Eastern Bar Forum: Victim Of Jaundiced Narratives By S. Long Williams

Communique Issued At End Of Quarterly General Meeting Of Eastern Bar Forum

Paul Joseph Goebbels was born on 29th October, 1897. The son of a German aristocratic family. He was a master orator and minister of propaganda for the German Third Reich under Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945. One of many of his famous quotes was “say a lie nine times and the tenth will become the truth”.

It is becoming common in the last few weeks for some of our colleagues to play Paul Joseph Goebbels wannabes. They are now struggling to perfect the art of saying a lie nine times to make it the truth at the tenth time. Since the Eastern Bar Forum published its notice of meeting for its first quarterly meeting for the year 2018, mercenary writers have been falling over themselves in spirited attempts to discredit whatever may be the perceived outcome of the meeting for the sole purpose of satisfying some vested interest whereas they are cloaked to be doing so for the interest of the Bar. Anthony Dasuki Atata’s article titled NBA ELECTIONS; THE EASTERN BAR FORUM AND THEIR SLANTED PENDULUM- THE REAL STORY OF ADOPTION OF CANDIDATES is old wine in new wine skin. The issues he raised in his write up in his article are on all fours with the issues he raised in his earlier article titled; EBF DIRECTIVE ON NBA CONSTITUTION; REASON WHY IT IS SUCH A BAD IDEA which were promptly addressed in a Rejoinder. But for the benefit of our colleagues who may not have had the opportunity of reading through the rejoinder, it becomes imperative to again put the records in proper perspective so that Paul Joseph Goebbels wannabes will always be wannabes.

The year 2004 can conveniently be described as the year when the EBF commenced the adoption of its candidates for NBA National elections. The elections for 2004 saw Hon. Nemi Walson Jack and Giddy Akonani all of the EBF locking horns for the position of General Secretary of the NBA. The EBF conducted an adoption exercise and Hon. Nemi Walson was duly adopted. Barth Anochie Okoye and Golden Tamuno sibmitted themselves for adoption for the office of Publicity Secretary and Barth Anochie Okoye was adopted. Likewise Hon. Kemasoude Wodu who was adopted for the position of Legal Adviser and Golda Ama Ihuoma who was adopted for the position of 3rd Vice President.
Chief Chris Uche and Olisa Agbakoba all of the EBF indicated interest to vie for the office of the NBA President in 2006. The EBF adopted Olisa Agbakoba. In 2008 Okey Owhonda and Chidi Morka vied for the the position of the office of the General Secretary of the NBA, The EBF adopted Okey Owhonda. Prof. Ogugua Ikpeze and Francis Ekwere indicated interest to vie for the office of 3rd Vice President in 2010, the EBF adopted Prof Ikpeze. Also in 2010 Chinwe Nwadike and Udoka Odianma ran for the office of Assistant Financial Secretary, the EBF adopted Chinwe.

Anthony Atata in his article stated as follows” in the 2012 Presidential elections of the NBA, the NBA at that time was opposed to the adoption of candidates by pressure groups ” I find this narrative amusing. I was the Deputy Director General of Okey Wali’s campaign on 2012. We traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria seeking and obtaining endorsements from various groups within the NBA. Since NBA was opposed to adoption by pressure groups, why was Okey Wali not disqualified by the NBA Electoral Committee when he obtained the endorsement and adoption of the EBF and some other zones against Emeka Ngige? The year 2014 saw three contenders from the EBF for the office of the General Secretary. They are Afam Osigwe, Joyce Oduah and Barth Anochie Okoye . At the end of an adoption exercise in NBA Aba Branch Bar Centre, Afam Osigwe was adopted. Fast forward to 2016 NBA elections where we witnessed the adoption of Monday O. Ubani against Stanley C. Imo for the position of 2nd Vice President and the adoption of Chuks Mbamala against Seth Nwokolo for position of Assistant Publicity Secretary.

