EXCLUSIVE: CJN’S PEACE DEAL ON BENCHERS’ CRISIS COLLAPSES

  • BODY OF BENCHERS FAILS TO PRESENT OLD LIST

  • ALEGEH TO WITHDRAW DISCONTINUANCE MOTION

A peace deal hammered out by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola between feuding parties in the crisis rocking the elite Body of Benchers has collapsed, CITY LAWYER can report.

Though Justice Ariwoola had inked a peace deal between the parties at a June 24, 2024 meeting held under the auspices of the Elders Committee, the deal has suffered a setback due to non-compliance to its terms.

An impeccable source who is familiar with the meeting told CITY LAWYER that the parties had agreed to dump the controversial appointments made by Body of Benchers Chairman, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN into some of the body’s standing committees.

While the peace deal was to see former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN among others return to their pre-announcement positions, the deal was to have been ratified by the quarterly meeting of the body which held last Thursday.

It was based on the peace deal that Alegeh filed a Notice of Discontinuance of the lawsuit he brought against the body and Awomolo to press for his reinstatement as Chairman of the Appointment Committee.

A source who is close to Alegeh however told CITY LAWYER at the weekend that Alegeh has also resiled from the peace deal, saying that the Body of Benchers leadership failed to fulfill its side of the bargain by presenting the pre-announcement list to the last quarterly general meeting for ratification.

“I can assure you that the deal is off,” he said. “The Notice of Discontinuance will be withdrawn at the next adjourned date and the matter will proceed vigorously.” The matter comes up at the Federal High Court on July 8, 2024.

An impeccable told CITY LAWYER that the appointments by Awomolo were a sour point at the quarterly meeting of the body, leading to feisty exchanges between members and the leadership.

Though former Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uwemedimo Nwoko SAN and his Plateau State counterpart, Mr. Edward Pwajok SAN had sought to press their opposition to Awomolo’s appointments at the quarterly meeting, CITY LAWYER gathered that Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu urged all combatants to sheath their swords in light of Justice Ariwoola’s peace deal.

According to the discontinuance motion obtained by CITY LAWYER, Alegeh is seeking “AN ORDER OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT granting leave to the Plaintiff/Applicant to discontinue this suit.”

Setting out the grounds in support of the motion, Alegeh stated that “The parties have resolved the disputes that necessitated the institution of this Suit,” apparently alluding to the peace deal by the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The motion is dated 25th June, 2024.

In an 8-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion, one Kelechi Onwuegbuchulem stated that “On the 24th of June, 2024, the Plaintiff/Applicant informed me over the phone as follows:

(a)“That a resolution meeting was held between the parties and elders of the Profession.

(b)“It was resolved and agreed that the List of members and chairmen of various committees of the Body of Benchers contained in the Secretary of Body of Bencher’s letter dated 16th April, 2024 forwarded to the 1st Defendant herein, is the approved List of members and chairmen of various committees of the Body of Benchers. Letter dated 16th April, 2024 is marked and exhibited as EXHIBIT 1.

(c)“That the List of members and chairmen of various committees of the Body of Benchers contained in the Letter of 16th April, 2024 shall be presented at the general Meeting of the Body of Benchers on 27th of June, 2024 for ratification.

(d)“That in the event of failure of the Defendants to implement the resolution reached, the Plaintiff reserves the right to file action in respect of same.”

Alegeh had on 24th May, 2024 commenced an action against Awomolo and the Body of Benchers seeking to upturn his removal as the Chairman of the Benchers Committee.

Following the latest development, it remains unclear how the crisis will be resolved.

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‘WE COMPLETED NBA HQ WITHOUT TASKING LAWYERS,’ SAYS AFAM OSIGWE

We Completed and Commissioned the NBA Secretariat Without Borrowing or Tasking Lawyers: Afam Osigwe, SAN, Assures Lawyers in Enugu of Prudence with NBA Funds

At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association, Enugu Branch, Afam Osigwe, SAN, delivered an inspiring message that resonated deeply with all members present. He assured members that, if elected President of the Nigerian Bar Association, he would ensure the prudential use of NBA funds, drawing from his extensive experience and proven track record of financial stewardship.

Afam Osigwe, SAN, highlighted a significant achievement during his tenure as General Secretary under the Augustine Alegeh Administration: the completion of the NBA National Secretariat. This monumental project was completed and commissioned without resorting to borrowing or imposing levies on lawyers. This accomplishment stands as a testament to the careful planning, resourceful execution, and unwavering commitment to financial prudence that characterized their administration.

