A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja adjourned sine die, the case filed by a senior advocate, Chief Joe Gadzama, challenging the election of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Abubakar Mahmud.
Gadzama contested the presidency with Mr. Mahmud but lost the election.
Mahmud emerged as the president of the umbrella body of lawyers at the annual general conference of the association in Port-Harcourt, Rivers state, after which Gadzama approached the court to challenge the election on the ground that many lawyers were disenfranchise from voting during the electioon.
Before the case was adjourned indefinitely by Justice Y. Halilu, Gadzama, had through his counsel, Chief Sebastine Hon, also a senior advocate, in a letter dated November 30th, 2016 asked the court to adjourn the case to allow his client pursue the ruling of the court.
Justice Halilu had ordered that he will hear the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
Not satisfied by the ruling of the court, Chief Hon proceeded. To the appeal court too. Challenge the ruling.
Gadzama had wanted the court to consolidate the processes filed in the matter.
Hon had said in the letter, ” Application For Adjournment Sine Die. You may recall that we have appealed against the ruling on our application for consolidation of preliminary objection with the substantive suit delivered on November 8, 2016 by his Lordship, Justice Y. Halilu.
“The notices of appeal already beefore this honourable court were. Filed on 15th and 22nd November, 2016. Respectively. The Record of Appeal has also been transmitted to the court of appeal and served on all defendants/respondnents
“In view oof the pending appeal which has been duly entered, we hereby apply for adjournment of this matter sinee die pending the decision of the court of appeal”.
The NBA president in his objection to the suit filed by Gadzama, asked the court to strike out the suit.
Gadzama is praying the court to nullify the election for being characterised by malpractices and to order a fresh poll.
But, Mahmoud, through his counsel Paul Erokoro (SAN), said Gadzama did not first channel his complaints to the NBA Dispute Resolution Committee before suing.
“This suit has not complied with the requirements of due process. The condition-precedent to the commencement of this suit was not fulfilled,” Mahmoud said.
Mahmoud said Gadzama’s suit was premature and robs the court of jurisdiction.
In the suit, Gadzama told the court that he polled 2,963 votes in the election rather than the 2,384 announced by the electoral committee.
Gadzama, in his statement of claim, said: “The Plaintiff avers that contrary to the result declared by the eight Defendant (Mr. Kenneth Mozia (SAN), Chairman, Electoral Committee of the NBA), at the close of voting, at 12:00 midnight on Sunday, 31st July, 2016, the result of the 2016 Nigerian Bar Association Election as it relates to the office/position of the President, as collated from and contained on the official voting domain/platform was as follows: Joe-Kyari Gadzama, 2,963; Abubakar B. Mahmoud, 2,465.”
Defendants in the matter are NBA trustees, Abdullahi Ibrahim (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Thompson Joseph Onomigho Okpoko (SAN), Chief Priscilla Kuye, Alhaji Murtala Aminu And Chief Anthony O. Mogbo.
Others are the Incorporated Trustees of NBA, Chairman, NBA Electoral Committee Mr. Ken Mozia (SAN), Mr. Oluwaseun Ajoba (Secretary, NBA Electoral Committee) electoral committee members Hajia Safiya Balarabe, Mrs Amaka Ezeno, Mrs. Eucharia Pepple, Grace Infotech Limited, NBA president Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN) and Mahmoud.