Mr Ezenwa Anumnu, protagonist in the ongoing leadership crisis which has engulfed the Abuja Branch (Unity Bar) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has fired back at the NBA General Secretary, Aare Isiaka Olagunju for what he referred to as “… his campaign of calumny and cheap blackmail against my person.”
This was contained in a statement Anumnu sent to The Metro Lawyer (TML) news desk yesterday evening, in response to a notice by the NBA scribe to all members of the NBA Abuja branch, indicating the account number for members to pay their 2018 branch dues (read here)
The full text of the statement by Mr Ezenwa Anumnu is expressed below…
My attention has been drawn to a Notice issued today by Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju wherein he alleged that I have been removed as the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch (UNITY BAR) on the basis of the ratification of 2017 AGM. There is nothing farther from the truth! This notice is false and calculated to mislead unsuspecting members of the bar for self serving purposes.
I wish to state categorically that no such incidence of my removal happened at the AGM; rather, the 2016 AGM Minutes wherein I was ratified as Chairman of the NBA Abuja, was duly adopted.
Those of us in attendance will recall that the President bluntly refused to discuss the matter and insisted that the matter of the Abuja Branch is sub-judice and gave the condition of his interfering in the matter to be the withdrawal of all pending cases.
On the alleged appointment of Caretaker Committee, it is beyond belief that a lawyer would be acting against all tenets of the Constitution and the clear rules of a noble Association of Lawyers, with brazen impunity as has not been seen in recorded history of civilized societies. The qualification of persons to be appointed as Caretaker Chairman is clear under our constitution. I challenge Mr. Olagunju to tell us at what point it was raised, discussed and ratified that the persons he is trumping around are so qualified and appointed.
What is even more worrisome is the desperation of Mr. Olagunju in falsifying the records of the Nigerian Bar Association to suit his personal and egoistic purposes. What could we call this worrisome development?
There is a subsisting court injunction granted against the NBA and at the Hearing we were informed by the Court that the NBA wrote a baseless petition against the Judge in other to blackmail, harass, intimidate and cow the courts into submission. This is even more shameful as the President and the National Secretary owe their tenure to the respect of the process of the Courts and rule of law; as we all know that the Federal High Court, coram Tsoho J. in Olasupo Ojo V NBA, had in March 2017, truncated their tenure and this decision is yet to be set aside. If the successful party had paid no regard to the appellate process in that case, the realities would certainly be different. How then can the NBA set different standards of compliance to the rule of law?
The level of desperation of Mr. Olagunju is unprecedented! All members of the Association have respected the judicial process but we have a National Executive of the NBA that is recruiting lawyers to violate the court order. It is a shame!
What manner of leadership will encourage the members of the Association to flout Court Orders? He has earlier alleged the existence of 18 cases against the NBA on the issue of Unity Bar, which is, but a figment of his imagination in line with his campaign of calumny and cheap blackmail against my person. At this point, I wish to remind Mr. Olagunju that there will be a day of reckoning for all the forgery and falsifications of the records of the NBA, including this latest one!
On the issue of the accounts, the Branch maintains its position that the National Executive Committee lacks the powers to open or maintain an account in respect of the NBA Abuja and it is in violation of our byelaws. There is nowhere in the Constitution or byelaws where Mr. Olagunju or any other member of the National Executive, has the powers to open an account or maintain an account for the Branch; we have consequently challenged this in the court of law.
However, since this is an election year, we will encourage our members to pay into the account, for the time being, as it has been revealed to us that, at the heart these steps, are desperate plans to disenfranchise the members of the Branch.
Mr. Olagunju should rest assured that he will be made to account for every single dime of the Branch funds he has expended.
Impunity has no place in the NBA!
Chairman, NBA, Abuja Branch