Trouble brews as electoral committee disqualifies non-SAN aspirant for election

The NBA election is set for a few weeks from now, and this disqualification has raised serious concerns within and outside the NBA

According to reports, one of the nominated Presidential hopefuls, Mr. Afam Osigwe was disqualified from contesting by the electoral committee on grounds that there was no evidence before it to show that he paid his Annual Dues to his (Nnewi) Branch as and when due for at least 3 years immediately preceding this year’s election. Secondly, that Mr. Osigwe did not provide satisfactory proof of his relocation to the Nnewi Branch.

The NBA election is set for a few weeks from now, and this disqualification has raised serious concerns within and outside the NBA with different voices calling to question the integrity of the electoral committee and the impunity that may be going on within the association.

It is believed within some circles that the disqualification was a ruse to cover the real issue, which is that the 46 years Old Afam Osigwe is considered by some powerful older folks as unfit for the Presidential position because he is too young to run. It has also been contended that Mr. Afam Osigwe is not good enough to lead the Bar because he is not a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

The disqualification has been described as puerile and laughable; and Mr. Osigwe has since responded to the Electoral Committee, stating that he could not have paid Branch Dues as a member of Nnewi Branch in 2016 and 2017, since he paid branch dues as a member of NBA Abuja branch in 2016 and 2017 and only joined Nnewi branch in 2018.

He further argued that even though the NBA Constitution does not require him to ‘provide satisfactory proof of relocation to Nnewi Branch”, he informed the Committee of his residential and office address in Nnewi, and he was given a letter of Good Standing as a member of the branch.

At 46, Afam is the youngest of the four persons seeking to succeed the incumbent; and has been described as a preferred candidate by young lawyers within the association. Many who now contest his disqualification hope that the Electoral Committee can retrace its steps and put things in the right order.

Mazi Afam Osigwe is a charismatic and experienced lawyer who has been privileged to sit and take decisions with the creme-de-la-crème of the legal profession on the Body of Benchers, Council of Legal Education, General Council of the Bar, NBA-NEC Advisory Committee of the NBA Abuja and has, in times past, held offices as Chairman of the Abuja branch, General Secretary of the NBA, to mention but a few.

As the election draws near, Nigerians continue to watch as this unfolds.

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