Saturday, 30 May, 2020

What Usoro Told Obi Okafor, Ojukwu

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President-elect, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN had written to his co-contestants for NBA Presidency, seeking their cooperation towards a successful tenure.

The letter, which was copied to all NBA current and past presidents, has generated much furore.

Below is the controversial letter as obtained by CITY LAWYER:

On ‎Friday‎, ‎August‎ ‎24‎, ‎2018‎ ‎02‎:‎33‎:‎36‎ ‎PM‎ ‎WAT, Paul Usoro, SAN <paul@xxxxxx> wrote:

Dear Current and Past Presidents

On second thoughts, I decided I should make you privy to my self-explanatory mail below to my brothers, Ernest and Arthur. It would be my joy to work with both of them for the common good of the NBA and I respectfully and most humbly implore you to join voices with me to intercede and direct the three of us towards that common goal, in the terms of my mail to them. I thank you all and pray for Divine blessings and protection for you and your families.

Best

Paul Usoro, SAN
Senior Partner

From: Paul Usoro <paul@xxxxxx>
Date: Friday, August 24, 2018 at 1:59 PM
To: “Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN” <arthur@xxxxxx>, Ernest Ojukwu <ernestojukwu2@xxxxxx>
Subject: Nigerian Bar Association

My dear brothers Ernest and Arthur

Soon after the NBA Elections last Monday, 20 August 2018 I called both of you (same day in regard to Arthur and on Wednesday, 23 August 2018 in regard to Ernest) but you both must’ve been busy and couldn’t take my calls. I also left WhatsApp messages on your phone but again, your schedules may not have permitted you to revert. I had intended to use my calls to reach both of you and solicit your support for my running of the NBA, post the elections; not having reached you nor heard from you, I thought it wise not to wait any further but to articular my thoughts vide this e-mail.

Let me start by first stating that I fully understand your respective feelings and belief that you and not me should’ve won the NBA Presidential election. I probably would’ve felt the same way, perhaps, not as heated, if I had lost. I’m however reminded of the fact that, win or lose in an NBA election, we, the three of us, remain learned friends, brother Silks and kinsmen from Eastern Nigeria. Those are strong unbreakable bonds that NBA election, win or lose, should not and must not put asunder. Indeed, a win by any of us ought to have been and should be seen as a win for all of us, given those bonds that I’ve listed. It is in that spirit that I’m truly and earnestly extending my hands of brotherhood to both of you and appealing that we sheath swords and join hands in reshaping the NBA into an institution that we all can take pride in.

In truth, beyond the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that I’ve highlighted above, there’s a lot more that binds us together as far as the NBA is concerned. By virtue of our ranks, we’re all leaders of the profession and each of us is eminently qualified to lead the Bar – at least, that’s what I believe in regard to you two. Indeed, our Election Manifestoes shared some common features with the difference being only in the modalities and strategies for achieving those common objectives. Our three Manifestoes, for example, talked about welfare issues for lawyers, not least, the young lawyers, we all talked about an inclusive Bar where there’ll be standing room for all lawyers irrespective of gender, age, ability/disability etc. and we also talked about giving voice to the voiceless and the promotion of the rule of law, amongst others.

These and much more were our common agenda items during the elections and I believe that the Bar will be greatly enriched if we were to join hands to achieve these and several other goals that we so beautifully articulated in our respective Manifestoes. Just think of it: can you imagine what pride we bring to Eastern Nigeria and indeed the profession if we were to work together along these lines, and, God being on our side, we achieve great things for the NBA during my tenure as the President of the NBA? In two years, we’ll jointly be the toast of the Bar and indeed of Nigeria if we seize this moment. I truly request you to think of my proposition even as I look forward to the opportunity of sitting with you, jointly or separately, to advance and flesh out such a course while harmonizing our thoughts in that regard.

I thank you for taking the time to read this “epistle” and look forward to an indication from you on the convenient time that I may call you, respectively, to advance discussions on these matters. Meanwhile, please, feel free to reach me by sms or whatsapp or e-mail. Do have a restful weekend and see you at the AGC.

Best

Paul Usoro, SAN

Senior Partner

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