Friday, 3 July, 2020

SANship: AKPATA, OGUNLANA FAULT AWOMOLO, ADESINA SPEAKS

More aspirants have condemned the call by Bar leader, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN that the next president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should be sourced from the rank of senior advocates.

Awomolo had in a letter to former NBA President, Chief Onomigbo Okpoko SAN stated that “It will be a great failure of leadership for the senior advocates to surrender leadership to the outer bar when there are willing and able senior advocates,” urging him to convene a meeting of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) to deliberate on the matter. Okpoko is yet to respond to the leaked letter.

One of the presidential aspirants, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN had earlier dissociated himself from the call, saying that “The focus should be on the character, capacity and antecedents of persons who aspire to lead our profession and not on their title or rank.”

While Mr. Dele Adesina SAN did not issue any direct response to the controversial letter, he had prior to the publication of the letter and as a part of his law series, written an article which spoke to the issue. Titled “Insights: A Bar For All,” he wrote: “As a firm believer in the objectives of the Nigerian Bar Association and the role it plays to its members and the community, I believe our Association is at a critical point in history where unity of purpose and synergy among lawyers is in desperate need.

“As such it is not a time for members to instigate division either among the senior members of the Bar and juniors or among the Senior Advocates and Non – Senior Advocates. I believe as members of the NBA, the Association is for the benefit of all members irrespective of position or ilk.

“The Leadership of NBA must always ensure strategic collaboration between the NBA, its Sections, Forums and other bodies such as the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Law Officers Association of Nigeria, Law Teachers Association of Nigeria, Association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria, Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON), Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN) and ‘Federación Internacional dé Abogadas’ a.k.a. ‘International Federation of Women Lawyers’, Capital Markets Solicitors, and any other interest groups among us.

“Our Association must continue to be a pillar of support and strength for the specialised bodies and individuals in pursuit of their goals and objectives. We must also resist any and all efforts to cause a division among our ranks, if the NBA must remain relevant, active and successful in its role.”

In a terse response on his verified Twitter handle, another presidential aspirant, Mr. Olumide Akpata said: “I have a lot of respect for the rank of SAN & I encourage those who aspire to it. But this letter by Awomolo SAN is a disservice to all lawyers who want a better Bar.” 

On his part, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, another presidential aspirant who was disqualified by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA), in a broadcast on his verified Facebook handle described the letter as “extremely amusing,” adding however that the Bar leader “is entitled to his opinion.” Ogunlana has petitioned the ECNBA over his disqualification.

Hinting that the kernel of Awomolo’s “lamentations” is a quest to “protect the interest of his class”, he stated that Awomolo’s era “generally have failed this country. They have not added value most of the time – good value. They have failed us; it is a failed generation. They are used to privilege. He has not advanced merit in canvassing (Chief) T. J. O. Okpoko.”

He discredited Awomolo’s assertion that all NBA presidents since its rebirth from the 1992 Port Harcourt debacle have all been senior advocates, noting that Chief Lanke Odogiyan completed the tenure of Chief Bayo Ojo SAN.

He said that Awomolo has “exposed the inner thinking, inner workings and the pains and anguish of people they call Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, that there is a concerted effort to keep the leadership and all the things that connect to that leadership of the NBA in their ranks.”

Saying that this may explain why all the NBA committees at the national level are headed by SANs, Ogunlana added that “There is a clear intention given by the monopolistic hold of the senior advocates on the NBA that they are the repository of wisdom, that they are the repository of intellectual knowledge.”

He distinguished between the association and the profession, adding that the Bar leader has not only shown that he “is not a democrat,” but is advocating gerontocracy and plutocracy. Describing the rank of senior advocate as “fraudulent,” he stated that any move to amend the NBA Constitution to reserve the position of NBA president for only senior advocates “will be resisted.”

He stated that the issue of leadership of the association “should not be whether the aspirant is a senior advocate or not. “It should be, is this person competent? Does he have the know-how? What is the programme and what can he do? That is the issue?” He stated that voters should cast their ballots for either SANs or non-SANs based on their competence.