During his address, Afam Osigwe, SAN, emphasized his commitment to the careful and responsible management of NBA funds. He assured members that, with his knowledge and understanding of the secretariat’s operations, every part of the NBA National Secretariat would be utilized effectively to generate income for lawyers and support the association’s activities. His vision includes leveraging the secretariat’s potential to create additional revenue streams, thereby reducing the financial burden on members and ensuring the association’s sustainability.

Afam Osigwe, SAN, articulated a clear and compelling vision for the future of the Nigerian Bar Association. His focus is on transparency, accountability, and the judicious use of resources to benefit all members. By optimizing the use of the NBA National Secretariat and other assets, he aims to create a financially robust association that can provide greater support and opportunities for its members.

The successful completion of the NBA National Secretariat without financial strain on members is a model of what can be achieved through prudent management and strategic planning. Afam Osigwe, SAN, is committed to building on this strong foundation, ensuring that the association remains financially healthy and capable of meeting the needs of its members.

He called on all members of the Nigerian Bar Association to support his vision and join him in working towards a brighter future for the association. His promise of prudential use of funds is not just a commitment but a proven capability, as demonstrated by his past achievements.

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AFAM OSIGWE UNVEILS CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP

NEWS RELEASE

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN: COMMITMENT TO CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION

The importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in the legal profession cannot be overemphasized. It is a key pathway to success in the legal field. This is one of the many plans dear to the heart of Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN, as outlined in the Proactive Bar Manifesto.

A vote for Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN, on the 20th of July, 2024, guarantees that he will:

  • Advocate for employers to have a CPD plan for lawyers in their employment.
  • Set qualifications and license service providers for CPD programs.
  • Review and evaluate all CPD programs to meet current realities and enhance practice in the legal space.
  • Create rules to regulate CPD.
  • Institutionalize and reform the NBA Journal.
  • Ensure mandatory acquisition of ICT skills for lawyers to enhance productivity and growth in legal practice.

To access the Proactive Bar Manifesto, visit www.afamosigwe.bar

Vote for MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN as President of the Nigerian Bar Association.

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NBA-ICLE, KADUNA BRANCH, MINING LAW EXPERTS FACILITATE TRAINING FOR LAWYERS

NEWS RELEASE

Leading Mining Law Experts Akper and Muritala Facilitate NBA-ICLE/NBA Kaduna Branch Training on Mining Law

The Nigerian Bar Association, Kaduna Branch, in collaboration with the Institute of Continuing Legal Education of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA-ICLE), recently hosted a successful intensive training on mining law and practice. The event, held at the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation in Kaduna, attracted over 300 participants from various NBA branches across the country.

The training featured two renowned experts in the field. Prof. Peter Terkaa Akper, PhD, SAN, OFR, a leading authority on mining law in Nigeria, served as the lead facilitator. Prof. Akper’s presentation delved into the intricacies and current trends in mining law, providing attendees with valuable insights and practical knowledge on critical aspects of mining regulations and legal frameworks in Nigeria.

Complementing Prof. Akper’s session, Olatunji Muritala, a partner at The LawCrest LLP, facilitated a focused discussion on mining contract clauses. Muritala offered participants a comprehensive understanding of essential clauses in mining contracts, complete with detailed explanations and sample clauses demonstrating effective drafting techniques.

The training, organised under the leadership of Tobenna Erojikwe, Chairman of the NBA-ICLE, aimed to address a growing need within the legal profession, particularly in Northern Nigeria. Tobenna Erojikwe explained the rationale behind the training: “We had seen a significant upsurge in commercial mining activities around northern Nigeria, and the companies that undertake these activities require lawyers who understand the industry to advise them, but the capacity to deliver is lacking, thus forcing the clients to seek legal advice elsewhere. This training was done to equip participating lawyers with the necessary knowledge and skills to advise on and handle mining and mining law matters.”

Expressing his gratitude, Tobenna Erojikwe thanked the facilitators and participants, stating, “I am grateful to the facilitators, Prof. Peter Terkaa Akper, PhD, SAN, OFR, and Olatunji Muritala, a partner in my law firm who took time out to conduct this training, the participants who stayed from the beginning to the end of the training, and to the Nigerian Bar Association, Kaduna Branch, ably led by Godwin Ochai, and Law Week Planning Committee Baba Lawal Aliyu, FCIArb (UK).”

