The embattled factional leader of the Dutse, Jigawa State branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Garba, on Thursday, rejected the resolution of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association on the lingering leadership crisis in the branch.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the NEC, in a resolution, accepted the recommendation of the association’s fact-finding committee dissolving Mr Garba’s led executive committee and according recognition to the one led by Nuhu Tafida as the duly elected leadership of the Dutse branch of the association.
Addressing journalists in Dutse on Thursday, Mr Garba said the fact-finding committee’s recommendation and the NEC’s resolution were trying to force a decision on a court hearing a case on the matter.
He said both the fact-finding committee and the NEC had “purportedly determined the pending case on the issue” at the Jigawa State High Court where the NBA, its president, Olumide Akpata, and 12 others are sued as the defendants.
“Whereas there is a pending case between the parties in which NBA President Olumide Akpata Esq., is a second defendant, it is sad that the fact-finding committee in its sitting assumed the role of the honorable court and litigated upon every aspect of the claim of both parties (main suit and counterclaim) to such an extent that the case before High Court of Justice Jigawa State can now loosely be referred to as res judicata,” Mr Garba said.
He added: “We are of the view that the fact-finding committee and NBA President lack power to during pendency of a suit to constitute a committee with superior power over regular court under the chairmanship of the 1st Vice President John Aikpokpo-Martins, Esq.”
He described the actions of the NEC and the fact-finding committee as “unfair”, saying no other branches of the association facing similar crises had been so treated.
“We are not mindful of the fact that there are crises rocking other NBA branches across Nigeria such as Abeokuta, Abuja, Ikeja, Uyo, Uromi, Auchi and several other branches, yet the President did not take such an unfair step.
“In the case of Abuja branch, the President even resolved to create another branch and share the branch properties between the two branches with a view to end the crisis,” he said.
He said “the language used in the fact-finding report betrayed the comportment of members of the fact-finding committee as persons that do not have patience in trying times.”
This, according to him, showed the actions of the NEC and the fact-finding committee were “a well-coordinated attack targeted against promising Nigerians from one particular section of our great nation by a cabal.”
An NBA delegation had in February visited Dutse in an effort to resolve the leadership crisis in the branch of the association.
The NBA president, Mr Akpata, who led the delegation, reiterated the association’s commitment to ensure an all-inclusive bar devoid of rancour at the various branches.
He also pointed out that the absence of peace within a branch of the NBA would affect the NBA as a body.
A fact-finding committee led by the 1st vice-president of the NBA, John Aikpokpo-Martins committee was constituted to, among others, look into the leadership crisis rocking the branch. Godwin Omoaka served as Vice-Chairman of the committee. Other members of the committee were Ahmed Uwais and Abdulrahman El-Ibrany, who served as the secretary.
The committee submitted to NEC, one of the highest decision-making bodies of the NBA, in Abuja last week.
It found that the Garba Abubakar-led factional executive was unlawfully constituted and in contravention of the provisions of the NBA constitution and the articles of the uniform bye-law for branches.
It added that the factional leadership was also constituted “in direct defiance and gross violation of the directives of Paul Usoro, SAN, the then President of the association.”
It recommended in its report that the Nuhu Tafida and members of his executive committee be recognised by the association’s president, Mr Akpata, and the NEC, as the duly elected leadership of the branch.
The committee, which called for immediate implementation of its report, also frowned at alleged interference in the affairs of the NBA in Jigawa State by some officials of the state government.
“That the Attorney-General of the state, Musa Aliyu, be warned to stop interfering in the affairs of the branch,” the report added,” it added.
Mr Aliyu did not respond to our reporter’s requests for his comment.