The attention of the Press Office of the African Bar Association has been drawn to an article which featured in several online media said to have been authored by you.
The Article which dwelt on the African Bar Association is to say the least unfortunate and demeaning of the Legal Profession in Africa.
Similarly, the African Bar Association views it as part of the serial blackmail which you and your predecessor in office had embarked on since 2014. Unfortunately, most of the issues relating to the African Bar Association are not within your knowledge because you had not been enrolled as a Lawyer as at then, the period 1995-1998 when the African Bar went into a lull in its activities.
Please note that the present players in AFBA, the President, (Nigeria), the Snr. Vice President (Kenya), the V.P (Budget & Finance) Nigeria, the present Chairman of the Governing Council and several other top officials of AFBA were all players in what you called the Old African Bar Association.
We will also like to remind you that Former Presidents of AFBA, Dr. Rogers Chongwe, Hon Lee Muthoga and Mr. Charles Idehen are all alive and have been participating and supporting the activities of AFBA, which was re-christained from “ABA” because the acronym clashed with the American Bar Association . Infact to educate you a little bit efforts to resuscitate the African Bar Association began in 2011 when the then President Mr. Charles Idehen called for and held a meeting with several Lawyers across the Continent who had been bombarding him with the question of ABA as it was then called and why it suddenly went docile considering the height it had attained in the affairs of African Lawyers globally and Continental wise.
That the issues you raised in your article are not new having been unsuccessfully canvassed by your Predecessors at many fora. In fact, at a meeting of Bar leaders held in Tokyo, Japan in 2014 at the Sidelines of the IBA annual Conference in which your then President Mr. Elijah Banda was present, he was told categorically to disband PALU and work with the African Bar Association which is the Continental body created for Lawyers in the Continent in 1971. He was also given the option of continuing with your PALU as distinct from AFBA. Bar leaders gave the same advice to PALU in Vienna 2016 and at other major meetings.
That again Mr. Banda brought up the issues of PALU and African Bar Association at another event organized by the Nigerian Bar Association in Lagos, Nigeria in 2016 and he got nothing out of it.
That the current players in AFBA including the Council Chairman, the President, Senior Vice President, V-P Budget & Finance and a whole lot of others were solid officers and members of what you called the Old ABA.
That for your information the last meeting of the African Bar Association before it went into a lull was held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1997 and the current players in AFBA were present, we believe at that period you were not a Lawyer, so it may be difficult for you to know the facts.
That Mr. Charles Idehen who was President of the Nigeria Bar Association and later President of the African Bar Association was the sitting president, the only Nigerian, though he could not make the meeting but sent his Vice then Mr. Joseph Joof of Gambia to preside. Several prominent Nigerian Lawyers some late and others very much alive were present.
That after a very successful and fruitful meeting in Abidjan, the then EXCO fixed another meeting for Lagos in June 1998 but that meeting could not hold due to financial constraints and that began the lull in the activities of the African Bar Association which continued until 2009 when Mr. Idehen who continued as President finally called a meeting in Lagos where some members of his EXCO were present alongside the present players and a cross section of Lawyers and Bar Leaders from across Africa.
That interim coordinators were appointed at that meeting and started to work on the resuscitation of the African Bar Association which led to several meetings in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Mali and Cameroon culminating in the Election of officers at the IBA regional meeting in Dar es Salaam in September, 2015 and Mr. Charles Idehen dully handed over to Mr. J B Daudu, SAN as Chairman of the Governing Council and to Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo as President, since the then nomenclature had the President doubling in both positions.
That as a Nigerian we would have expected you to seek audience with these gentlemen who are your Seniors at the Bar in Nigeria instead of engaging yourself in the pastime of a PALU having taken over the African Bar.
That we categorically state that none of the persons you claimed to have signed a document for PALU if it is true were members of the African Bar Association and none of them held any office in the Association.
That the person your predecessors in office claimed to be President of the African Bar Association, a Ghanian was NEVER President of the African Bar Association at any period. In fact, he was defeated by Mr. Charles Idehen of Nigeria at the Elections of the African Bar Association held during the annual Conference in Abuja in 1990 in which the current players of AFBA were present. That Femi falana you touted to be former secretary of AFBA was never elected or appointed secretary. In fact, he lost election to that office. Unfortunately, you will not know, not being a lawyer then and your refusal to seek the correct information on AFBA.
That no other Elections of the African Bar was ever held anywhere as the activities of the Bar went into a lull and if he or any other person no matter how highly placed got themselves in signing a document for your PALU, they did that without authority and are not in any way competent to trade off a Continental body for whatever reason.
That PALU has a right of existence as a body and should stop parading itself as a successor of the African Bar Association because the Leadership of the African Bar will never accept such atrocious illegality and childish display of dishonesty.
That whether the Present African Bar is connected to the old or new is immaterial what is important is that there exist an African Bar Association which is dully registered as a Continental body in a State in Africa and has right to exist and play its role in Continental and global legal affairs and we are proud that all former Leaders and active members of the old are very visible, in the Present Bar, participate and support its activities.
That we charge you to go out and make PALU very visible in such a way as to make the existence of AFBA irrelevant rather than engaging in childish and irresponsible serial blackmail which can only indicate a sinking PALU founded on false foundation for purposes other than noble as your leaders are now unable to defend the concocted lies cooked up in a show of shame some years back.
That it is your leadership and PALU that should have a rethink, disband or carry on your activities in such a way as to bear the burden of its success or failure with equanimity.
That if you are pained that the Attorney General of Nigeria, Secretary to the Government of Nigeria, four sitting Governors in Nigeria, five former Presidents of Nigeria Bar Association are all active Council Members of African Bar Association, we cannot help you in your delirium. PALU is like a servant claiming that landlord has ceded his house to him but the landlord said no, I have not done that. Can you force a landlord to give his house to a servant? The answer is NO.
We have noted your mercantile propensity for holding offices and this PALU gamble is not yielding the desired planned result, which we are sorry and advise you to change tactics by doing the needful.
We are reacting to your trash so that the unwary will not take your outburst serious and consign it to waste bin where it rightfully belongs.
We want you to note that in South African, there are more than four Bar Associations, in America, all the states have their own Bar Associations, in Germany, there are more than two Bar Associations. That is the trend in the modern world. If you truly love PALU and want African Lawyers to patronize you, you must think out of the box and go with the modern demands of Bar Associations all over the world. AFBA has captured the minds of African Lawyers by doing the needful.
We will advise you not to bring the politics of Nigerian Bar Association into your PALU regret over AFBA. That is the crux of matter. People who hated Charles Idehen as President of NBA and AFBA and his support for Bashir Dalhatu and Clement Akpamgbo of blessed memory are prodding you and you are trapped in their infamy.
We have moved on and believes that we are now thinking and breathing Africa. We believe in Africa and will not allow any country politics to derail our pledge to place Africa in her right global standing with the Legal Profession.
Finally, we advise you to desist from your serial blackmail and fake stories as the African Bar Association is not PALU and will never be and as a registered voluntary membership Continental body we shall continue to play our role in an honest and noble manner.
Dated this 28th day of March, 2019.
Heredia Siki (DRC)