A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja has refused an ex parte application seeking to stop the president-elect of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), from being sworn in.
Mahmoud, who was declared winner of the July 30 and 31, 2016 NBA election, is scheduled to be sworn in as the 28th President of the NBA during the ongoing conference of the association in Port Harcourt.
The ex parte application seeking to stop the swearing-in ceremony was filed by Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), who contested the position with Mahmoud.
Mahmoud, who polled 3,055 out of available 5,439 votes, had been declared winner ahead of Gadzama, who polled 2,384 votes.
Gadzama has, however, rejected the election result on account of alleged malpractices and headed for court seeking the cancellation of the result and the conduct of a fresh election.
He also, through his lawyer, Mr. Sebastine Hon (SAN), filed an ex parte application to stop Mahmoud from being sworn in pending the determination of the suit.
Also joined as defendants in the suit are the Incorporated Trustees of the NBA; and the association’s trustees – Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Chief Thompson Okpoko (SAN), Chief (Mrs.) Priscilla Kuye, Alhaji Murtala Aminu and Chief Anthony Mogboh (SAN).
Also listed as defendants are the Chairman and Secretary of the NBA Electoral Committee, Mr. Kenneth Mozia (SAN) and Mr. Oluwaseun Ajoba, respectively; as well as members of the ECNBA – Hajia Safiya Balarabe, Mrs. Amaka Ezeno and Mrs. Eucharia Pepple.
Others are the ICT partner to the NBA, Grace Infotech Limited and the outgoing NBA President, Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN).
In a 37-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, Gadzama had alleged malpractices, claiming that as opposed to the 2,384 votes declared for him, he actually polled 2,963, while Mahmoud, who was declared winner with 3,055, actually scored 2,465.
Gadzama’s lawyer, Hon, urged Justice Olukayode Adeniyi to stop Mahmoud from being sworn in pending the determination of the suit.
But the judge, in his ruling, turned down the application, declaring that it lacked merit.
Justice, who observed that the application was filed 17 days after the result of the election was announced, said he saw no urgency in the application, especially as the swearing-in ceremony sought to be stopped would take place this week.
He judge rejected Hon’s argument that the res would be vitiated if the ex parte application was not granted.
Rather than stop Mahmoud from being sworn in, the court directed the plaintiff to put the defendants in the suit on notice to allow them respond.
He granted an order for the plaintiff to serve the court processes on the defendants, who had yet to be served, by substituted means.
Justice Adeniyi adjourned till August 25, 2016 (today) to hear Gadzama’s motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.