.3 ex-scribes set to slug it out
.Electoral committee fixes Friday for poll

By Richard Adejare

No doubt, the dominant question begging for an answer on the lips of many legal practitioners at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin branch, is who steps into the shoes of the incumbent chairman, Barrister Muhammed Idowu Ayoola Akande when he bows out of office?

This question becomes imperative as Akande, the first NBA chairman, Ilorin branch will produce from the Ministry of Justice, toes the path of his predecessors in a couple of days.

Earlier, in order to ensure a smooth transition to another administration, the NBA constituted an electoral committee, chaired by the Principal Partner of Solace Chambers, Barrister Lawal Idowu Saliu.

News Hub Mag! reports that the umpire has, in a recent resolution, fixed Friday, 26th June for lawyers in the state to decide through e-voting, who will lead the noble profession for another two years.

The Chairman of the Electoral Committee, in an exclusive chat with News Hub Mag! revealed that the voting portal will be opened by 6am and closes by 3pm. According to him, this development will pave way for the convergence of lawyers at the Bar secretariat where winners will be announced.

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News Hub Mag! reports that in the battle for who becomes the 24th chairman of the bar, the contest is among three ex-scribes of the Bar who at different occasions, held either elective or appointive positions at the NBA.

The contenders, who have undergone series of screenings and passed are; Abdulganiyu Bello, Abiodun Dada and Kamaldeen Gambari.

To this end, lawyers who spoke with this medium have posited that the poll is going to be keenly contested considering the caliber of legal practitioners who are in the race.

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News Hub Mag! gathered that the aspirants and their supporters have reportedly engaged in all manners of politicking and lobbying in order to solicit for votes from eligible electorates.

“Their allies have jettisoned the ethics of the Bar that forbids political campaigns. They employ this in a clandestine sort of crusade as a way of selling their candidates,” our source explained.

This is for this reason that legal pundits are of the view that, “time and chance will determine whose luck among the three contenders will shine the brightest.”

News Hub Mag! takes a look at the profiles, strengths and weaknesses of the aspirants.

AbdulGaniyu Bello
This legal practitioner graduated from Usman Danfodio University in 1998 where he studied Common and Islamic Law. Afterwards, he proceeded to the Law School in 1999 and was called to the Nigerian Bar subsequently. He is a notary public. He served at various levels of the NBA. He was Financial Secretary between 2005 to 2007. He was secretary of the Bar. He was also NBA Chairman Electoral Committee in the year 2003 election, statutory member of the Bar between year 2007 and 2009 among several other offices held in the association.

Strengths

On his strengths, findings by News Hub Mag! revealed that experience in the legal profession is one major tool that differentiates men from boys. Bello, is touted to have garnered the prerequisite knowledge of the association having served under three different administrations and in different capacities. To many lawyers, this may count in his favour.

News Hub Mag! also gathered that another thing that might work in favour of the principal partner of the AbdulGaniyu Bello & Co., is what some lawyers described as ‘sympathy votes’.

This medium learnt that Bello may be preferred considering sacrifices he has made over the years for the Ilorin branch of the NBA to enjoy relative peace and unity.

News Hub Mag! gathered that Bello was once persuaded to step down to allow a consensus candidate as the branch chairman.

Anywhere all over the world, it is believed that religion usually plays a significant role in determining who wins at the polls, as people cast their votes base on religious affiliations, though this is not always so. Being a member of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), Bello, according to findings, may have the confidence of members of his faith.

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Weakness
News Hub Mag! gathered that the same religion that is believed to be his winning strength could also be his albatross considering the fact that he is not the only Muslim in the race.

The votes coming from MULAN, according to findings by News Hub Mag! would be shared between him and his close rival, Gambari, who is also of his faith and a member of MULAN.

To some lawyers, the two candidates going into the poll may amount to giving Dada, their Christian colleague, a leverage into the white house.

Last but not the least is the believe that it has been long Bello has participated in the politics of the Bar. During the time of election that produced the immediate past chairman of the NBA, Issa Manzuma, it was reported that Bello signified interest to join the race but was later persuaded to step down.

Abiodun Dada
For Dada, after his LL.B from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, he was called into the Nigerian Bar in 2000. Shortly afterwards, he began his legal practice with Chief Titus Olasupo Ashaolu, SAN and rose through the ranks to become Head of Chambers. He became the notary public of Nigeria in 2011.

Strengths
For some lawyers, the fact that Dada has handled many responsibilities in the Bar has made him fairly popular and given him a leverage that could count in his favour in the forthcoming polls.

Another major factor that may count in Dada’s favour as gathered by our reporter is the fact that he is considered by some lawyers as, charming, sociable and friendly to all.

Also mentioned as an important factor that may earn this Kwara South born lawyer a possible win is, religion. Dada is said to be the only Christian in the race for the chairmanship seat. It’s argued that if the election is going to be predicated on religion, Dada may have no one to share votes with among his Christian electorates.

Also, it was gathered that Christians may decide to consider an aspirant from their faith considering the complaints that it has been long since a Christian led the Bar.