Describing Awomolo’s letter as “a gross insult to himself,” Ogunlana stated that the Bar leader has “betrayed that he doesn’t understand and accept democracy for what it is.”

Awomolo’s letter read: “Since you (Okpoko) became the president of the reformed NBA in 1998, and to avoid what happened in Port Harcourt in 1992, all successors to the office of the president have been senior advocates of Nigeria.”

“With respect, I believe you need to urgently call a meeting of the past presidents of the NBA and do all within your powers to preserve the integrity, honour and respectability of the office of the president of the NBA,” Awomolo said.

“What I hear is an unannounced but powerful and potent revolutionary move by our junior colleagues who are very much in larger numbers to wrestle the office of the NBA from the rank of SAN.

“That, in my view will be unfortunate for the rank. To the members of the public a ridicule of the rank and office of the president of the NBA.”

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

NBA PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS WOO IGBO LAWYERS

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential aspirants stormed the meeting of Igbo lawyers yesterday to felicitate with the members and express their intention to vie for the presidency of the Bar. Also present at the meeting were some aspirants for the post of General Secretary.

Among the presidential aspirants who attended the virtual monthly meeting of Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society) are Mr. Dele Adesina SAN, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Olu Akpata.

The first to be admitted into the meeting was Adesina. He thanked the leadership of the law society for the opportunity. Turning to judicial corruption, he noted that it is condemnable, adding however that only a negligible number of judges engage in such misfeasance. He stated that the entire judiciary should not be tarred with the brush of its few bad eggs. Emphasizing the need to empower young lawyers, Adesina stated that he would unveil his roadmap in this regard when the ban on campaigns is lifted by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA).

The next available aspirant, Akpata told the Otu members that welfare is critical for every lawyer, adding that he would also place premium on health insurance. Harping on his track record as Chairman of NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Akpata stated that he “came with credentials.” He stated that aside from disciplining of lawyers, he would foster the administration of justice while ensuring that every lawyer who has a brush with law enforcement agencies is offered legal defence.

On his part, Ajibade expressed worry at the divisions within NBA circles. He vowed to cement the cracks as well as “get the justice sector working again.” Noting that young lawyers should be the focus of NBA, Ajibade said that he has the unique privilege of combining the skills and practical knowledge of a solicitor and advocate, having been engaged in both transactional and litigation practice at relatively high levels.

Coming on the heels of engaging interactions between the members and the aspirants, Chief Chuks Ikokwu, President of Otu Oka Iwu, thanked the aspirants for finding it worthy to felicitate with the law society, and wished them well in their aspiration to lead Africa’s largest Bar.

Among the aspirants for the post of General Secretary who also attended the virtual meeting are Mr. Alex Muoka and Mrs. Joyce Oduah, both members of the law society.

The NBA National Elections is scheduled to hold on July 24 and 25, 2020 through electronic voting.

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

WHAT ADESINA, AJIBADE, AKPATA, OGUNLANA, OTHERS ARE SAYING ON ECNBA CLEARANCE, DISQUALIFICATION

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Many aspirants have been reacting on their clearance or disqualification by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) for the forthcoming NBA National Elections. Among those who appreciated ECNBA for their clearance are Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Olumide Akpata. While Sources close to Mr. Dele Adesina SAN told CITY LAWYER that he did not issue any statement on the matter, a group of supporters under umbrella of “Team DASAN” said his clearance was received “with joy and put us all in joyful mood.” The group added: “While congratulating our candidate and ourselves, we must be reminded that the work has just begun. We must all strive towards ensuring the realisation of DASAN’s Presidency in order to secure the future of the Bar.”

Aspirants who were disqualified from the race also reacted to the ECNBA decisions, with former NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana leading the pack of aspirants who have vowed to challenge their disqualification.

Below is a compilation of aspirants’ reactions by CITY LAWYER:

DR. BABATUNDE AJIBADE, SAN
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I give thanks to God that the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association has granted me provisional clearance to contest for the office of President of the NBA.
By this, we have scaled the first official hurdle in this race to reposition and strengthen the Nigerian legal profession.
I could not have done this without the spiritual, moral and physical support of each and everyone of you and I am truly grateful for your support thus far.
This is just a first hurdle though and there is still a long journey ahead before we reach the promised land. I look forward to your continued support and a doubling of our efforts as we make this final push to build a better Bar.
Let’s all remember that while I can do little alone, we can do much more together.
Let’s unite and do better.

