▪️I have just read where someone wrote these words: “My candidate is Egbe Amofin Candidate…. Sylvester [Udemezue] routes for the Egbe AMOFIN renegade. Let each vote for his conscience.” ▪️ With due respect to those who may agree with this obviously unpopular view, which I also respectfully consider incorrect, my humble response is as follows. First, using the the word “renegade” to describe Mr Babatunde Ajibade, Ph.D, SAN, only because he had refused to be part of an obviously skewed adoption process that had from the word go, been packaged to favour a predetermined candidate, is, in my view, inapposite, inappropriate, and as such unfair. ▪️I say this for the following reasons.
1️⃣ Contrary to what holders of this minority view may want to make us believe, and from whichever angle one choses to view Dr BABATUNDE AJIBADE, (Ph.D SAN) and his actions, the man, is not by any standard a “renegade.” ▪️Resistance to tyranny and injustice is not a form of rebellion or betrayal. ▪️Thomas Paine put it more succinctly when he said: “he’s a defender of truth who, in defence of reason, rebels against tyranny.” ▪️The French philosopher , Baron de Montesquieu had earlier recognized that “there is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.”
2️⃣ Membership of Egbe Amofin is only voluntary, not mandatory. 3️⃣ Adoption is not superior to the NBA constituion by virtue of which every Southwest lawyer is entitled to aspire to be the NBA President in 2020-2022, subject only to article 9 and part 2.1 of the 2nd schedule to the NBA constitution. 4️⃣ Continued existence of tribal/regional groups such as Egbe Amofin, EBF, Arewa Lawyers, Midwest Bar Forum, etc is among the key reasons genuine unity and progress have eluded the NBA for a long time now. 5️⃣Other reasons many lawyers consider adoption by tribal/regional groups as unsafe for the health and progress of the NBA include: ▪️(a).* Adoptions by ethnic or tribal groups only help to further divide rather than unite us. The adopted person is now viewed more as a product of ethnicity and parochial interests. We don’t need such mentality in the NBA. NBA deserves to be ruled by one who is elected by the an overwhelming majority of eligible Nigerian lawyers based on broad acceptance and genuine leadership credentials, and not based on any ethnic or tribal adoption. When the NBA says it is the turn of a lawyer from the west to occupy NBA Presidency, NBA doesn’t call for nor need any ethnic or tribal group to be the one to present a candidate to NBA members, for endorsement. What NBA said is that only persons from the west are eligible to aspire to lead the NBA in 2020-2022. ▪️(b)* If we elect as the NBA president, a candidate who is said to have been adopted by some ethnic or tribal groups, the tendency is that on assumption of office such an NBA President, being an “adopted” candidate, might most likely dance more to ethnic tunes and be guided in his or her decisions and policies mainly by parochial and tribal sentiments, in order to please the tribal adoptors, rather than facing the task of leadership with the broad, free and independent mind required to deliver good governance. ▪️(c). Adoption hinders inclusiveness and broad mindedness. A true good leader must endeavor to carry everyone from all parts of the country along in his leadership, in order to succeed, because LISTENING to the President’s supporters or ADOPTERS alone cannot make him succeed; they would only make the president to be for and remain for only one side, which would mean that, unfortunately, the leader is not for ALL, but for only some! This is the greatest of all of Nigeria’s problems – the wrong notion that only those who helped us to ascend the throne could make us succeed on the throne! Leaders that aim to succeed must adopt all-inclusiveness as their motto, so as to be able to create an environment in which all individuals and sections feel empowered to express their opinions freely within the larger group. Leaders ought also to realize that diversity of thinking is critical to effective collaboration and management; thus, they must pay close attention to team composition and team processes in order to fish out all capable hands to work with for success. How would an NBA president be free to observe all these pre-conditions to good governance if he is foisted on Nigerian lawyers from all the THIRTY-SIX (36) states plus Abuja by the decision or resolution of some members of a tribal group the scope of whose membership does not extend beyond SIX STATES? This is why such adoption-habit is harmful to the best interests of the NBA. Take as an example, would an NBA President who is a product such ethnic or sectional adoption be free, on assumption of office, to declare, as Marty Rubin once did: “ I pledge allegiance to Nothing and No one but only to the freedom for which it stands?” Honestly, to such an adopted person, occupying the NBA Presidency is “all about and for [my] people.”
▪️(d). Finally, I have read a comment where someone says that a certain candidate to the 2020 NBA presidential elections has come out a couple of times in the past but was prevailed upon to STEP ASIDE for some other candidates. According to the commentator, it is only right that such candidate, who had been stepping aside for others, be allowed to go this time since he had made enough sacrifice in the past by so stepping down for others. With due respect, this reasoning is hollow. Is this commentator now saying that NBA is the property of that particular candidate? Must the candidate continue to contest every NBA presidential election? And how is the mere fact he, in the past, had stood down for another person to get elected sufficient reasons to insist he must be the NBA president now? Is the agreement this very candidate had AT THAT TIME with those in whose interest he had stood down, binding on the present generation of NBA presidential candidates from the west? Illustration:
If Mr. A had reached an agreement with Mr B in 2008 for Mr. A to step down for Mr B, and again in 2014 with Mr. C for Mr A to step down for Mr C, how is that the business of Mr D and Mr E who have now shown interest in contesting the NBA presidency in 2020? Are Mr D and Mr E privie/parties to the agreement between Mr A and Mr B in 2008 or to the agreement between Mr A and Mr C in 2014? Why then try to enforce in 2020, the agreement you had with Mr B (in 2008) and with Mr C (in 2014) agaisnt Mr D and Mr E who both were not parties to the (2008 and 2014) agreements? Or, are you saying MR. B and or MR C are now the determiners of who stands for elections into the NBA presidency in the West? ▪️I don’t understand! I honestly do not understand why we should prefer to dwell on and pursue mere frivolities while leaving the substance! ▪️In conclusion, I respectfully encourage all Nigerian lawyers to ignore any story or alleged story of tribal or sectional adoption by any group, by whatever name called, and to go all out to elect an NBA President of Southwest extraction come July 2020 in line with Article 9 and part 2.1 of the second schedule to the NBA constitution.