Two leading aspirants for the presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief J. K. Gadzama (SAN) and Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) have given reasons why they should be the preferred candidates in the forthcoming general election to elect the next president for the lawyers’ umbrella body.
The NBA will in July elect a new president to succeed the incumbent, Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), who assumed office in August 2014.
There was an unwritten understanding within the bar that the leadership should rotate among the three geographical zones, namely eastern, western and Northern zones.
The zoning arrangement has now been cemented by the amended NBA Constitution 2015. Section 2.2 (b) of the Second Schedule to the constitution provides that “The positions of the President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Third Vice President and General Secretary shall rotate among the three zones.
In determining the eligibility of a candidate to contest for any of the rotated offices, regard shall be had to a candidate’s geographical zone of origin and not the geographical zone where he/she carries on legal practice.”
Speaking at the recent monthly general meeting of NBA Lagos Branch, Mr. Mahmoud noted that he had held several professional positions including his role as former Solicitor-General of Kano State.
He was also at various times Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Kano State as well as member, Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee.
He said he would run a “thoroughly professional bar,” adding that his leadership would tackle the recent odium being heaped on lawyers for alleged complicity in derailing the anti-corruption fight by instilling discipline within the association.
On his part, Gadzama urged members to recall his record as a consummate bar-man in electing him as the next NBA President.
“You know me, I know you; we are not strangers to one another,” he said.
Gadzama emphasised that he was neither cajoled nor co-opted into the race by any group or individual, saying: “The decision to run for NBA presidency is my personal decision made upon deep reflection on the need to serve the bar.”
Speaking earlier, the chairman of the branch, Mr. Martin Ogunleye, urged members to take keen interest in the forthcoming NBA general elections, noting that the quality of leadership of the bar invariably affected the professional lives of lawyers.
He said only competent and reliable lawyers should be elected to lead Africa’s largest bar, adding that “the time has come to take NBA to the next level.”
The meeting was attended by leading lawyers including octogenarian, Pa Tunji Gomez, Mrs. Hairat Balogun, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN), Chief Ziggy Azike, Otu Oka-Iwu President, Zik Obi, Chief Ladi Williams (SAN), Dr. Dapo Olanipekun (SAN), Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN), Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN), Lady Debbie Obodoukwu, and former Lagos Branch chairmen Messrs Foluso Fayokun and Alex Muoka.