Spidel scandal: Should Saint Akpata not have resigned? by Ishaya Babagana


I have never been pretentious about my stance on the whole artificial brouhaha instigated by the President of the NBA, Mr. Olumide Akpata, over the inappropriate email written by a certain Ms. Ogunde, a lawyer in the office of Wole Olanipekun & Co.
Mr. Akpata has no doubt, erected a mountain on the molehill, while asking Chief Olanipekun to do so many things, at the same time by asking him to “step aside”, “recuse himself” and “allow for interim leadership of the BOB.”
Right from the get-go, I said it that Akpata, whom I have known for some time, could not be operating in good faith. I had insisted that there was more to it that meets the eyes and Akpata had not spared any opportunity at proving me right.
Right from his inauspicious employment of the letter of July 22 letter, to his very revealing foul-cry interview published on July 27, 2022, it is glaring that Akpata had a trophy in sight if he had succeeded in pulling down the chairman of the BOB.
Just when I thought we were done with the revelations, Mr. Chukwuka Ikwazom, SAN, hit the legal community with yet another shocker as contained in his letter of resignation as the Chairman of the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL)’s Conference Planning Committee (CPC).
That he resigned his position as the chairman of the CPC was actually not the news. The news, however, are the facts safely tucked behind the resignation by means of the precipitating factors.
For context, those close enough to NBA politics are in the know that Mr. Ikwazom, SAN has an aspiration for the office of the President of the NBA, perhaps in the next 2 years, when the presidency of the Association is zoned to the East. It is equally not a secret that the young and cerebral SAN is not Akpata’s favorite for the office.
Resultantly, seeing that Mr. Ikwazom’s success as chairman of the CPC could shore up his profile for the office, Mr. Akpata had instructed the chairman of SPIDEL to relieve Mr. Ikwazom of his position, as anything to the contrary would deprive SPIDEL of its otherwise legitimate entitlement to NBA sponsorship grant, as well as NBA’s general support.
The incredulousness expressed by the revelations, makes it much of a constraint for me to express the content of Mr. Ikwazom’s letter through a paraphrase, hence, I will take the liberty of reproducing the material portion of Mr. Ikwuazom’s letter, which was addressed to the chairman of SPIDEL, as follows:
You stated that you wanted the conference to take place before the end of the current administration of the NBA and that the President of the Bar had promised financial assistance by the NBA and the use of the NBA auditorium for the conference…You will therefore understand my shock when you called me on Tuesday, 26 July 2022 to say that the President of the NBA had made his participation in the conference and the provision of the financial assistance promised on behalf of the NBA conditional upon my standing down as the Chairman of the CPC.
It is not in doubt that the funds with which Mr. Akpata ought to have supported SPIDEL (a section of the NBA itself) is the commonwealth of all members of the Association and not a product of Mr. Akpata’s personal coffers.
Therefore, one would have expected that Mr. Akpata would apply the resources for the benefit of the generality of the Association and not for self-aggrandizement and actualization of personal political goals.
As Mr. Ikwuazom revealed in his letter, if he had not resigned as the chairman of the CPC, Mr. Akpata was going to starve a section of the NBA, over which he presides of the requisite fund for the execution of its annual conference.
If these facts do not best describe abuse of office, conflict of interest, breach of fiduciary duty and the duty of utmost good faith, then nothing else can.
These are allegations which have directly been shot at Mr. Akpata’s chest for more than 24 hours now, and as an apostle of quick “recusal” and “stepping aside”, I am surprised that Akpata, who rides ebulliently on a horse adorned with morality and sainthood, is yet to resign his position as the President of the NBA in the face of these very staggering allegations.
Since all proponents of Akpata’s theory are often quick to refer to the “saner climes”, may I remind us of Federal Judge, Charles Swayne, who was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1904, for improper use of private railroad cars, unlawfully imprisoning two attorneys for contempt, and living outside of his district; and President Richard Nixon who had to resign from office in 1973 on the basis of allegations which include using the powers of the office of President of the United States, in violation of his constitutional oath.
These are the few examples that readily come to mind amongst the very many instances of impeachments and resignations that have trailed allegations of abuse of office and conflict of interest. Unfortunately, up till now, we are yet to see the resignation letter of Mr. Akpata who has been personally and directly indicted in these scandalous allegations. Meanwhile, the same man was all over the internet advocating the resignation of someone, whose only offence was hiring an indiscreet and misguided employee.
In one of the paragraphs in Akpata’s unceremonious letter to Olanipekun, he had embarked on a preachment that “as a beacon of Rule of Law and due process, the NBA must continue to demonstrate that it is committed to the vision of its founding fathers, especially in its internal affairs.”
Who would have known that this sanctimony would be put to test within a fortnight? In any event, my records and writings indicate that I was never at any point deluded by Akpata’s shenanigans and this development has not changed anything, other than corroborating my earlier stance, that his propounded principles of “recusal” and “stepping aside” were tailor-made, cut out only to suit Olanipekun, but unsizeable for President Akpata’s hulky stature.
I am sure that all observers are now adverted to the fact that Mr. Akpata’s tirade was not an outfall of the complaint of misconduct against Ogunde.
Ogunde’s case only presented itself, as the much awaited pedestal for Akpata to get at Olanipekun for reasons best known to him, despite their inability to make out a case against the old man.
For me, my stance remains that Akpata’s actions are hardly devoid of personal goals and schemes. While his decision to provide or not to provide funds for, and support the NBA SPIDEL is contingent on having his favorite as chairman of the CPC, for obvious strategic reasons, your guess on his decision to bring down Olanipekun could only have been as good as mine.
Otherwise, is this the first petition to be filed by the NBA under his watch against a lawyer? Has he given such other petitions this kind of controversial and embarrassing publicity?
If his letter is anything more than a bravado and if it is grounded in principle as against the apparent pull him down scheme, this is an opportunity for Akpata to prove it, by turning in his letter of resignation without much ado, at least to enable an unbiased investigation of this direct allegation and scandal against him.


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