OLUMIDE AKPATA
WE MUST KEEP MOVING FOR A BETTER BAR
My friends,
I am pleased to report that last night, the ECNBA cleared me to contest the 2020 NBA Presidential elections. My team and I are delighted to have crossed this milestone in my quest to lead the Bar to an enviable future.
I can only say that the future we seek for the NBA is much closer than we think, and I must thank everyone who has supported so far. Still, we must continue to move until we get to the finish line. We must be propelled by our desire transform the NBA into an Association in which we all find a sense of belonging and from which we all grow and benefit as lawyers and also set standards for the future.
My drive to see a better NBA did not start today, so there is no backing down from this cause. This is why I urge supporters of my candidacy everywhere to continue to advocate actively for a transformed NBA and to exercise their franchise when the time is right. Let us give our members hope again and give the society reasons to believe in us.
As always, I remain grateful for your support.
Thank you.

ADESINA OGUNLANA
DO NOT BE DISMAYED …..WE SHALL OVERCOME
BEING THE PRELIMINARY RESPONSE OF OGUNLANA ADESINA , ESQ (CHAIRMAN, NBA IKEJA BRANCH 2016-2018)TO THE NOTICE OF LETTER DISQUALFYING HIM FROM CONTESTING FOR THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION ( NBA)

Dear Colleagues, Friends and Supporters ,
Good morning, All. May I respectfully inform that I have this day , -3 June 2020, at about 6 10 am, become aware of a mail from the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association ( ECNBA) stating my disqualification from participating in the election for the office of the President of our great Association .

The ECNBA gave a singular reason – absence of LETTER OF GOOD STANDING(LOGS) from my Branch Chairman . ECNBA also stated my right to appeal their verdict within 7 days of receipt of their mail. We thank ECNBA
May I further state that I shall APPEAL the verdict . Let me assure every one that my dues for 2018, 2019 and 2020 were duly and fully paid as at when due as stipulated in the Constitution of the Association and which automatically thus entitles me to the LOGS.

The absence of the LOGS was not due to any fault of mine but to the malicious act of the incumbent but now out going BRANCH CHAIRMAN of the NBA IKEJA BRANCH, Dele Oloke , Esq . Of course , the poisoned antecedents of Oloke as a factional leader of the IKEJA BAR and who eventually lost out to me in the extremely intense intra-Bar leadership struggle of 2016-2017 is well known .

Clearly , the issue for determination is- CAN A BRANCH CHAIRMAN DECLINE TO ISSUE A LETTER OF GOOD STANDING TO AN APPLICANT , WHERE APPLICANT TO THE NOTICE OF THE CHAIRMAN, HAS COMPLIED WITH THE PROVISIONS AND STIPULATES OF THE CONSTITUION IN THAT REGARD ?

May I use this medium to appeal to all our supporters not to be dismayed but to remain not only calm but cheerful . Always trusting in the Faithfulness and Mercies of God and the consistently triumphant forces of GOOD over EVIL I declare to you today , WE SHALL OVERCOME .

THANK YOU

ALEXANDER NDUKA MUOKA
Good morning learned Seniors and Colleagues.
I have been provisionally cleared by the ECNBA to contest for the office of General Secretary of the NBA in the elections next month.
Let’s make this happen together, and thank you for your support.

JOYCE ODUAH
My Distinguished colleagues and teeming supporters* , it gives me great delight to announce to you that yesterday, Friday, 12th June 2020, *the Nigerian Bar Association Electoral Committee (“ECNBA”) provisionally cleared me to contest for the Office of the General Secretary of the NBA in the 2020 NBA General Elections,* which is scheduled to hold from 24-25 July 2020. Indeed, this is a step forward in our mission to transform the NBA National Secretariat. I thank you all for your continued support and urge us not to relent in our mission to make the NBA National Secretariat more responsive, effective and efficient for all lawyers.

