On 2nd June 2008, the NBA Ikeja branch, a.k.a Tigers branch, at its Annual General meeting, reconstituted her Electoral Committee, to organise elections into the Executive Council of the branch.
It would be recalled that the reconstitution became necessary upon the collapse of the original electoral committee headed by Taiwo Adeoluwa Esq.
On Thursday the 19th June 2008, after days of careful and deep perusal of screening records of the branch pertaining to candidates in the deform of attendance lists (in care of Mr. Beckley the General Secretary of the branch) and dues’ payment records (in charge of Mr. Yinka Faroubi Esq. the financial Secretary) the committee met with the contestants at about 4:00p.m.
The main purpose of the meeting was to conduct a public hearing of the petitions pending before the committee. At the end of the three hour long exercise, it became apparent that certainly not all the contestants would be allowed to participate in the election.
For example in the chairmanship level, the committee upon an examination of the records of attendance before them, declared that Dele Oloke did not meet up the required number of meetings per year which is 7. Oloke’s response was to launch into his traditional tirade against “the cabal which has been rigging in the branch”, advocating in the process that the bye-laws should be jettisoned for the purpose of the elections. The petition against Dave Ajetomobi Esq. written by Niyi Akinmola Esq., to the effect that Ajetomobi did not pay his 2006-2007 practising fees and only has a back –dated receipt to cover up for him was also considered.
When Ajetomobi denied the allegation against him, the committee called upon Yinka Faroubi, the financial secretary to clarity the position. Faroubi, much to the angst of the petitioner declared that Ajetomobi made valid payment and was validity issued a receipt.
Yet Akinmola would not give up. He demanded to see the stub of Ajetomobi’s receipt, but that examination could not be carried out since the Electoral Committee did not come with receipt booklets submitted to them by the financial secretary. The two rivals were asked to come back the next day to face the committee on the issue. On the return date Ajetomobi showed up before the committee but Akinmola did not.
The petition of Ajetomobi against Akinmola was also considered. Ajetomobi had accused Akinmola of having an unqualified member in the person of Biyi Oguntuga Esq as the seconder of his nomination.
According to Ajetomobi, Oguntuga only attended meetings of the branch between 2006 -2007 only two times. The examination of the attendance records in respect of Biyi Oguntuga drew attention to Beckley Abioye Esq another chairmanship aspirant but who is also the secretary for 2006 – 2008 years.
The committee found that while Abioye’s report on attendance credited Oguntuga with 9 sittings, the attendance register had him for 8, while the list of attendees of branch meetings published also by Abioye had him for only 2 times. Oguntuga’s in reaction to these discrepancies was to say that he was always coming late to meetings, reasons why his name was always at the bottom of the register, after it had been deemed close. When queried whether he ever complained at any of the meetings that his name was not adequately reflected on the published list of attendance Oguntuga said “no” because “ I never thought it necessary”.
Abioye’s defence was that he didn’t know how Oguntuga’s name got on the registers of the meetings. It was the same argument he put up later when he was queried over Abiola Oketoki, a social secretary aspirant whose name did not appear for once in the published attendance records for 2006 – 2007 year but whom the Abioye report astonishingly credited with 8 sittings. Interestingly, Oketoki defence or explanation to the curious situation was that she was always coming late to meeting; hence her name was also, always down the register after closure.
In the 1st Vice-President post, Oguntuga’s petition against Dare Akande Esq was treated. The allegation against the national leader of the Progressive Bar Forum was that he did not actually pay his branch dues for year 2006 – 2007 and that he was given a backdated receipt to cover him up.
This allegation was denied by Akande and his position was supported by Yinka Faroubi the financial secretary, who declared that Akande duly paid his branch dues.
In the 2nd Vice Chairman category, one of the three contestants, Mamuna Esegine, did not show up, so the petition of one of her rivals, Terry Badmus Adeniyi was not heard. The hearing was adjourned till the 20th June 2008, the next day. However, Esegine did not turn up also at the second date. The other contestant, Dafosta Osinowo did not argue with the committee’s finding that he did not have sufficient sittings, for year 2006- 2007 saying he was prepared to abide with their decision.
