Steve Sun writes NBA President, Akpata, Wants NBA Abakiliki NEC Rep, Festus S. Nweke Esq removed over non compliance with Uniform Bye Law
Social activist and Ebonyi based legal Practitioner, Mr. Steve U. Nwankwo Esq. popularly known as Steve Sun has pettitioned the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Olumide Akpata, to immediately remove Festus S. Nweke Esq as NEC Rep of Abakaliki Branch of the NBA because he was elected in contravention of Article 6 of the NBA Uniform Bye-Law for Branches.
According to Mr Nwankwo, Mr Nweke as the outgoing Chairman of NBA Abakaliki Branch in June 2020 was able to install himself as the Branch NEC REP, in defiance of clear and unambiguous extant Laws i.e. Section 6(3) of Uniform Bye Law for Branches.
Steve Sun cited the NBA letter to the Electyoral Committee of the Ikeja NBA as his motivation for forwarding the petition to the NBA President.
Read the full Petition below;
Nigerian Bar Association
NBA House, Abuja
Nigerian Bar Association
NON-COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 6(3) OF THE NBA UNIFORM BYLAWS IN ABAKALIKI BRANCH.
RE: FESTUS S. NWEKE ESQ. (NEC REP.)
The above-mentioned Festus S. Nweke Esq. is the immediate past Chairman of NBA Abakaliki Branch (June 2018—June 2020); and prior to that, served as the Financial Secretary from June 2016 to June 2018.
As the outgoing Chairman in June 2020 he was able to install himself as the NEC REP, in defiance of clear and unambiguous extant Laws i.e. Section 6(3) supra.
I have tried to gently draw their attention to this illegality, with a view to quietly resolving the issue without recourse to external intervention. I had quietly requested the said Mr. Nweke to graciously step aside and allow the Branch to either elect or select a replacement; but my entreaties have yielded no fruit.
Before now, I had also drawn the attention of Chief Emeka Anosike (immediate past National Financial Secretary) to this anomaly. Chief Anosike is a revered elder statesman of Abakaliki Branch and had promised to look into the matter but I assume he was very busy in the final stages of the outgone administration, having served as a member of the Covid-19 Palliatives Committee.
I was already planning to call your attention to this illegality when, by a stroke of fate/coincidence, a similar issue cropped up in Ikeja Branch, necessitating the current General-Secretary to issue an official clarification with special reference to NEC Resolutions at Jos and Benin in 2016, which remain in force till date.
I became constrained to write this formal letter when the current Secretary of Abakaliki Branch Mr. Nnaemeka Nwambam engaged me on Facebook as follows:
“…To start with, it’s the sole responsibility of courts to interpret statutes/laws and not the national officers. In any case, the S.6(3) under review is unambiguous and doesn’t require the onerous duty of seeking clarification from any quarters. It refers to Branch officers.
The office of NEC Rep is a special office with special qualifications and that is why it’s not in Ss.6&7 which enumerated branch officers and their functions.
S.6(3) applies to officers covered by S.6 and no other.NEC Rep is created by S.9. If the drafters of the constitution intended that S.6(3) will apply to S.9, they would have said so expressly.-expressio unius est….
Again, it’s an elementary principle of law that qualifications or otherwise of a candidate who has won election and sworn(in) can only be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction and not on legal opinion.
I took the above pain to point out the fact that there is no issue in the Salt Bar (Abakaliki Branch) NEC Rep except we decide to cause a storm in a tea cup”.
The above remarks/quote convinced me beyond doubt quite sadly, that the said anomaly cannot be resolved without the intervention of the national body, hence this letter.
As an active Bar man, I am very conversant with the 2016 Jos NEC Resolutions; and I’m aware that here in Abakaliki Branch, one U.A. Obasi Esq., who had served consecutively as Branch Secretary and as an appointed NEC Rep, was automatically disqualified from contesting for the position of Chairman in 2016.
I am baffled as to why there are too many people in the Branches who always refuse to do the right thing.
I don’t know of any Branch for instance (perhaps apart from Lagos Branch) that has ever audited its account.
Many Branches also run their affairs without a duly constituted Executive Committee. Most of them don’t even understand the distinction between the Branch Officers and the Branch Executive Committee.
These and more are burning issues which I believe your administration will pay serious attention to, during your tenure.
In the instant case, I humbly call on you:
- To direct or cause the immediate removal of the above-mentioned Festus S. Nweke Esq. as NBA Abakaliki Branch NEC Rep. and to withdraw his NEC clearance, pending his replacement.
- To direct the Branch to elect or select a replacement without delay.
- To make any other/further directives as may be necessary in the circumstances, pursuant to S.13(11) of the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended).
The said Mr. Nweke is a good friend of mine; but I am convinced that if I turn a blind eye to such illegality today, it will definitely come back to haunt me, Abakaliki Branch and indeed other Branches, tomorrow.
Congratulations on your emergence as the first non-SAN President of the NBA in many years.
I wish you a very successful and fruitful tenure.
S U. Nwankwo Esq.
(a.k.a. Steve Sun)
- NEC NBA
- O. Okorie Esq.
Chairman, Abakaliki Branch.
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