The attention of Egbe Amofin has been drawn to a statement made by Mr. Patrick Oganwu, described as the Interim Chairman of the Midwest Bar Forum, on the state of the discussion between the Egbe Amofin and Midwest Bar Forum.
Egbe Amofin wishes to say that the said statement does not reflect the true representation of what transpired between the two groups, particularly at the meeting held on the 27th of June, 2020. It is therefore important that the record be set straight by Egbe Amofin. Hence, Egbe Amofin is obliged to state as follows:
- That the event that led to the meetings of the two groups was a telephone call by Mr. Austin Alegeh SAN about the 19th of May, 2020 to Chief ‘ Wole Olanipekun SAN OFR, Leader of Egbe Amofin, where he said that in the interest of the consensus candidate chosen by Egbe Amofin to contest the position of the President of the NBA in the 2020 Election and in order to harmonise efforts to ensure the success of the adopted candidate by the Egbe Amofin, it was necessary to finetune the relationship between the South-West (Egbe Amofin) and the Midwest in respect of the zoning arrangement of the NBA. He further requested Chief ‘Wole Olanipekun SAN to put a call through to Chief T. J. O. Okpoko SAN, the Leader of the Midwest Bar Forum.
- That on the basis of this, Egbe Amofin and the Midwest Bar Forum renewed their engagement which began in 2014 in furtherance of the proposal presented by the Midwest Bar Forum at that time that to give each group a sense of belonging any time the Wester Zone of the NBA is to produce the President of the NBA, the Presidency of NBA be rotated between the Egbe Amofin and the Midwest Bar Forum on a 2:1 ratio respectively.
- That the two groups in the process of negotiation reached an agreement in principle on 2:1 regarding the Presidency in furtherance of the proposal presented by the Midwest Bar Forum in 2014 and that the final decision will be embodied in a document to be signed by the Leaders of the two groups as a framework agreement for the benefit of posterity.
- That the Midwest Bar Forum at the last meeting of 27th of June, 2020 presented its proposal for the enlargement of the agreement in principle to extend to other national offices that are zoned by the Constitution of the NBA. While the Egbe Amofin noted the new proposal from the Midwest Bar Forum, Egbe Amofin believed that it was imperative first and foremost to resolve the effective date of the commencement of the agreement in principle regarding the office of the NBA President.
- That the position of Egbe Amofin was categorically made in view of the background to this meeting that the commencement date of the agreement should be the 2020 NBA Election. However, the Midwest Bar Forum felt otherwise and suggested that it should be at a future date. Egbe Amofin vehemently disagreed with this suggestion.
- Furthermore, Egbe Amofin drew the attention of the Midwest Bar Forum team to the letter dated 23rd of June, 2020 titled “Notice of Midwest Bar Forum Executives and NBA General Election Committee” and signed by Mr. Chike Onyemenam SAN as Chairman. And yet another letter written by Mr. Patrick Oganwu as the Interim Chairman of the Midwest Bar Forum. The team of Midwest Bar Forum insisted on not discussing the contents of these two letters. This, the team of Egbe Amofin found to be very strange.
- Consequently, the discussions at the meeting could not proceed on account of these stalemates regarding the effective date of the commencement of the rotation and the refusal of the team of Midwest Bar Forum to discuss the contents of the two letters to which Egbe Amofin drew their attention. Egbe Amofin made it abundantly clear that the 2020 Election as the effective commencement date was not negotiable.
We therefore call on all members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and members of Egbe Amofin to disregard the statement issued Mr. Patrick Oganwu on a purported agreement between Egbe Amofin and the Midwest Bar Forum on the following grounds:
- There is no such agreement;
- The statement made by Mr. Patrick Oganwu was not authorised by the Joint meeting of the Egbe Amofin and the Midwest Bar Forum; It was highly prejudicial and self-serving and Egbe Amofin takes serious objection to the publication; and
- The statement is certainly not an accurate reflection of the state of affairs between the Egbe Amofin and the Midwest Bar Forum. Accordingly, we urge all readers to disregard it. Thank you.
Dated this 2nd day of July, 2020