Former General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief J.P. Obegolu has written to the NBA President A. B. Mahmoud, SAN, OON to demand the resignation or disengagement from duty, of his Chief of Staff Mr Abdulrasheed Muritala, popularly known as “Murray”, for engaging in active campaign for and on behalf of an NBA presidential hopeful.
Read full text of the letter below…
A.B. Mahmoud, SAN
Nigerian Bar Association
Central Business District
RE: POLITICAL ACTIVITIES OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE NBA PRESIDENT
THE IMPERATIVE OF HIS RESIGNATION OR DISENGAGEMENT FROM DUTY
I write as a committed member of the Nigerian Bar Association and a former General Secretary of our great association to bring to your notice the continuing erosion of the foundation of the professionalism of our National Secretariat by person(s) working for the NBA.
Over the years, in all the committee reports on the reform of the NBA and including the strategic plan of this present administration, PROFESSIONALISM OF THE NBA, Secretariat has been identified as a critical factor that will drive the vision and mission of the NBA.
It is in this light that past administrations of NBA, sought to create the office of the Executive Director who will be insulated from the transition politics of NBA and also as the administrative head of the staff of the National Secretariat, lead the initiative for a truly professional work force. Upon the inauguration of your administration, you created the office of the Chief of staff to the President as head of the “Office of the president of the NBA (OPNBA)” with staff strength of close to ten with mandate to drive the manifesto of the administration.
Your Chief of Staff, Mr. Abdurasheed Muritala “Murray” is a staff of NBA, paid salary from our common purse, travels on NBA sponsorship, accommodated by NBA, has an NBA official car and generally enjoys other perquisites of office as a senior management staff of NBA.
Mr. President Sir, I am sure it may not come as a surprise to you to hear that Mr. Muritala Abdulrasheed, being a staff of NBA and paid from the common patrimony of all members of NBA including the persons who have indicated interest in contesting for different offices in the coming election, is engaged in active campaign for a presidential aspirant using resources of the NBA. He has continued to summon meetings, and make phone calls and addressing lawyers on why they must support his preferred candidate thereby abusing the privileges of his office.
Mr. president, it has now become imperative for the Chief of Staff to be encouraged to resign his office or his appointment be terminated in the overall interest of the Nigerian Bar Association and for the following specific reasons.
1. As a staff of the Nigerian Bar Association, he has failed to treat all members equally without preference and giving undue advantage to select aspirant
2. Staffs of NBA Secretariat are enjoined over the years to be politically neutral in order to ensure continuity of programs. A leadership with political inclination will destroy staff neutrality.
3. Use of NBA resources including vehicle, time, accommodation, etc. for political purposes.
4. Encouraging staff of NBA, especially staff of the OPNBA to be politically biased against some members of the Association.
5. Undermining the cardinal foundation of the NBA which is professionalism of the NBA Secretariat.
Mr. President, the Brave New Bar project will be derailed if persons who are the face of the Brave New Bar have taken upon themselves the task of managing the campaign of aspirant to the office of the president and thereby creating the impression that there is nothing Brave or New in the Bar and this must be addressed with courage and sacrifice.
I urge you, in the name of all that is good, to act in the overall interest of the Bar and the transition process which will soon begin. Mr. Muritala Abdulrasheed has all rights to support an aspirant of his choice but he cannot express that right or exercise it as a staff of the NBA. He has made his choice and he should be allowed to go and express it fully.
While I assure you of my esteemed regards, I trust you will let wise counsel prevail.
Chief Emeka J. P. Obegolu
General Secretary (2012 – 2014)
Cc: 1. All Past president
2. All Past General Secretaries
3. All National Officers
4. Muritala Abdulrasheed, Esq.