By Samson Agboola
In recent times the outgoing President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has been the subject of vicious attacks by detractors of all kinds. His trouble appears to have started when he elected to defend the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Mr. Usoro successfully defended Saraki who was eventually exonerated. Shortly after that, the EFCC began its relentless attack on Mr. Usoro when it filed criminal charges against him, the PDP Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, and other officials. The EFCC case against Mr. Usoro and others does not appear to be going too well as the Court of Appeal recently struck down four of the Charges against the Governor that may yet serve as the death knell of the entire case of the EFCC against Usoro and others.
The report that the EFCC has charged two suspects in connection with the alleged manipulation of NBA Election of 2018 that produced Mr. Usoro is probably sufficient confirmation that there is a clear smear campaign against Mr. Usoro. Social media have been awash with reports of the charges against two suspects for cyber fraud and manipulation of the 2018 NBA Elections with unfounded insinuations against Usoro.
Also recently, the 2nd Vice President of the NBA, Madame Foluke Dada, raised a false alarm against the Usoro. Among other things, she stated that the affairs of the NBA under Mr. Usoro has been one of pure neglect and total abandonment of the key officers of the NBA National Executive Committee. Some commentators have wondered whether the 2nd Vice President who has reportedly been in the United States of America since November 2019 wanted the Executive moved to America so that she can be personally consulted on the affairs of the Association.
On Monday, July 20 2020, Mr. Olumide Akpata sent a post on what he called the Vulnerabilities of the NBA Portal and the Possible Manipulation by Mischief Makers of the Forthcoming Election. As if to give credence to that publication of Monday, July 20, the publication of Tuesday, July 21 on the Charges against the two suspects for cyber fraud and manipulation of the 2018 NBA Election flooded the social media. Is it not high time someone somewhere began to think about the consequences of all these negative and partisan approaches to our Association’s leadership? I think political power play cannot build an independent and virile Bar Association neither can it contribute meaningfully to the cause of nation-building. The NBA needs to reinvent itself.
-Agboola, a lawyer lives in Ikeja.