Ibadan — An academician, Dr Olawale Bolaji Adewale, and a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Chief Nathaniel Oke, SAN, have faulted the approach of the Ibadan branch of the NBA, boycotting the court of the acting Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Afolabi Adeniran, over the quashing of the indictment of the state Governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala by an administrative panel.
The boycott order took its toll on Monday, when a valedictory session billed for Adeniran's court, in honour of Justice Atilade Ojo of the Oyo State High Court could not hold, owing to the order.
Ibadan NBA sent a petition to the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Idris Kutigi, who was also chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), dated June 11, and prayed the CJN to call an emergency meeting to address the matter before Adeniran retires in August.
Adewale, in a public document made available to THISDAY, stated that it is fast becoming a vogue in Ibadan branch of the NBA, for its leadership to promote professional and personal interests at bar meetings and on the pages of newspapers.
The don said he has watched helplessly, perpetration of injustices against litigants without the local branch raising any voice or taking any action to protest.
Adewale faulted the NBA for keeping quiet while the former governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja set up "a panel of inquiry to investigate his co-contestants for the office of the governor, including a deputy governor protected by Section 308 of the Constitution from criminal investigation, and purported to have found them guilty and indicted them for criminal offences before the date they were to appear before the panel, a senior member of the bar was the chairman of the panel, he colluded with him in perpetrating the illegal acts," he said. The don, in faulting the position of the NBA, said "the panel concluded its assignment within six days.
NBA Ibadan branch did not see anything wrong with it, even when in the process of doing so, he disobeyed an order of the Federal High Court restraining him from taking further actions on the matter."
Adewale argued that it is very strange that NBA, Ibadan branch who did not see anything wrong in the speed with which the administrative panel of inquiry conducted its proceedings, ignored a court order which enjoined the panel not to continue, can now condemn the swiftness by which the court handled the suit seeking to nullify the indictment.
However, First Assistant Secretary-General of the NBA, Mr Abiola Lagunju, dismissed the registrar's explanation, saying the ceremony did not hold owing to signals that lawyers must not attend the ceremony.
"The NBA decided to shun any session before Adeniran. We have resolved to boycott any proceedings presided over by Justice Afolabi Adeniran, but if the court goes ahead with it, all members of the NBA would not be a party to it," he said.
"Justice Ojo was a highly respected judge whose exit should not be marred by a session which expectedly will be presided over by Justice Afolabi Adeniran. It would be better if the valedictory session was postponed till August when Adeniran would have retired," he said.