Abubakar Mahmoud emerges NBA president amidst controversy

Abubakar Mahmoud on Sunday emerged the new president of the Nigerian Bar Association.

In an election conducted by electronic voting (E-voting), Mr. Mahmoud, who bagged his First and Masters Degrees in Law at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, polled 3,055 votes to defeat his rival, Joe-Kyari Gadzama, who got 2,384 votes.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria co-founded the law firm of Dikko & Mahmoud in 1993 and was Chairman of the Kano branch of the NBA.

He holds the national honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON); is a senior Fellow of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative(NLI); and is currently the pro-Chancellor, Kano State University of Science and Technology.

Mr. Mahmoud takes over the NBA’s leadership from Augustine Alegeh as the 33rd president of Nigeria’s umbrella association of professional lawyers.

Others who emerged winners in the election included Caleb Dajan, Monday Ubani, and Benedict Oji all of who returned unopposed as First, Second, and Third Vice Presidents respectively.

Isiaka Olagunju beat Desmond Yamah to the post of General Secretary, while Leo Ohagba, Cecilia Ugbuji, Aisha Abdullahi, and Adesina Adegbite, emerged First Assistant Secretary, Second Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, and Welfare Secretary respectively.

Rafiu Balogun polled 3,068 votes to defeat Christopher Onwuzulike for the position of Legal Adviser; Ngozi Udodi emerged the Financial Secretary; Dorcas Ngwu the Assistant Financial Secretary; and Chukwuemeka Mbamala the Assistant Publicity Secretary.


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Lack of transparency

Two days to the election, Mr. Gadzama’s campaign team had accused the outgoing president, Mr. Alegeh, of a “brazen show of preference for and serious capital and human resource investment” into promoting Mr. Mahmoud.

“President’s actions and utterances at several fora and on national television whereby he openly canvassed support for his preferred candidate, vilified and cast aspersions on the other dampened confidence of objective minded lawyers to repose confidence in the ability his appointed ECNBA (Electoral Committee of Nigerian Bar Association) to deliver free, fair and credible elections,” said Maxwell Gidado, on behalf of the Think Tank, J-K Gadzama SAN Campaign Organization.

The group, while calling for a shift in the election date, alleged that many members of the NBA who had met the basic requirements for voting did not have their names captured in the Voters Register.

“There are also instances of multiple registrations; names appearing in multiple branches; names of persons appearing in branches whose chairmen have disavowed, etc,” Mr. Gidado, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, continued.

“It is alarming that as at today when the election is just two days away, the final Voters Register is not yet ready. This is in breach of Article 2.3 (d) of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution 2015 which provides that:

‘The full list of all legal practitioners qualified to vote shall be published by ECNBA in conjunction with the National Secretariat of the NBA at least twenty eight (28) days before the date of the election.'”

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