I read the facebook post by my good friend and brother, Eyibio Okon Esq, condemning the recent adoption of Arthur Obi Okafor SAN as the candidate of choice of the Eastern Bar Forum for the office of the President of Nigerian Bar Association in the upcoming elections of the association.
At first, I felt it wasn’t necessary to rejoin, knowing that he is an ardent supporter of Mazi Afam Osigwe, who once benefited from the adoption process of the EBF and is eyeing the office of president too. However, I believe that I owe my brother a duty of care, not to allow him mislead himself and some of our colleagues who may not know beyond the cheap lies and blackmail they are fed on the social media by mischief makers. As such I have chosen to do this open letter to him.
My Dear brother, Eyibio Okon,
I have read your post on facebook, and later on one of the blogs. I appreciate your views, but must state clearly that they may be borne out of ignorance of the workings and constitution of EBF or deliberate misinformation by the candidate you support who has admitted that he was a beneficiary of the same process you guys are trying to discredit.
My brother, for your information, the EBF meets every quarter and at the penultimate quarterly meeting at Abakaliki, Ebonyi State where all the aspirants were either present or sponsored major stakeholders of their campaign projects to, a screening committee was set up to screen members of EBF who are desirous of contesting for national offices in the upcoming general elections of the association.
Members were requested to submit themselves to the committee and three clear months after, apart from Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN, FCIArb. FCIMC, the other three members who have been campaigning openly at every lawyer’s occasions, including funerals developed cold feet and did not participate in the screening process.
At the Port Harcourt quarterly meeting of EBF, aspirants who submitted themselves for the screening, were endorsed by members of the governing council of EBF made up of representatives of all the member states, national officers of EBF extraction, branch chairmen, senior advocates of EBF extraction and past chairmen and secretaries of the forum, none of the other three appeared.
I am sure you must have expected the screening committee to pause, hire private jets and go across the country to beg them to come participate in the screening process. No, it does not work that way, no individual is greater than the association. EBF has a grund norm and adheres to it strictly. If members who are beneficiaries of the process, choose not to participate in a process they had promoted and benefited from, then it’s solely their cup of tea, not the association’s .
You stated that the quarterly meeting was hurriedly put together, well I don’t think you are trying to be mischievous, but will blame ignorance again. The last meeting of the forum was held in Ebonyi state, a clear three months ago, if after three months, you feel a quarterly meeting is hurriedly put together, then there is something fundamentally wrong with such reasoning.
My brother, you said Uyo was not consulted on the adoption process, well I think that is untrue. Our branch has a very active Chairman and she was at the Penultimate meeting in Abakaliki with the branch secretary, Ememobong Nicholas a.k.a. Aguda , who incidentally is the spokesperson for Paul Usoro SAN, where the screening committee was set up. Also, who heads EBF Secretariat? Our own Paul Ubom Esq, a former Chairman of the branch and very active member of EBF. So what is the issue about Uyo not being informed? I actually will not blame you, because you rightly admitted that you were not in Port Harcourt and of truth , I have never seen you in any EBF meeting.
I appreciate your courage and belief in your candidate. I strongly believe that in projecting our candidates, we should avoid spreading lies, falsehood and insults. We are lawyers and should therefore be shinning examples of truth and honor.
After elections, NBA and EBF will remain and we will remain learned friends and colleagues; let’s not allow elections destroy our nobility.
***The writer Sammy Etuk Esq is a member of the Uyo Branch of the NBA