Baba Lawal Aliyu, FCIArb, in his closing remarks, thanked the NBA-ICLE for organising the event and expressed appreciation to the facilitators for their well-presented sessions and to the participants for their engagement and dedication.

The training received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, with many describing it as “deep, an eye-opener into a new area of the law” and “great training; kudos to ICLE and Tobenna Erojikwe for bringing it to us in Northern Nigeria.”

This successful event underscores the NBA-ICLE’s commitment to providing relevant and high-quality continuing legal education, particularly in emerging areas of practice such as mining law. It also highlights the importance of tailoring such training to meet the specific needs of different regions across Nigeria.

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NBA FIRST VP CANDIDATE SABASTINE ANYIA HAILS NEW BRANCH CHAIRMEN

NEWS RELEASE

SABASTINE ANYIA, CANDIDATE FOR THE OFFICE OF NBA FIRST VICE PRESIDENT CONGRATULATES THE NEWLY ELECTED CHAIRMEN OF NBA AGUATA, ENUGU, ABAKALIKI, ETI OSA, ABA, KADUNA, BARNAWA, MAIDUGURI, IKOM, OGOJA, PORT – HARCOURT, IKEJA, JOS, OWERRI, LAFIA, NNEWI AND THEIR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES FOR EMERGING VICTORIOUS IN THEIR VARIOUS BRANCH ELECTIONS.

Sabastine Anyia, the candidate for the office of NBA First Vice President has congratulated the brand new Chairmen and their Executive Committees led by the various Chairmen who were overwhelmingly elected by their branch members in peaceful and transparent elections.

Distinguished Chairmen, getting to this stage was not easy but the good Lord kept you strong and committed to your dreams and aspirations. I’m happy that your branch members found you worthy to lead them at this critical time in our nation where lawyers and other Nigerian citizens are passing through excruciating hardships.

The good people of your various branches spoke with one voice because of your track records. Extend an olive branch to your opponent, if possible make him part of your administration. It’s my prayer that the good Lord will grant you the grace to pilot the affairs of your various branches with wisdom like that of Solomon.

Be courageous, the Lord will see you and your executive committee through. I wish you a rewarding tenure.

I urge you to use this opportunity given to you by your people to write your name in gold.

Sabastine Anyia Esq.
Former Chairman of NBA Aguata Branch and former Chairman of Chairmen and Secretaries of the Eight branches of NBA in Anambra state.

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SOLAR4ALL: HON. MUIZUDEEN ABDULLAHI SAN (ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF KOGI STATE) IS OUR “STAR CLIENT OF THE WEEK”

FEATURED

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Hon. Muizudeen SAN is an astute Lawyer of outstanding repute and a huge inspiration to many.

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He is an embodiment of goodness and intellectualism; a great son of a great Islamic Scholar in EgbiraLand, late Honourable Justice Younus Abdullahi, who was the first Grand Kadi of Kogi State.

His astounding depth of knowledge on jurisprudence, his thoroughness as a legal practitioner par excellence and his steadfastness as an Islamic Scholar are virtues that are worthy of emulation.

The Solar System ensures steady Power and at least 50% saving in the cost of power, such that within about two years of usage, Learned Silk would have recovered his cost of installation 100%.