BARTH OKOYE ANICHE
I am excited to bring it to your knowledge that I made the Provisional Clearance List of the Nigerian Bar Association for her forthcoming 2020 National Elections.

The list which has me shortlisted as ‘Okoye, Nnaemeka Bath’, alongside four other persons for the position of the General Secretary, was announced on Friday 12th June, 2020 with a press statement signed by Tawo E. Tawo, SAN (Chairman ECNBA), and Mrs Cordelia U. Eke (Secretary, ECNBA). It also declared the disqualification of 19 of the 43 nominees. “Disqualified persons have been duly notified of the decision of the electoral officers and their right to Appeal.”

OKEY LEO OHAGBA
Distinguished Bar leaders, learned friends and supporters of my aspiration to serve the Bar, with great joy and glory to God Almighty, I bring you good news that the ECNBA has found yours truly fit and proper to contest for the office of NBA GENERAL SECRETARY in forthcoming NBA General Elections, scheduled for 24th/25th July this year.

This feat was possible with your support and prayers. Our vision for #InnovativeSecretariat #InnovativeBar just gained momentum, and I’m very upbeat we shall actualise that dream at the end, with your continuing support and by the special GRACE of God.

Our beautiful plans for the Bar would be unveiled as soon as ECNBA guidelines permit.

Please continue keeping faith with us as we focus now on the greater task ahead, and hope to work more closely with you this time. Together, we can build a more progressive, responsive and innovative Secretariat; more friendly and closer to all members.

The journey has been God’s and will remain God’s till the end.

THANK YOU

KUNLE EDUN
Distinguished Colleagues, i am pleased to inform you that the ECNBA has cleared me to run for the office of the National Welfare Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association. This could not have been possible without your support and prayers, and most importantly because you all believe in my aspiration. We return all the glory to God Almighty.

My clearance by the ECNBA is a call for greater service to the NBA and humanity. It is a further opportunity to replicate what we have done as the NBA Publicity Team (Kunle Edun & Habeeb Lawal) in addressing the welfare needs of our Colleagues.

With your continued support and prayers, the NBA will experience innovations, proactiveness and dilligence in attending to the critical welfare needs of our colleagues. Never again would a Lawyer beg for funds to undergo any life-saving Surgery. We must make OUR NBA take responsibility for our Welfare.

I wish to use this opportunity to thank my very good friend J.E. Usman , the current National Welfare Secretary for the fantastic work he has done so far. I know the many challenges he has had to confront in responding to the needs of Colleagues. I look forward to his guidance and advice in ensuring that we continue to make the welfare of Lawyers a core responsibility of the NBA. I also thank my co- National Officers, particularly my very good friend, Chinyere Obasi. We would continue to work as a Team.

My distinguished Colleagues and true advocates for positive change, the Election is few weeks away. I request that you spread the gospel of Kunle Edun to all Lawyers and groups. It is a gospel for better welfare for members. Let the final victory be for the Nigerian Lawyers.

Thank You.

S. O. K. SHILLINGS
Distinguished colleagues, I have read and been inundated with reports of the release of names of contestants for the coming election wherein my name is missing.
I understand that those who are disqualified have been notified of the fact and grounds of their disqualifications.
I have not received such notification. It is therefore clear that the omission must be due to inadvertence. We have therefore informed the ECNBA of this development and the need for it to do the needful.
I urge us to keep calm and follow up on our steady agenda leading to the final bend, sprint-start lapse.
I thank you immensely for the huge solidarity.

ADEDOTUN ADETUNJI
To all my teeming fans and supporters who have been calling and sending me messages from North, East, South and West since the news of my so called disqualification broke, I thank you very much and I dare say that this is the handwork of Shaitan but he won’t succeed. I believe this happened for a very very positive reason. The reason given for my disqualification is that my seconder did not have sufficient duration of NEC membership meanwhile he has been Nec member since 2004 till date (unbroken). What an irony. He has been secretary of a branch as Nec member 2004-2006, Chairman of a branch as Nec member 2014-2016 and the current elected Nec rep 2018-2020. He was coopted as Nec rep by the Presidency of Olisa Agbakoba San 2006- 2008, Rotimi Akeredolu San 2008-2010, J.B. Daudu San 2010-2012, Okey Wali San 2012-2014 and A.B. Mahmoud San 2016- 2018. *He has been a Nec member for 16 years unbroken period meanwhile, the constitutional requirement is to be in Nec for not less than two (2) years.*
We are surely going to appeal vehemently. We have a window of 7 days to do that but the action starts now. I thank you all for your support. Please keep the flag flying. No cause for alarm.

