Saturday, 11 July 2020

NBA PRESIDENCY: QUESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO UNJUSTLY VILIFY DR. AJIBADE ON ACCOUNT OF EX CJN ONNOGHEN. By Crescent I. Odo)

NBA PRESIDENCY: QUESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO UNJUSTLY VILIFY DR. AJIBADE ON ACCOUNT OF EX CJN ONNOGHEN. 

By Crescent I. Odo

I am most saddened that supporters of a candidate running for the NBA top job will mount a campaign that is primarily based on divisive rhetoric and manipulation of facts. If they are not pitching non-senior advocates against senior advocates, they are twisting facts to run down other candidates. What is our profession turning into? 

In 2019, a group of respected senior lawyers including Prof Ernest Ojukwu, SAN, Mr. Jubril S. Okutepa, SAN, Mr Seni Adio, SAN, (the current SBL Chairman), Mr Supo Shasore, SAN (a former Attorney-General of Lagos State), Mr Osaro Eghobamien, SAN, Dr Babatunde Ajibade, SAN, Mr Yemi Candide-Johnson, SAN, and Mrs Funke Adekoya, SAN, under the auspices of the Justice Reform Project (JRP), had issued a statement calling for judicial reform. This statement was issued in the aftermath of the illegal suspension of the then CJN.

In the said statement, the senior lawyers had called for the reform of the process for the appointment and discipline of judges. They had also called for the reform of the process of disciplining lawyers, the reform of the process of elevation of lawyers to the rank of senior advocate, the reform of the process of appointment of members to the Body of Benchers among others.

I have read the statement issued, then, by the JRP and no where did the JRP call for the removal of Onnoghen CJN. I could not see anywhere where the statement supported the illegal and unconstitutional manner in which the former CJN was removed.

This notwithstanding, some of the supporters of a candidate for the NBA President are intent on completely twisting the facts and rewriting history in a desperate bid to suggest that Dr Ajibade, SAN and the JRP supported the illegal removal of the former CJN. They even have gone as far as to say that Dr Ajibade, SAN signed a letter calling on the Government to remove Onnoghen.

In all their smear campaign, they have not produced the full statement issued by JRP. They have not produced the letter purportedly signed by Dr Ajibade, SAN. All they have done is quote statements out of context and distort newspaper reports. We are lawyers and can read. These smear campaigners should publish the full statement by JRP and let lawyers read them and make up their minds.

Dr Ajibade, SAN is a man who is committed to judicial reform. He has spoken out against corruption in the judiciary and at the Bar. No well-meaning lawyer can deny the fact that there is corruption at the Bar and on the Bench. We need more transparency in the way in which judges are appointed, elevated and disciplined. We need more transparency in the process by which privileges in the profession are awarded. Dr Ajibade, SAN has been in the vanguard of pushing for reform of these processes and of the administration of justice.

Before I end this piece, it's important to highlight the hypocrisy of these smear campaigners. They have rigorously celebrated the endorsement of their candidate by Supo Shasore, SAN, Seni Adio, SAN and Osaro Eghobamien, SAN but conveniently forgot to tell lawyers that these are three prominent members of JRP who also subscribed to the statement that they now want to use manipulatively for election purposes. We are a noble profession and that nobility should be seen in all our processes including our electoral process.

My view.

Crescent Ikechukwu Odo Esq

(Uyo, Akwa Ibom State)


Post a comment

Whatsapp Button works on Mobile Device only

Start typing and press Enter to search