Other beneficiaries from whom the efficiency of delivery can be verified include: Chief James Ogu Onoja SAN (Ofante Kogi State); Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye [the Soun of Ogbomoso]; Mrs. Ezinwa Nwanyieze Okoroafor Esq.; Dr. Chike Okogwu; Mr. Stephen Arubuike Esq. of G. Elias SAN &Co; Chief Solomon Umoh SAN; Alhj. Ohio Abdullahi; Amb. Gen. Tukur Burutai (COAS Rtd); Chief S. I. Ameh SAN; Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani Esq; Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN; Sir Ebun Olu Adegboruwa SAN; Dr. Anthony Ani (Federal Medical Center Cooperatives); Mr. Lawrence Nwaketi; Mrs. Amina Agbaje Esq (FIDA Nigeria CVP); Prof. Dr. Olusola Oke (UNILAG COLLEGE OF MEDICINE); Dr. Muiz Banire SAN; Chief Jude Onwuharonye Esq.; High Chief Emeka J-P Obegolu SAN; Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN; Chief J-K Gadzama SAN; Hon. Justice George Oguntade (Justice of the Supreme Court Rtd); Sir James Ononiwu (NBA Ikeja); Chief Ejiofor Onwuaso (Otu Oka-Iwu Abuja); Hon. Sir. Ebuka Igwe (Anambra State House of Assembly); Prince Adetosoye Adebiyi Esq.; Mr. Paul Daudu Esq (J.B Daudu SAN & Co); Mr. Benedict Daudu Esq; Chief Peter Ilegogie Esq; Aare Muyiwa Akinboro SAN; Aare Isiaka Olagunju SAN; Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN (SPA Ajibade SAN & Co); FIDA Nigeria (FIDA House Abuja); Prince Adetokunbo Kayode SAN; Dr. Mrs. Ayorinde (Ayorinde SAN & Co); Mrs. Mariam Agbaboka; Barr. Mrs. Rachel Ebun Akerele; Mr. Anthony Malik SAN; Chief Tawo E. Tawo SAN; Chief Kemi Pinheiro SAN; Mr. I. M. Dikko SAN (Liman, Liman SAN & Co); Hon. Justice Emeka Nriezedi (Anambra State Judiciary); Dr. Hassan Liman SAN; Chief J. U. K. Igwe SAN; Mr. Chike Ekeocha, Esq. (Alex Izinyon SAN & Co/SUEX Nig. Ltd); Mummy Sylvia Okoregbe Esq; John Ochogwu, Esq; Hon. Rodrich Ugwu Esq; Prof. Godson Ogbonna (Abia State University, Uturu); Sir Austin Mwana Esq; Mr. Thony Lyiod Onyemaizu Esq; Dr. Agada Elachi Esq; Mr. Zach Akubo (S. I. Ameh SAN & Co); Mr. Ime Edem-nse Esq; Mr. Edafe Mrakpor Esq. (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development); Ebedebiri Cottage Hospital, Sagbama LGA, Bayelsa State; Federal College of Education, Warri; Nigerian Agricultural Seeds Council; Institute Of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators of Nigeria (ICMC); Chief R. N. Okeke and Sons Ltd, Wukari, Taraba State; Alhaji Abdulrahman Adamu (Trademoore Estate), among many others.

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  • The views expressed in this featured report are entirely those of the author.

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‘YOUR ELECTION IS INSPIRATION TO WOMEN LAWYERS,’ AFAM OSIGWE TELLS CORDELIA EKE

NEWS RELEASE

YOUR ELECTION IS AN INSPIRATION TO COUNTLESS WOMEN: AFAM OSIGWE, SAN, HAILS MRS. CORDELIA EKE ON HER ELECTION AS THE FIRST FEMALE CHAIRMAN OF NBA PORT HARCOURT

I congratulate Mrs. Cordelia Eke on her historic election as the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Port Harcourt Branch. This milestone is particularly significant as she is the first female to hold this esteemed position, making her achievement not only a personal triumph but also a landmark moment for the entire legal community. I also wish to congratulate all the newly elected officials on their well-deserved victories. Your election to these prestigious roles is a testament to your dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to the legal profession.

Mrs. Cordelia’s ascension to the position of Chairman is a reflection of her exceptional leadership, professional acumen, and passion for justice. Her outstanding contributions to the legal community have earned her this significant role, and her vision and dedication will undoubtedly guide the NBA Port Harcourt Branch to new heights. Her leadership marks a new era, inspiring countless women in the legal field and beyond, proving that with determination and perseverance, the highest goals can be achieved.

To the newly elected officials, your election to the executive council is a recognition of your expertise, dedication, and the trust your peers have placed in you. Each of you brings a unique set of skills and perspectives that will be invaluable in steering the branch toward a future of growth and success. Together, as a cohesive and dynamic team, you are well-positioned to tackle the challenges ahead and seize opportunities to advance the interests of the legal community.

Your collective leadership will be crucial in fostering unity among members, advocating for justice, and upholding the rule of law. The responsibilities you now bear are immense, but I have every confidence in your ability to lead with distinction and effect positive change. Your commitment to the values of hard work, integrity, and excellence will inspire many, particularly young lawyers who look up to you as role models.

As you embark on this new chapter, I wish you all the very best in your endeavors. May your tenure be marked by significant milestones, fruitful collaborations, and transformative initiatives that will leave a lasting legacy on the legal landscape of Port Harcourt and beyond. Your success will undoubtedly contribute to the continued advancement and strength of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Warm regards,
Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE VOWS TO CONVERT NBA HQ TO OFFICES FOR LAWYERS

NEWS RELEASE

NBA Presidential Candidate, Tobenna Erojikwe Pledges to Convert Two Floors of NBA Headquarters into Free Coworking Spaces for Lawyers

In a bold move that could reshape the landscape of legal practice in Nigeria, Tobenna Erojikwe, the leading candidate for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidency, has unveiled plans to transform unutilized space in the NBA Secretariat in Abuja into free, modern workstations for lawyers.