OLAYINKA SOKOYA
Good morning learned seniors and friends, I have read the list as sent by ECNBA and shockingly discovered that my name was missing in the list of cleared Aspirants. I equally received a letter of from Ecnba stating the reason for my disqualification subject however to appeal. The ground as stated in the said letter which was sent to my email, is that there was insufficient duration of my seconder as a NEC member. Immediately I saw this I was relieved due to the fact that this ground of disqualification cannot hold with respect to Ecnba. I am aware that my Seconder was the chairman of Osogbo branch between 2017-2019 during which he was a NEC member. My Seconder is equally the current NEC rep of his branch. Consequently I will sporadically appeal the disqualification on this ground. I thank you all for standing by me and for your unfiltered love for me. Let’s us be rest assured that our appeal by the grace of God will succeed. God bless you all.

SABASTINE ANYIA
SINCERE GRATITUDE TO COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS FOR STANDING BY ME
I thank God and you all my dear friends and colleagues for standing by me through your prayers, calls and texts
Let’s be reminded that this is just the first hurdle, we have to work harder to achieve the goal. I urge you to remain committed to this project, it’ll be our victory.
God bless us all.

MERCY IJATO AGADA
It is with gratitude to the Most High that I’ve been cleared to contest by the ECNBA for the position of the NBA National Treasurer come 24/25 July 2020.
I want to use this medium to thank all my supporters for their supports and consistencies all these while.
I want to immensely thank all my supporters for their calls and congratulatory messages and I need your continuous support until we reach the finish line.
Thank you.

CAROLINE IBHARUNEAFE
Dear learned silks, colleagues and friends of my aspiration. I got the news of my disqualification from the NBA election by the screening committee in the midnight . I wish to announce to you all that I will be appealing that verdict as we have Seven days to do so. Please do not despair but remain focused as I rely on God to upturn that judgement. I encourage you all to continue with the publicity as all efforts are at top gear to correct the anormalies
I remain yours

ADEBAYO AKINLADE
Good morning everyone….I have just been cleared to contest for the position of 1st Vice President of the NBA…. I continue to crave the support of everyone here to reach out to your respective Branches and others on my behalf for the realization of our collective vision.

CHARLES AJIBOYE
Revered Seniors and Treasured Friends,
I thank you for the deep show of love I have felt by the tremendous number of calls, text messages and chats I have received since midnight over the absence of my name for the ECNBA Provisional List Of Candidates for NBA Elections 2020.
You will recall that I obtained and duly submitted nomination forms with accompanying documents for the office of *National Assistant Publicity Secretary*.
That you noticed the omission of my name from the list means to me that you care. I feel so honored and humbled by this. I am more encouraged to throw myself to serve the association we all love, and need to shine so brightly.
I was initially not contacted by the committee. They have since apologized for the slip in the typing of my e-mail address, and have duly reached me this morning on the reason for my disqualification viz:
*”Insufficient duration of your seconder’s membership of the branch executive committee as at close of nominations*”
The good news is that my seconder is a very senior member of Bar, and a two-term(4years) member of the executive committee of the NBA Ikeja Branch. So all we need to do is to utilize the opportunity of Appeal to make this clarifications to the ECNBA.
Nothing has changed please. Lets keep the ball rolling. It’s all about #anewnarrative
You know Charles Cares
You know Charles can assist
Be reminded…Charles is still in

NNAMDI RAPHAEL ANAGOR
Revered Colleagues,
I was cleared by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) to contest for the office of the National Financial Secretary of our great Association.
Dearest Colleagues I appreciate your steadfastness and support. You all made this crucial victory at the start a reality.
Learned Colleagues your support and prayers were fruitful. I appreciate them.
This is just the first step in the process. I urge you not to relent until this dream becomes a reality.
Once again I thank you all.

