Osaro Eghobamien SAN has declined to act as a member of the election audit committee set up by the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN). His reaction is also accompanied by other members of same Committee refusing their appointments for various reasons which leaves many lawyers guessing that the members of the committee rejecting their appointments were probably not notified before appointment. The full text of Osaro Eghobamien SAN’s communiqué reads:


My attention has, today, September 8, 2020, been drawn to several publications in the dailies and law blogs, stating that I have been appointed a member of a Committee to audit the past elections of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the said Committee having been constituted by the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), and led by Chief Joe- Kyari Gadzama, SAN, with Chief Yomi Aliu SAN, Prof. Offornze Amucheazi, SAN, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, and myself as members.

But for the said publications, I would not have been aware of that appointment. I have, in the past couple of months, been in and out of Benin City, preparing for the burial of my late father, Sir Chief (Dr.) Alfred Eghobamien, SAN, who passed on to glory on June 4, 2020. As a result of being immersed in the preparations for my late father’s burial, I was not in attendance at the virtual meeting held by BOSAN on September 5, 2020.

Being absent at the meeting where I was appointed a member of the Committee, it behooves of BOSAN to inform me of the fact of my appointment privately, and not leave me to find out as I have. That way I would have had the opportunity to quietly express my views to BOSAN.

The Communique issued by BOSAN, as regards the constitution of a Committee to audit the past elections of the NBA states that BOSAN is “…determined to achieve the installation of a flawless electoral system for the NBA and conscious of the need not to take a decision on the said elections without the benefit of detailed facts based on proper investigation and the experience with previous elections, further resolved to set up a five-man Committee for the audit of the 2018 and 2020 NBA elections, in partnership with the Nigerian Bar Association…”

I am not necessarily against BOSAN setting up a Committee for the audit of past NBA elections, nor do I think BOSAN’s setting up an Audit Committee derogates from the powers of the NBA. Anybody with sufficient interest can set up a Committee. I am however concerned that the process through which BOSAN has set up this Committee is totally flawed for the following reasons:

  1. The NBA (through one or more representatives) was not invited by BOSAN to participate in the formation and modus operandi of the Committee. This would ordinarily have been proof of collaboration. While BOSAN states that it intends to collaborate with the NBA, this would have been shown if BOSAN had invited the NBA prior to setting up the Committee. I believe that dictating to the NBA is totally unacceptable.
  2. BOSAN did not (at least with me) ascertain the readiness of the members of the Committee to work in the Audit Committee, and to extract representations/assurances from the said members as to any conflict of interest they may have in that capacity. It was discourteous of BOSAN to appoint any member of the Committee without prior confirmation of that member’s willingness to work in the Committee.
  3. BOSAN should have set up a platform that infuses some level of independence in the Committee, which also ensures that every member of the Committee is independent.
  4. BOSAN did not set out clearly the mandate of the Committee, and the outcomes expected of the Committee’s audit exercise. It would therefore be of no use to set up a Committee without defined expectation

It is for the sake of the unity of the Bar, and my concerns expressed above, that I humbly decline the appointment to be a member of the aforesaid Committee. I sincerely apologize for publishing my decision. This would have been done privately had I been afforded the same courtesy.

Osaro Eghobamien SAN