Tobenna Erojikwe’s proposal aims to address a long-standing issue within the legal community: the lack of access to suitable office facilities for many practitioners. “The NBA has two buildings within the FCT, with most of the lettable space remaining unoccupied for several years, yet most lawyers lack access to befitting workstations with serviceable office equipment and facilities,” Erojikwe stated.

The presidential hopeful’s plan involves converting at least two floors within the NBA Secretariat into fully equipped, functional workstations. These facilities would be available at no cost to lawyers from within and outside the jurisdiction, potentially revolutionising how many legal professionals conduct their day-to-day operations.

This initiative could have far-reaching implications for the Nigerian legal community. By providing free access to modern office facilities, the NBA would be directly supporting its members, particularly those in the early stages of their careers or facing financial constraints. This move could level the playing field, allowing more lawyers to compete effectively in an increasingly demanding professional environment.

Moreover, the proposed workstations could foster collaboration and networking among lawyers, creating a vibrant community within the NBA Secretariat. This could lead to knowledge sharing, mentorship opportunities, and potentially new partnerships.

From an economic perspective, the initiative could result in significant cost savings for individual lawyers and small practices. The expenses associated with renting and equipping an office space often represent a substantial financial burden. By eliminating these costs, lawyers could redirect their resources towards other aspects of their practice, such as professional development or expanding their client base.

Erojikwe’s proposal aligns with his campaign slogan, “Leave No Lawyer Behind,” emphasising his commitment to supporting all members of the legal profession, regardless of their financial standing or career stage. “This, for me, is one way that our association can put its resources to good use for the benefit of its members, who deserve such support for their practice,” he explained.

When implemented, this initiative would set a new standard for how professional associations support their members. It demonstrates a proactive approach to utilising available resources for the direct benefit of NBA members, potentially increasing the perceived value of NBA membership.

As the NBA presidential election approaches, Tobenna Erojikwe’s proposal has certainly caught the attention of the legal community. It remains to be seen how this bold plan will influence voters, but it has undoubtedly sparked a conversation about the role of the NBA in supporting its members’ professional needs.

The success of such an initiative would depend on various factors, but when realised, it would mark a significant step towards a more inclusive and supportive environment for legal practitioners in Nigeria.

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AFAM OSIGWE UNVEILS WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN

NEWS RELEASE

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN: COMMITMENT TO ENHANCING MEMBERS’ WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT

The welfare of members of our dear Association is a crucial part of the Proactive Bar manifesto of Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN. A vote for Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN on the 20th of July, 2024, guarantees:

  • The creation of an Endowment Fund for Legal Education.
  • ⁠Ensuring Total Compliance with the Legal Practitioners Remuneration Order, 2023.
  • Ensuring and Enforcing the Protection of the Legal Industry in Nigeria.
  • The establishment of a Human Rights Attorney Support Network that acts as a rapid response team to protect the rights of lawyers when threatened or violated.
  • Setting up structures that will aid the Continuing Professional Development of Lawyers.
  • The Creation of Branch Welfare Fund strictly for the welfare of members.
  • Prioritizing the Needs of Our Colleagues Living with Disabilities and Senior Citizens.
  • Enhancing Inclusivity Within the Court System for colleagues living with disabilities.

To access the Proactive Bar manifesto, visit: www.afamosigwe.bar.

Vote for MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN, as President of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN – Mazi Afam Osigwe

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ALLEGED ABUSE: ECNBA QUERIES AJIBOYE OVER BRIDGET EDOKWE, NAZA’S PETITIONS

  • ‘DISQUALIFY HIM IF ….,’ SAYS NAZA

  • ORDER HIM TO RETRACT EMAIL – EDOKWE

  • ‘MY HANDS ARE CLEAN’ – AJIBOYE

The Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) has queried incumbent NBA Assistant Publicity Secretary, Mr. Charles Ajiboye over allegations of deploying official assets to bolster his electoral fortunes in the forthcoming NBA Election.

In petitions obtained by CITY LAWYER, prominent blogger Bridget Edokwe and Ajiboye’s predecessor-in-office Ferdinand Naza accused Ajiboye of abuse of office aimed at conferring unfair advantage to himself at the poll. 

They asked the electoral umpire to investigate the allegations and sanction Ajiboye if found culpable. The trio are gunning for the position of NBA Publicity Secretary.