AKOREDE HABEEB LAWAL
Dear learned seniors and friends,
The ECNBA has been kind to promptly inform me of the reasons for my disqualification for the office of National Publicity Secretary in the forthcoming bar elections. I trust the process and I believe in its fairness.
It’s easy to have a rush of emotions about this thing, but I’ll simply take my time to do the needful.
By the way, I’ve still got a job to do in my present role as Assistant National Publicity Secretary of our NBA. And I wish to continue in my role without distraction and with the right and desirable attitude.
I thank you all for your genuine concerns, and I urge you not to lose sight of the ultimate goal.

CHINYERE OBASI
Good morning my dear learned Seniors, colleagues and friends I received with shock a mail from the ECNBA stating reason my name is not on the provisional cleared list along side other names.
The mail also indicated that I have within 7 days to appeal.
ECNBA singular reason for not clearing me is that at the point of nomination, that my NEC Membership is less than 2years.
I will appeal because by virtue of my position as a National officer for two years I should be deemed to be seen as a NEC member for two years.
So I will implore everyone to keep calm until I go through the process of appeal within the stipulated time frame of 7 days.
Thank you for all your support, encouragement and prayers.
I really appreciate
all those that have called to show concerns, I owe you all this explanations and I appreciate you all for the immense support and show of love.
Thank you and thank you.

DR. RAPULU ERNEST NDUKA
Dearest Colleagues.
Yesterday the Electoral Committee cleared me for contest for the office of the Publicity Secretary of our noble Association.
This clearance the first step and very crucial in my bid to serve you is down to your support and prayers.
I could not have gotten this far without your prayers, support and counsel.
This is the first step. It is not yet uhuru. We should not relent till we get to the end of the race.
Once again I say a big thank you!

DR. GERALD ABONYI
Having received information on from ECNBA on the lack of information on my Nominator and Seconder, I am taking necessary steps to rectify same. There is no room for retreat. Thanks for believing in me. Keep the faith.

UCHENNA NWADIALO
Good evening colleagues!
To God be the glory, I have been provisionally cleared by ECNBA to contest for the office of ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY of our great association in the forthcoming NBA NATIONAL elections.
Thank you all for your support.

ANNE AGI
Good afternoon dear colleagues. I am happy to inform you that I have been cleared by the ECNBA to contest for the office of *Assistant Secretary* in the NBA National Elections which comes up next month (July 2020).
Thank you so very much for your support all along and your congratulatory messages. I am honoured and very grateful.
Having been cleared, I need your help to scale through. I respectfully appeal for your support. Please spread the word for me in all your branches. It is with your help that I succeed.
Thank you.

AHMED ALHAJI
Disqualification not the End, I Take It in Good Faith
” _I thank all my supporters near and far. Thank you so much for being here. This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked for, and I’m sorry we did not make it to the election race for the values we share and the vision we hold for our beloved bar.”

OSAGIE OAIKHENA
I am most grateful to God Almighty , for the privilege to be cleared to contest the office of Assistant Secretary of the Bar, and the Chairman of my home branch, Prince C. B Ogiegbean Esq . I thank my nominator, the erudite bencher, Razak Isenalumhe Esquire, my seconder, Mr. Ebosele Okifo, and leaders including Solomon Odiase Esq, Olawyiwola Afolabi Esq, as well as those who have believe in me… I promise not to dissapoint you all, God bless the Nigerian Bar, and may the Bar never be an undergrowth.

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

NBA PRESIDENCY: AJIBADE JOINS THE RACE

  • THROWS SPANNER IN THE WORKS

Leading corporate lawyer, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade has joined the race to succeed Mr. Paul Usoro SAN as Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

The entry of the cerebral lawyer into the already crowded field has thrown spanner in the works, as many consider him a serious contender for the coveted seat. In fact, asked what Ajibade’s chances are to clinch the sought-after seat, a former NBA chieftain told CITY LAWYER that Ajibade is a “potential NBA President.”

