBA election hit the brick wall last Friday when Justice Adedayo Oyebanji dismissed his application for interlocutory injunction.

The judge said having admitted his failure to submit a letter of good standing to the electoral committee, Ogunlana had no legal right to be protected by the court.

However, Ogunlana said he was displeased with the court’s verdict and would be going on appeal.

He predicted that the NBA elections would be fraught with rigging and end in chaos.

Ogunlana said, “We of the Radical Agenda Movement in the Nigerian Bar Association foresee chaos in the election as the vexatious issue of rigging and manipulation of the electronic voting method adopted by the Nigerian Bar Association with the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association (2015 as amended) is rearing its ugly head again.

“Almost all the candidates in the national elections have expressed their doubt with the integrity of the electronic voting platform.

“We categorically demand that to rest this vexatious issue of electronic voting manipulation and rigging, the exercise should be decentralised with same to be conducted at branch levels before central collation at the national level. We also call for the abolition of rotational presidency on tribal arrangements as currently exists.”

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Gowon Brought Half of CBN to UK, Nigerian Officials Have Loot Here – British MP

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A member of the United Kingdom Parliament, Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling) took a swipe at retired General Yakubu Gowon on Monday.

Gowon was Nigeria’s Head of State from 1966 to 1975.

During the debate on a petition on End SARS, Tugendhat accused him and the country’s leaders of corruption.

Decrying the situation in Nigeria, the lawmaker said: “One of the great countries is, sadly, being racked by violence, and violence against young people.

The greatest book in the English Language is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the great Nigerian writer. The beauty of that book is the way it explains the challenge of changing generations to live together.

“The way it speaks about values falling away and community being eroded by outside pressure. What we’re seeing in Nigeria today is part of that story.

“It’s a tragedy that we are watching, it’s a tragedy that we are all witnessing. The pressure this time is not foreign colonialism, the pressure instead is corruption and violence.

“We need to call out the corruption, we need to use the powers that we have in this country to stop those profiting from the wealth of that great nation and hiding it here.

“Some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half the Central Bank and moved to London.

“We know that today, even now, in this great city of ours, there are, sadly, some people who have taken from the Nigerian people and hidden their ill-gotten gains here.

“We know that our banks, sadly, have been used for that profit and for that illegal transfer of assets.

“And that means the UK is in enormous unique position in being able to do
actually something to really exert pressure on those who have robbed the Nigerian people.”

MPs including Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet), Kate Osamor (Edmonton), Lyn Carol Brown (West Ham), Taiwo Owatemi (Coventry North West) made contributions.

The lawmakers urged the Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, and the UK Foreign Office to engage Nigerian authorities and brief parliament subsequently.

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#EndSARS: CNN Calls FG’s Bluff, Releases Second Report on Lekki Shootings

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Amid threats of sanction from the Federal Government over its investigative report on the shootings at Lekki toll plaza during the #EndSARS protests, CNN has released a second report on the incident.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had last week described CNN’s report on the Lekki shootings as poor journalism, adding that the network deserved to be sanctioned.

Mohammed also followed up the threat with a letter addressed to the management of CNN in Atlanta.

However, the network on Tuesday did a second report with more damning footage showing soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters on October 20, 2020.

The fresh report also shows the Commander, 81 Division, Brig.Gen Ahmed Taiwo, admitting before the judicial panel in Lagos that his men indeed took live ammunition to the tollgate.

The CNN report also highlights the fact that Brig.Gen Taiwo’s claim is at variance with the minister’s who had claimed last week that the army fired blank bullets.

The fresh report also shows protesters running as soldiers open fire at the tollgate.

The National Broadcasting Commission, which is overseen by the information minister, had last month slammed hefty fines on three Nigerian television stations for daring to use some of the footage which CNN has also used.

The Federal Government has been receiving flak from members of the United Kingdom Parliament and Amnesty International over the killing of protesters.

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Buhari’s Letter Seeking Yakubu’s Confirmation as INEC Chairman Read in Senate

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has asked the Senate to confirm the appointment of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, for a second term in office.

Buhari’s official communication to the red chamber was read on the floor during plenary on Tuesday, by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.

He sought the lawmakers’ expeditious consideration of his request for another five-year tenure for Yakubu.

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