At the Secretary – Generalship levels, the hearing of the petition against Titi Osagie (Mrs) by her sole rival Isa Buhari that she did not pay adequate branch due brought out some heat from Osagie. Her claim that she duly paid her branch dues was backed by an affidavit sworn to in proof. But when the committee enquired from the financial secretary about the affidavit angle, Faroubi declared that Osagie did not pay to him and did not enquire from his office about the duplicate or stub of her missing receipt, before procuring an affidavit which according to him cannot stand for a certification of the document in question. Immediately the committee finished with her, Osagie walked out in annoyance.
When it came to the turn of the petition against S.O Omodara, whose opponent, Lateef Abdusalam accused of not having his branch dues, Omodara produced a receipt to the contrary.
However the receipt which bore a December 2006 date interesting came from a batch of March 2007 booklet. The financial secretary, Yinka Faroubi, denied issuing the receipt despite the fact that Farounbi’s signature was on the receipt. Farounbi explained that he left already signed booklet of receipt with the bar clerk so that payments can be made even in his absence as he was then engaged in his LLM programe, according to Farounbi such booklet were forcefully taken away from the bar clerk by the chairman and secretary of the branch without his knowledge or his authority. It was those documents that he alleged were tampered with including the one which included Omodara’s name.
The treatment of the petition against Miss Abiola Oketoki, social secretary contestant was also interesting. While Oketoki’s opponent, Emmanuel Otobo who came to the meeting armed with bundles of several papers and documents as if he was counsel to a party before the famous Oputa Panel, claimed that Oketoki did not pay her branch dues, Oketoki denied this but had no receipt to show for it. When she claimed that she made payment to the Bar Clerk, Miss Queen Ebohon, the committee summoned the clerk, who promptly denied Oketoki’s claim.
The petition against A. Ahmed contestant for the welfare secretary post was not treated for the absence of the petitioner, Chinwe Joy.
At the end of it all, the Electoral Committee hold the contestants that on Monday 23rd June 2008, she will put up their report on the qualification of candidates and by Wednesday the 25th June, the list of voters would be out. According to the committee they would give a few days to hear the complaints of any aggrieved voter with proof that his name is excluded from the voters list and make necessary adjustment.
From all indications then, the most likely time the long awaited Tiger Bar election will hold is Monday 30th June 2008.
Although nobody is sure which candidates will eventually be cleared for the election by the Electoral Committee, contestants who are either members or allies of the Niyi Idowu – Beckley Abioye group to wit:- Beckley Abioye, Biyi Oguntuga, Titi Osagie, Abiola Oketoki, S.O Omodara, Mamuna Esegine, appear to be feeling the heat more, probably because the bulk of ‘heavy’ petitions were directed against them or are otherwise affected in the on going scrutiny of qualifying records.
Just about press time, (Saturday 21-06-2008) credible, gecko-borne news reached the Squib that the Electoral Committee was at work in the office of her chairman, Layi Babatunde S.A.N. The committee met to give further opportunity to entertain Niyi Akinmola’s petition against Dave Ajetomobi. Both men were summoned likewise the financial secretary who however did not turn up.
Geckos were surprised, to hear Niyi Akinmola who maintained that he would not press his claim unless Faroubi was present, accuse two members of the Electoral Committee – the chairman himself, Layi Babatunde S.A.N and Femi Falana Esq. of acting out “the script of Dave Ajetomobi to get me (Akinmola) disqualified.”
According to our information, Niyi Akinmola was agitated, confrontational and rude but the Electoral Committee members with some effort kept their cool and adjourned the hearing of his petition to Sunday the 22nd June 2008 when Farounbi was expected to be available.
When contacted on the phone four times between 8.00pm and 8.20pm by the Squib on this development, Niyi Akinmola was not prepared to talk, aside asking this reporter whether he was a candidate or petitioner in the elections.
Surely, the drama of the 2008 NBA Ikeja branch elections has not ended.