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Investigations by News Hub Mag! reveals that Joseph Bamigboye SAN was the last Christian that led the Bar many years back. Then, the SAN, as reported, was only installed to unify the NBA by ensuring an emergence of harmonious government. To this end, some lawyers are believed to be panting for a Christian chairman.

Weakness
On his perceived weaknesses, he is said not to have a good relationship with members of the Young Lawyers’ Forum (YLF) who of course, has the largest number of eligible voters. This flaw, it was learnt, may impede his chances. Complaints of some lawyers also include the fact that he is not one of those that finance the course of YLF, despite the fact that he has the muscles to contribute his token.

The game of politics anywhere in the world could be funny and unpredictable, this suggests the insinuations in some quarters that the principal partner of the Abiodun Dada & Co., may not have much support of the Christians who are reportedly believed not to be ready to consider him above others in the race.

The game of politics in Nigeria today, has no respect for religious affiliations and political backgrounds as people usually tend to vote based on individual’s personalities, integrity and above all, what they can offer in terms of changed agenda that will affect the overall advancement of their world, generations and associations.

Kamaldeen Gambari
He graduated from the Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto State in 2005 and was at the Nigerian Law School between 2005–2006. Among other several qualifications, Gambari was appointed Notary Public for Nigeria by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) in July, 2017 and was sworn in accordingly by the Chief Judge of Kwara State. He is the immediate past general secretary of the NBA.

Strengths
Gambari, according to some of his colleagues has what it takes to represent them as the helmsman of the NBA if given the mandate following the wealth of experience he has garnered over the years while serving in different capacities of the Bar.

He is said to be very conversant with NBA programmes having attended and participated in many conferences, seminars and meetings of the Bar.

Being the youngest in the race, an attribute many lawyers consider positive that may count in his favour considering the notion that it will bring about novel programmes that will aid the vibrancy of the Bar.

Gambari is said to have established a good relationship with the young lawyers who are part of the body of the NBA that control things during election, this, to a large extent, is considered to be one of his major scoring points.

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Also learnt may affect the immediate past secretary of the Bar for good in the race, is the incumbent chairman’s performance. It was argued that since Akande’s overall performances had merited lawyers’ nods, electorates may still want to vote Gambari as a way of retaining young minds and promoting innovativeness.

Weakness
Findings by News Hub Mag! indicates that Gambari may share the same weaknesses with Ganiyu Bello. One of which is that the duo will definitely share the votes coming from MULAN.

Further investigations by News Hub Mag! reveals that others in the race are the former chairman of YLF, Saa’d Muhammed and Wasiu Adeyi both of whom are contesting for the post of General Secretary.

Lawyer Muhammed, Lawyer Adeyi

Muhammed had at the last election contested for the same post but was trounced by his colleague, John Mayokun Dada. Findings reveal that it would be a tough duel between the duo of Muhammed and Adeyi as both stand equal chance this time.

Worthy of note is the position of the Provost that is being introduced into the NBA executive as a result of 2015 bye law. Two lawyers, Ishat Temim of Isaa Manzuma’s chamber and Grace Dosunmi, a lawyer from Pa Olorunishola SAN’s chamber have signified interest for the seat.

Others in the race are Ayo Ogunleye and Abdulrasaq Daibu who are contesting for the Social Secretary. TaofeeK Alubarika and Ike Sunday are both going for the NBA legal Adviser. Assistant Secretary is also being contested between Augustine and Moshood Agboola

NBA chairmen from independence
Going by history, since Nigeria’s independence, the first Chairman of the Ilorin branch of the NBA was late Chief Akin Akintoye who came on board in 1967, and served till 1977. Next was Late Akanbi Mahmoud Oniyangi, he took up the mantle in 1977 and was in office till 1979.

In the same vein, Chief Ayo Jonathan served from 1979 to 1981, Chief Peter Olorunnisola, SAN, who came on board during the second republic ruled between 1981 and 1983. Late M.O.A Sanni, SAN, joined the league in 1983 but left in 1986.

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Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, was chairman between 1986 and 1988. The onetime Kwara State Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN, held the position from 1988-1990, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, took over and eventually led the association from 1990-1991. Late M.S ‘Lai Adegboye followed and held the position from 1991-1992 & 1999.

Hon. Justice Lambo Akanbi (Rtd) was there from 1992-1995, Adebayo Adelodun, (SAN) followed from 1995-1997. Chief Lawal-Rabana, SAN, 1997-1999, Saka Isau, SAN, 2000-2001, Joseph Bamigboye, SAN, 2001-2003. He also served as caretaker between October 2015 and January 2016.

Prof. Wahab Egbewole also served between 2003 and 2005, Kehinde Eleja, SAN,’s tenure ended 2007 after he resumed in 2005. Prof. Muhammed Akanbi was in-charge from 2007 to 2009, Salman Jawondo also held the position in 2009 till 2011. Chief Rafiu Balogun also piloted the NBA affairs in 2011 till 2013.

The immediate predecessor of Manzuma, Mobolaji Ojibara headed the NBA from 2013 -2015. Issa Manzuma, the immediate past chairman of the association held sway from 2016 -2017 and handed over to Akande in 2018, whose tenure will come to an end by June, according to the NBA calender.

 

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