RE: LETTER OF OBJECTION AND PROTEST AGAINST ELEVATION Of ISIAKA ABIOLA OLAGUNJU TO THE PRESTIGIOUS RANK OF A SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA (SAN) – By Silas Onu, Esq.

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RE: LETTER OF OBJECTION AND PROTEST AGAINST ELEVATION Of ISIAKA ABIOLA OLAGUNJU TO THE PRESTIGIOUS RANK OF A SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA (SAN) – By Silas Onu, Esq.

It will be a clear endorsement of fraudulent behavior and a total disregard of the views of members of this noble profession for Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju to be rewarded with the rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria having grossly abused his office in service to the same profession. The record of his tenure in office as General Secretary of the body of lawyers is replete with official rascality and wanton pillage, it is common public knowledge within the Bar Association. It is shameful that his name even made it to this stage without anyone asking questions. (See attached list below)

As General Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Isiaka Abiola Olagunju always argued that judiciary is a strong institution to fight against corruption, but blamed the delay of court cases on clerks.

The privilege of being elevated to the prestigious rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria is and will remain a mark of distinction that all legal practitioners look forward to attaining. It is therefore, expected that dented personalities should not be allowed to bring their dirt into such a class of lawyers.

Isiaka Olagunju’s name appeared as number 9 on the shortlisted applicants to be rewarded with the rank of SAN. But his name and the charges against him as GS of the NBA (2016-2018) were never cleared by the EFCC.

Read the petition dated June 2019 below:

Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC), June 10, 2019
Through the Secretary, LPPC,
Supreme Court of Nigeria Complex,
Abuja,

Sir,
RE: ISIAKA ABIOLA OLAGUNJU
LETTER OF OBJECTION AND PROTEST AGAINST HIS ELEVATION TO THE PRESTIGIOUS RANK OF A SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA – SAN.

The above subject matter refers.
I am a legal practitioner called to the Nigerian Bar and currently on good standing. Therefore, I consider myself competent to make this objection and register my protest against the elevation of Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju to the prestigious rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee in 2019. (Please find attached a proof of my Bar Practicing Fee payment for 2019).

I was the Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Abuja Branch, popularly known as Unity Bar, from the year 2014 to the year 2016. As such, I am deeply rooted in the activities of the Nigerian Bar Association and very conversant with its operations and activities.

In 2016, Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju was elected as the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association in the National Election of the Bar. The General Secretary is the most powerful National Officer of the Bar, after the President. His duties are well spelt out in Section 8 (4) (e) (i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi and vii) of the Nigerian Bar Association Constitution, 2015 which provides thus:
(e) The General Secretary

The General Secretary under the overall direction of the President shall be in charge of the National Secretariat and other offices of the Association and his/her duties shall include the following:
(i) He/She shall, on the instruction of the President or in accordance with a previous decision of the National Executive Committee or pursuant to a requisition made in accordance with the previsions of this Constitution, summon the Annual General Meeting, Meetings of the National Executive Committee or other meetings of the Association;
(ii) He/She shall record and keep the minutes including attendance and summary of all decisions taken thereat;
(iii) He/She shall write and dispatch circulars, letters, and other correspondences of the Association including that of the National Executive Committee;
(iv) He/She shall keep a roll of members and an up-to-date list of Branches of the Association;
(v) He/She shall furnish an annual return or special report of the activities of the Association or any of its organ at the Annual General Conference;
(vi) He/She shall be an ex-officio member of all committees of the Association;
(vii) He/She shall perform all other duties as may be assigned to him/her by the President or the National Executive Committee or the Annual General Meeting.

The responsibilities/duties of the office of the General Secretary are clearly as spelt out above. However, if the General Secretary is to carry out directives of the President or the National Executive Committee or that of the Annual General Meeting of the Association, he is expected to be duly directed by an adopted resolution of either the National Executive Committee or the Annual General Meeting. Also, where the President directs the General Secretary to perform any act, such a directive must fall within the Constitutional powers of the President to so direct and must be communicated in writing for documentation purposes.