Anthony Atata in his recent article stated thus” until today, EBF has never had any reasons to choose any candidate based on any convention, if they do that it will be the first time” Can this deliberate falsehood be relied on considering the facts of the convention of all the adoption process cited above? The answer is in the negative.

It must be observed that the enemies of EBF are firing from all cylinders. From sublime to the ridiculous. From the issue of the convention of adoption, the narrative suddenly changed to the issue of ethnicity within the EBF. Anthony Atata in a no holds barred onslaught on the EBF stated thus” 100% of those who have been President of NBA are all Igbo origin and no one from Ijaw, Efik, Ibibio, Annang, Kalabari etc have been supported to attain the position” It must be noted that whenever there is a drowning except in the case of a suicide there must be a clutching” Anthony Atata and his co- conspirators are out to clutch on to any straw no matter how weak and feeble in their desperate and pathetic adventure to destroy the EBF. If not how come they lost their memory so soon to know that Chief O.C.J. Okocha MFR, SAN, JP is an Ikwerre son from the Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality in Rivers State? How come they have forgotten so soon that Chief Okey Wali SAN the 26th President is also from the same ethnic stock as OCJ. Has Hon. Nemi Walson Jack the General Secretary of NBA from 2004-2006 suddenly transmuted from a Kalabari man to an Igbo man in the eyes of the jaundiced narrators? The have all suddenly become Igbos to Anthony Atata and his likes in their bid to cause mistrust, disaffection and schism in the EBF family. I am sorry to announce that this stunt failed right from its incubation.

Another bizarre and jaundiced narrative on the EBF adoption is the one posted by one Obinna Apuchukwu titled EBF ENDORSEMENT OF CANDIDATE FOR NBA PRESIDENT. In the said publication he stated thus ” EBF cannot be endorsing Candidates for various offices in the NBA when the Electoral Committee has not been set up and campaign has not officially started” It is pertinent to inform Mr. Obinna Apuchukwu that the 2018 NBA elections will be conducted based on the 2015 NBA Constitution. From the extant provisions of the Section 2.2 a-e of the 1st Schedule of the said constitution, the office of the President & 1st Vice President is practically zoned to the Eastern Region. This fact is incontrovertible and incontestable. Being aware of this sacrosanct fact, the EBF is not precluded from from putting its internal democratic structures in place for the battle ahead as the bricks that will build tomorrow’s mansion must be built today. However has Obinna Apuchukwu forgotten so soon what transpired at the NBA NEC Meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. At the said Uyo NEC Meeting, all manner of paraphernalia comprising pens, writing pads, handkerchief etc with the insignia of Paul Usoro were distributed to NEC members and others without any whimper from anyone or Obinna Apuchukwu. Has the Electoral Committee been set up or has campaign been officially declared open by the NBA when these items were distributed?

The most amusing jaundiced narrative is a letter dated 1st February, 2018 written by Akpan Abotti to the NBA President wherein he stated thus” I recall the warning of Mr. President at NEC Meeting held in Uyo whereby the leadership of the Eastern Bar Forum was advised to thread softly till when political activities for the elections into positions in our association is lifted” I ask Mr. Abotti at what point did the President make this comment and in what context? The only time the President mentioned EBF was in respect of the amendment of the NBA constitution which EBF advised its member branches not to partake. Please we are waiting for Mr Akpan to produce the minutes of the meeting where the President made that comment. Even if the President did, does the comment pertain to the internal democracy of the EBF? The letter by Akpan Abotti is the most childish narrative of them all and the most sabotaging to the EBF which he claimed he is one of the founders and an Elder.

The trending jaundiced narrative of the EBF is not going to abate soon until maybe after the elections are lost and won. Let all those who have ganged up against the EBF be reminded that the EBF is ready, able and positioned to stand tall and defend its turf anytime, anyday and anywhere and this narratives will never make EBF lose sleep for as Dalai Lama the Tibetan leader said ” don’t let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace ”

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