Though seemingly a late entrant into the presidential race given that some of the aspirants have been making discreet moves for several months now to push their ambitions, CITY LAWYER gathered at the weekend that Ajibade is not leaving anything to chance in his quest to win the NBA Presidency.

A source close to the NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) Advisor told CITY LAWYER that Ajibade has commenced aggressive consultations to intimate especially Bar Leaders on his ambition. Although a familiar face in the continuing legal education circuit where he is routinely engaged as a facilitator, there are strong indications that the recently concluded International Bar Association (IBA) conference in Seoul, South Korea may have offered Ajibade a platform to sell his candidacy.

To put the matter of his quest beyond debate, CITY LAWYER gathered from unimpeachable sources that the highly successful corporate lawyer has started telephoning and visiting key Bar Leaders to formally intimate them on his ambition. At least two Bar Leaders confirmed to CITY LAWYER that Ajibade spoke to them on his desire to lead the Bar while a former NBA chieftain said that Ajibade contacted him through a proxy.

In line with the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended), the next NBA President will emerge from the South West Zone comprising. According to Article 2.2(b) of the Second Schedule to the amended NBA Constitution dealing with ‘Election of National Officers,’ “The positions of the President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, 3rd Vice President and General Secretary shall rotate among the three zones. In determining the eligibility of a candidate to contest for any of the rotated offices, regard shall be had to a candidate’s Geographical Zone of origin and not the geographical Zone where he/she carries on legal practice.” On the other hand, Article 2.2(e)(iii) lists the States under “Western Zone” as Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo.

Other aspirants who have been touted for the post of NBA President are another leading and successful corporate lawyer, Mr. Olumide Akpata; former presidential candidate and NBA General Secretary, Mr. Dele Adesina SAN and another erstwhile NBA General Secretary, Mr. Olumuyiwa Akinboro SAN.

Ajibade’s entry into the race has substantially altered the political dynamics for the NBA Presidency race. Aside from being a hugely successful corporate lawyer, Ajibade, like Akpata, is also from NBA Lagos Branch which has always had the largest bloc of votes in NBA elections. Though some question his credentials as a “Bar-man,” many view him as highly cerebral, self-effacing and not having any integrity deficit.

Several Bar Leaders who responded to CITY LAWYER enquiries on his candidacy stated that he is not only eminently qualified for the position but must be seen as a serious contender, adding that other aspirants would ignore him at their own political peril.

While Akpata was before now seen as perhaps the ‘anointed candidate’ of NBA House, impeccable sources told CITY LAWYER that his campaign may have suffered some reversals lately. CITY LAWYER reliably gathered that there is a major schism in Akpata’s camp, with speculations that a major power broker and backer may be having a serious rethink on his support for the highly successful corporate lawyer, immediate past Chairman of the NBA-SBL and Co-Chair of the recently concluded NBA Annual General Conference (AGC). Unless the rift which a source close to the power broker described as having “far reaching consequences” is resolved prior to the opening of ballot, it may eclipse a major support base for Akpata.

Like Alegeh, he is also from Edo State. This is seen as perhaps his biggest hurdle. What is more, Article 2.2(d) of the Second Schedule to the NBA Constitution provides that “Where a position is zoned to any particular geographical zone, the position shall be rotated and held in turn by the different groups and/or sections in the geographical zone.” Akpata is seen as having the brightest chance to wrestle the NBA Presidency from the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria who have dominated the post for a long time. A similar potent quest by fiery former NBA General Secretary, Mr. Afam Osigwe was aborted midstream, as he was disqualified by the electoral body. He however blames his ‘political detractors’ for his fate.

Bar watchers told CITY LAWYER at the weekend that unless both Ajibade and Akpata are able to reach an understanding before the elections, they are bound to split their key support base – NBA Lagos Branch – down the middle. Usoro is a member of the branch. Ajibade’s emergence on the scene may have put him in a quandary, even as speculations are rife on whether the NBA President is privy to his quest.

Ajibade’s emergence has also seemingly torpedoed several permutations. A source close to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), Lagos Zone Chairman told CITY LAWYER thus: “You will know that he would not have resolved to run for NBA Presidency without the support of past and present Bar Leaders.”

