Rejoinder to the Interview Granted by Mazi Afam Osigwe & Mr. Paul Usoro SAN – Long Williams
I read with amusement the interview granted to DNL LEGAL & STYLE by Mazi Afam Osigwe and Mr. Paul Usoro on the outcome of the adoption of candidates by the Eastern Bar Forum for the 2018 NBA ELECTIONS. If not for the gross distortions, blatant lies and crass ignorance displayed in the said interview, I would have ignored it and moved on with other pressing issues but as Albert Einstein said” the world is a dangerous place to live not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”
I find the interview by Afam very discomforting to say the least, he made some scathing allegations against the EBF and I sit back I wonder whether if this is the same Afam that came to EBF in 2014, cap in hand appealing, pleading, lobbying & scheming in company of Chief Agbawodikeizu Emeka Obegolu with every tricks in the books to be adopted by EBF for the post of General Secretary.
I will take down the issues he raised seriatim:
1. He said that he was treated like an outcast at the EBF AGC Party in Lagos even when his contribution to the party was at par with that of Arthur Obi Okafor. Please who treated Afam like an outcast? If he did not have his supporters at the party to give him a loud ovation upon his entrance who do you blame, is it EBF. Besides was the party only for EBF members. He should blame himself for failing to mobilize and not EBF.
2. Afam said he was not recognized at the party. When Alegeh, SAN was invited to the podium to be recognized, he came with him and he was duly recognized. If he said he was not given an opportunity to speak as at the time Alegeh spoke I will agree with that. However note that it was Alegeh that was invited for recognition and not him so he couldn’t have been given an opportunity to speak at that time. When it was time for the sponsors of the party to speak he was called and he spoke and spiced it up with some Michael Jackson dance steps.
3. Afam also stated that EBF has been highly monetized so he decided to abandon it. Who monetized EBF. He was General Secretary of the Bar. He was one of the leaders of the entourage that visited several govt houses in Nigeria to solicit for sponsorship for NBA events. Was he not in Govt House PH in company of other NBA officials during his tenure to see Wike on several occasions in respect of the NBA 2016 AGC which his administration hosted. So what is this talk about monetization by govt.
4. Afam alleged that after his endorsement by EBF, many EBF members supported Joyce Oduah and he still defeated her. Please which election did he defeat Joyce Oduah, did Joyce run any NBA election against him or is something wrong here? Joyce ran the EBF adoption primaries with him and he won. After the adoption Joyce backed out of the election as instructed by EBF. Please Afam which election are you talking of?
5. On the process of adoption of candidates by EBF. Afam has been adopted before in EBF and he knows the procedure as spelt out in Article 11 of the EBF constitution. That is the procedure that was followed to the letter.
For Paul Usoro, the interview granted by Ememebong Nicholas Udoh on behalf of Paul Usoro is the one that is so amusing.
It is pregnant with blatant falsehood, deceit, distortions, propaganda & crass ignorance. His responses went thus;
1. That a letter was written by EBF and sent to Paul Usoro or whoever disqualifying him from contesting the NBA Elections. Who wrote that letter because EBF never did. If you have a copy please I challenge that it should be published for the records and for the sake of posterity.
2. Ememebong next allegation is that it is only the Igbo’s that has produced all the NBA Presidents whenever it is the turn of the east. Please I ask was OCJ not President, was Okey Wali not President, are they Igbo’s? Besides did anyone at any time stop non Igbo’s from contesting for any position in the NBA. If you put yourself forward for any position at the right time I don’t see anyone stopping you. In the 2012 NBA elections Paul was consulted on whether he was interested in running but he declined and Okey Wali decided to run. Please let us desist from this falsehood and negative propaganda.
3. Ememebong crass ignorance was displayed when he said that the process of adoption was flawed as ” candidates” were not presented before the general house to address the general meeting. Please where did you get that from. I doubt if Mr. Ememebong even has a copy of the EBF Constitution. By Article 11 of the EBF Constitution, the Screening Committee screens the aspirant to ensure that they complied with the EBF and NBA guidelines for elections, take a vote when there are more than one aspirant for a particular office and presents its report to the General meeting for approval. That is the procedure and not the alien description given by Ememebong the representative and spokesman for Paul Usoro. On the other hand, for you to complain about a flawed process you must have indicated interest to partake in the process. Did your aspirant indicate his interest to EBF, so why complain about the process?
4. Ememebong referred to the walkout by the Chairman of Ikot Ekpene Branch at the Screening Committee Meeting. I was in the said meeting and I believe it is my place to narrate what transpired. The Chairman of Ikot Ekpene after accreditation told the meeting that he does not intend to be part of the screening exercise but failed to give any reason for his decision when asked to do so. On that note the Chairman of the meeting advised that since he won’t be partaking he should leave the meeting and he did. The narrative that he was asked to leave the meeting must be meet with the reasons and not left hollow in a bid to create a wrong impression.
5. It must be on record that the Chairmen of Uyo, Eket and Iron branches stayed back in the meeting and participated in the voting process. They never informed the meeting that they cannot vote. They participated in the voting process for all the candidates whose positions were contested including that of Obong Essien for the position of Welfare Secretary. Quite unfortunately the Chairman of Ikot Ekpene Branch whose member Obong Essien was one of the aspirant did not stay to vote for his branch member for reasons best known to him.
6. In his last ditch effort to discredit the adoption, Ememebong painted a picture of violence at the adoption meeting. This is a blatant lie and most ridiculous. The adoption process was peaceful, orderly and well coordinated. The only issue that arose outside the venue of the adoption was the scuffle amongst the members of Aba Branch over which faction of the Branch has control over the Branch Bus. Till now the bus is still lying at the premises of NBA PH Branch with all the tyres deflated. So if anyone claims that it has to do with the adoption process, it is a blatant, wicked and shameless lie.
We must warn and advise ourselves that the 2018 NBA Elections will not be the last. More elections will come and with it more opportunities. So let us be cautious of our words and actions and always remember that “from the sublime to the ridiculous there is only one step”
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