The two-year leadership of the Issa Manzuma of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin branch, came to an end yesterday as lawyers went to the poll to elect new executives.
Consequently, a Senior State Counsel with the Ministry of Justice, Akande Idowu Ayoola Muhammed popularly called ‘MAI’ ‘MAI’ among his colleagues emerged chairman of the association polling total votes of 98 to defeat his counterpart, an Associate Professor at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Dr. Ibrahim Abduquadri Abikan who had 62 votes.
Other positions except post of General Secretary, were unopposed.
Akande, who was called to the Nigerian Bar on 1st July, 2003 is, however, the first state government employee to emerge chairman of the association, since inception of NBA, Ilorin branch.
Speaking on his agenda, the newly elected chairman promised to facilitate relocation of court rooms to a more conducive environment.
He said, “First thing on my list of agenda is the expansion of court, the state is building a new secretariat, we believe all the government parastatals around the court will move there.
Commenting on the poll, he commended his contender for the show of sportsmanship after the election had been won and lost.
“Abikan is a good brother, I believe he will work with me, he was the first to congratulate me after the election. The election was keenly contested. I thank Allah for the victory; it was not easy coming from the state Ministry of Justice. 20 persons who had been chairmen before me were from private practice and academics,” he stated.
Intrigues of MAI Akande’s victory
Despite the stunning manifesto of Abikan, the current Head of Department (HoD), Islamic Law, University of Ilorin, on the eve of the election, his loyalists are yet to come to terms as to why he lost the election.
However, findings by Pilot Law revealed the intrigues that played out in favour of Akande, which resultantly led to Abikan’s defeat.
It was observed that the pendulum swung in favour of youthful Akande because he enjoyed support of young wigs under the aegis of Young Lawyers’ Forum (YLF) that constitutes larger population of the voters. A lawyer who spoke to this medium on condition of anonymity said Akande being a youth, young lawyers believed he would be easier to relate with and accessed than a much older Abikan.
Another factor that many lawyers believed worked for the newly elected chairman’s victory was his liberal nature as against Abikan’s conservative outlook, which they consider could be a minus to his leadership qualities.
Akande was also said to have polled more votes at the election because he contested at a time there was clamour for the chairman to emerge from the ‘third arm’ of the NBA, which is now a trend as it is in Ekiti, Kogi, Kano and some other state branches of the association.
Sympathy votes also accounted for Akande’s victory at the polls. According to some of his loyalists who spoke to this medium on the development, the chairman elect’s earlier sacrifice when he back out of the contest against Manzuma in 2016 on advice of the Elders Forum of the association and also convinced other contestants to step down, endeared him to many.
Abikan, according to some lawyers lost out in the race because he was perceived too desperate having persistently contested tyhe post in previous elections. It was said that the series of defeats he suffered in his past attempts, were his albatross.
The professor of Law who belong to numerous associations both at the national level and state, many lawyers believe has his hands full and may be distracted from effectivel discharging leadership role if he is at the helm of affairs of the association. Another factor said to have worked against Abikan is because he is not known face in litigation in the state.
Dada’s emergence as General Secretary
For the position of the General Secretary, John Mayokun Dada defeated his co-contenders with 68 votes. Jimoh Saadudeen Muhammed and Abdulwasiu Bolaji Adeyi polled equal votes of 45.
Dada’s victory according to some lawyers is by stroke of providence. According to some lawyers, it was not a jolly ride to victory for Dada, given the support enjoyed by the immediate past chairman of the YLF, J.S Muhammed.
His popularity and excellent oratorical skills were also perceived as factors that aided his success at the polls.
Other elected executives are: Adetutu Omolara Aluko – Vice Chairman; Abdulrasaq Olayanju Saka – Assistant Secretary; Stephen Adelowo Asonibare – Treasurer; Taofiq Alubarika – Financial Secretary; Kolawole Lukman Zakariyah – Social Secretary; Abdulrasaq Balogun Dhikhrullah – Welfare Secretary and Adewale Sheriff Oseni as Legal Adviser.
Meanwhile, speaking on the election, the outgoing chairman, Manzuma, expressed satisfaction over the process.
“The process of the election went peacefully; no member of the association compromised the integrity of the Bar. I congratulate the winner and I want the losers to accept defeat in good faith, though there is no winner, there is no vanquish, the most important thing is the unity of the Bar.
The Chairman, Electoral Committee, Tosho Yaqub after announcing the results of the election, congratulated the participants for a rancour-free exercise.
Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Plat Technologies Limited, Engr. Taofik Abdulkareem who designed e-voting site for the bar also expressed happiness over the outcome of the election, noting that it was the first time the NBA, Ilorin branch would deploy electronic voting for its election, which he described as successful.