As NBA Ikeja goes to poll, Oloke still talks tough


Peaceful resolution of the leadership crisis in the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) through a fresh election may still be an illusion after all.

This is because strong indications emerged on Thursday that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja Branch chairmanship election scheduled to hold today might not be hitch-free.

Bar and Bench Watch reports that there were two leadership factions at the Ikeja bar before the national executive of the Nigerian Bar Association waded in.

Similar leadership crisis also affected two other chapters of the NBA including the Abuja bar.

The national leadership, in its effort to resolve the crisis had ordered fresh election in the crisis-ridden chapters including the Ikeja bar.

But some of the bar leaders in the affected chapters had kicked, challenging the powers of their national leader to disband them and order fresh election.

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Although the ordered fresh poll is scheduled to hold in Ikeja today, Bar and Bench Watch authoritatively learnt that one of the contenders to the chairmanship position in the branch, Dele Oloke, is insisting that the election is an illegality while his opponent, Adesina Ogunlana, has expressed readiness to contest.

Ogunlana and Oloke are at the centre of the crisis rocking the branch with both claiming to be chairmen of the branch.

While Adesina allegedly emerged as the chairman of the branch through an election, which was subsequently invalidated by the NBA national, Oloke was elected through an election conducted by a caretaker committee set up after Ogunlana election was annulled.

Activities in the branch in the last one year have been grounded as none of the parties agreed to shift ground for the other.

However, at a manifesto presentation on Wednesday organised by chairman, caretaker committee, Ben Oji, only Ogunlana and his supporters turned up for the event.

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Ogunlana said he stood by his manifesto during his earlier election and that he would work to ensure a vibrant Bar and the Bench.

He, however, said that he would neither increase the fleet of vehicles of the secretariat nor expand the present structure of the building housing the secretariat.

He said he would rather work for the welfare of lawyers in the branch.

But Oloke and his supporters held a separate meeting Thursday where they insisted that the election was a nullity.

Although he refused to acknowledge whether he would participate in the election, Oloke said that Oji’s caretaker committee, which was mandated by NBA national to restore peace to the branch, was carrying out an illegal duty by conducting a new election for the chairmanship position.

“It is pertinent and worrisome that a committee comprising a national officer of NBA, a former chairman of a premier branch and a sitting chairman of a branch will go about organising an election in grave violation of the constitution of Nigerian Bar Association.

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“It is therefore important to state that the majority of NBA Ikeja branch members are opposed to the conduct of any election in contravention of the uniform bye-law and constitution of NBA, 2015.

“The NBA stands for adherence to the rule of law. Therefore, an election conducted in contravention of the extant law of NBA in the name of peace is unacceptable and will worsen the situation in Ikeja branch,” he said.