It is important to note that, in the Uniform Bye-Laws for Branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (which is part of the Constitution), 2015 provided for how branches of the Nigerian Bar Association are to be administered and managed, independent of the National Officers of the Association. The Bye-Law made unequivocal provisions on how Branches of the Association are to open and maintain their separate Bank Accounts and how all monies belonging to the Branch are to be managed. In Article 13 (2) of the Uniform Bye-Law, NBA Constitution 2015, dealing with the finances of Branches of the Association, it provides thus:

“All monies belonging to the Branch shall be kept in bank accounts to be opened in its name with such reputable banker(s) as the Branch Executive Committee shall decide PROVIDED that the Executive Committee shall not open any new account without the approval of the General Meeting.”

It follows clearly that it is the Branch General Meeting that has the final authority on the issue of opening a new bank account for a Branch of the Association.

In 2018, I was one of the 25 concerned members of Abuja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association who signed a Petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju for opening and maintaining a new Bank Account in the name of NBA Abuja Branch without the knowledge of the Branch or the approval of the Branch General Meeting. The Petition Dated 16th April, 2018 and submitted to the EFCC on 23 April, 2018 it hereby attached.

The above mentioned petition to EFCC contains details of his fraudulent action and is currently being investigated. Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju has been invited and he made Statements regarding his role in the opening and operating the said bank account.

In addition to our petition against Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju, the NBA Transition Committee, Finance Report which is contained in pages 183 – 198 of the National Executive Committee (NEC) Meeting Report Bundle of Thursday 28th March, 2019 (a copy of the pages referred to is herein attached) clearly pointed out in page 184, that Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju used funds belonging to NBA Abuja Branch for purposes other than that of NBA Abuja. This same report revealed how Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju pillaged project funds from McArthur Foundation. I am writing this protest letter against the planned elevation of Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju to the prestigious rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) by this Honourable committee as it is a duty to the Legal Profession to ensure that persons of questionable character are not rewarded with a rank that is a mark of excellence in the profession that prides itself as a noble calling requiring excellence and integrity for a legal practitioner.

All the signatories to the said petition are legal practitioners who strongly hold that a crime has been committed by the said shortlisted Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju against the Bar as his action is not only fraudulent, but also a betrayal of trust for self-enrichment. Members of the Bar as interested in the outcome of the investigation by the EFCC as investigation is ongoing. Past General Secretaries have been invited to verify the claims of Mr. Olagunju that such an act (his act) was condoned in the past.

It will be a clear endorsement of fraudulent behavior and a total disregard of the views of members of this noble profession for Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju to be rewarded with the rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria having grossly abused his office in service to the same profession. The record of his tenure in office as General Secretary of the body of lawyers is replete with official rascality and wanton pillage, it is common public knowledge within the Bar Association. It is shameful that his name even made it to this stage without anyone asking questions.

The privilege of being elevated to the prestigious rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria is and will remain a mark of distinction that all legal practitioners look forward to attaining. It is therefore, expected that dented personalities should not be allowed to bring their dirt into such a class of lawyers.

I pray that this committee will act swiftly to restore confidence and hope to our fast diminishing integrity both among colleagues and the general public by immediately discarding the name of Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju until after such a time that he is cleared from the fraudulent allegation hanging on his head.

A careful perusal of the NBA Transition Committee, Finance Report which is contained in pages 183 – 198 of the National Executive Committee (NEC) Meeting Report Bundle of Thursday 28th March, 2019 report will reveal so much about the person of Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju that this Committee ought to simply BAN him from ever applying for this prestigious rank as doing so only amounts to an insult on the entire legal profession. If the Nigerian Bar Association had not been hijacked and now operates more like a criminal organization, Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju should have been disbarred and possibly be in jail for the crimes he committed against the Association.

I herewith attach a verifying affidavit in accordance with the requirement for such objections.

Thank you very much.

Silas Joseph Onu, Esq.

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Do you want to be heard, your events covered, your articles published, or need to advertise your products and services on our Blog and Magazine, reach out to us at Newswire Law and Events, you will be glad you did. For more details about our services, please call: 08039218044, 09070309355. Email: newswiremagazine@yahoo.co.uk

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