Some analysts however argue that his entry into the race has only given additional boost to Akpata’s quest, adding that the Bar is set for a repeat of the 2014 NBA presidential race when three core South West candidates ran against former NBA President, Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN. With the three candidates – Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN, Chief Adeniyi Akintola SAN and Mr. Dele Adesina SAN – splitting the South West votes, Alegeh coasted to victory with a total of 691 votes. His runner-up, Adesina, SAN polled 370 votes, Adekoya garnered 255 votes, Akintola received 126 votes while Osas Erhabor brought the rear with 17 votes. The three core South West candidates polled 751 votes, 60 votes more than Alegeh’s.

Some analysts also argue that Ajibade is not a ‘Bar-man,’ adding that his candidacy is not materially different from Akpata’s since they are both successful commercial lawyers from the “Corporate Bloc” of the NBA. But his camp disagrees, saying that his litany of services to the Bar is there for all to see.

The advent of Alegeh has led to a string of successive NBA Presidents emerging from the corporate bloc or ‘big law firms.’ Feelers by CITY LAWYER at the weekend indicate that the face-off between the ‘corporate’ and ‘Bar-men’ blocs will continue and intensify in the forthcoming elections, as the ‘Bar-men’ are desperate to wrest power from their heavy spending corporate counterparts.

A veteran of sorts in the NBA Presidency race, Adesina has his major support base in Ikeja Branch where he held several posts. Ditto for Akinboro who is also a czar of sorts in the Abuja Bar circles. Both are seen as no push-overs in the forthcoming NBA Elections, though some Bar watchers contend that there are a few chinks in their armours which would become apparent as the campaigns heat up.

Ajibade is touted as a go-to lawyer by several international rating agencies including Who is Who Legal, Chambers Global and IFLR 1000. According to a biography by Who is Who Legal, Ajibade is the Managing Partner of SPA Ajibade & Co, a leading corporate and commercial law firm with offices in Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja, Nigeria.

“Babatunde is a dispute resolution specialist and has substantial expertise in international commercial arbitration, especially in the fields of company law, energy law, labour law, hospitality law and investment treaty law. He has acted as counsel in arbitration proceedings involving complicated shareholder disputes arising from alleged breaches of restrictive pre-emptive rights and damages claims arising from alleged breaches of hotel development and management contracts. He has also conducted several ad hoc references and is currently coordinating an investment treaty arbitration claim against a host state. Babatunde also sits as an arbitrator and is currently presiding as sole arbitrator in an international commercial arbitration with its seat in Lagos involving alleged breaches of the terms of an international executive employment contract and as a co-arbitrator in a complicated energy dispute involving crude oil handling, also with its seat in Lagos.

“Babatunde also has extensive experience in all aspects of corporate and commercial litigation. He has prosecuted and defended numerous claims relating to corporate disputes acting on the instructions of shareholders, directors or their companies. He has also prosecuted and defended several claims on behalf of and against banks and insurance companies. He has a firm grasp of the commercial issues involved in such litigation.

“Babatunde also has extensive experience in transactional corporate and commercial legal practice and has been involved in the formation, maintenance and regulation of all types of business entities in Nigeria. He has been involved in the Nigerian capital market as a solicitor in several public offers of securities and in mergers and acquisitions and was the pioneer secretary, vice chairman and is a past chairman of the Capital Market Solicitors Association. He was vice chairman of the rules and regulations sub-committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s capital markets committee, a member of council and vice chairman of the banking, finance and insolvency sub-committee of the Nigerian Bar Association’s section on business law.

“Babatunde is a vice president of the ICC Arbitration Commission’s steering committee, a member of the ICC’s Africa Commission, a director of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC), a member of the LCIA’s African Users Council, a member of the Lagos Court of Arbitration and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) Nigeria branch.

“Babatunde was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1989. He obtained a LLM degree in corporate and commercial law in 1990 and a PhD in private international law in 1996, both from King’s College London. He was elevated to the rank of senior advocate of Nigeria in December 2007. He was awarded the International Practice Fellowship of the International Bar Association in Madrid in October 2009 and he became a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK in January 2015.”

Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Copyright 2018 CITY LAWYER. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.