Ajiboye has however denied the allegations, describing their petitions as petty and baseless.

Edokwe asked the electoral committee to “order Mr. Charles Ajiboye to stop forthwith from using any NBA official website, Channels and platforms to publish and distribute his name, picture or any offer whatsoever during the pendency of his candidature.”

She also urged the ECNBA to “order Mr. Charles Ajiboye to withdraw the unfair offer of advantage of being volunteers for NBA AGC 2024 he made to young lawyers with the aim of influencing them to support him in his National Publicity Secretary election bid.

“It is my further appeal that his withdrawal of the offer be made through the same official channels that he used to publish the offer.”

Dated June 18, 2024 and received by ECNBA the next day, Edokwe accused Ajiboye in the petition of promotion and publication of his image and name through NBA official websites and channels with the aim of getting undue publicity.

She also accused the NBA Assistant Publicity Secretary of harvesting young lawyers’ data, including their SCN Number, through official NBA platforms with the aim of influencing them for his election.

In his petition dated 19th June, 2024 and titled “A CASE OF MISUSE OF NBA EMAIL PLATFORM FOR CAMPAIGNING AGAINST MR. CHARLES AJIBOYE,” Naza alleged that “On 18th day of June, 2024, Mr. Ajiboye used the NBA’s official email platform to disseminate campaign materials. This behavior represents a clear breach of ethical standards and electoral guidelines, providing him with an unfair advantage that is not available to other candidates.”

He stated that “The use of official NBA communication channels for personal campaigning is likely in violation of the NBA’s electoral guidelines, which are established to ensure a fair and impartial electoral process.”

Urging the electoral umpire to investigate the allegations, the former NBA publicist also asked the ECNBA to “Impose appropriate disciplinary measures against Mr. Ajiboye if he is found guilty of the alleged misconduct. These measures may include disqualification from the current electoral race and other sanctions deemed appropriate by the committee.”

In a rebuttal made available to CITY LAWYER and addressed to the ECNBA, Ajiboye questioned the motivation behind his opponents’ allegations, saying both petitions were misleading and devoid of any fact or evidence.

He stated that Naza’s petition lacked any documentary support that would necessitate a rebuttal, adding that Edokwe’s petition was a distortion of facts.

Ajiboye stated that he has never used NBA’s official platforms to promote his candidacy, did not harvest the data of young lawyers, and never enjoyed any undue advantage to influence the forthcoming election.

He stated that the actions complained of are perfectly in line with his constitutional duties, adding that while the current Publicity Team has deployed an email system which automatically includes the sender’s picture and name to foster a personal connection with members of the NBA, he does not have direct access to members’ data or the NBA’s Twitter handle.

His words: “It is strange and laughable that I can be persecuted for promoting the activities of NBA fora, sections, and committees by people who want to be Publicity Secretary.

“It is impossible for me to become inefficient simply because it scares anyone. I’m committed to Nigerian lawyers and I will perform in accordance to the oath of office I took to my last day in office.”

The ECNBA is yet to decide on the petitions.

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NBA PORT HARCOURT: CORDELIA EKE MAKES HISTORY AGAIN AS FIRST FEMALE CHAIR

Fiery Bar Leader, Mrs. Cordelia Eke has emerged as the pioneer female Chairman of the influential Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch.

Eke defeated Madam Felicia Nwoke and returnee contestant, Mr. Geoffrey Joseph to clinch the coveted prize.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Eke was also the pioneer female Secretary of the branch.

In a titanic electoral face-off which pitched the Integrity Group which had held power in the branch for years against the Progressives, dubbed the new-kid-on-the-block which vowed to “return power to the people,” Eke polled 255 votes to defeat Nwoke, her closest rival, who polled 220 votes.

While Eke was backed by the Progressives, Nwoke was sponsored by the Integrity Group which had remained invincible until yesterday’s poll. Joseph placed a distant third, polling 74 votes.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages have started rolling in for the new chairman. Firing the first salvo, the International Federation of Women Branch (FIDA) Nigeria, Rivers State Branch in a statement signed by its Chairperson, Lady Adata Bio-Briggs, wrote: “The entire Executive Committee and members of International Federation of Women Branch (FIDA) Nigeria, Rivers State Branch congratulates her member, Mrs. Cordelia U. Eke as she emerges as the first female Chairman of NBA Port Harcourt Branch 2024 – 2026.

“We at FIDA Rivers are proud to see one of our own emerge. We celebrate your achievement and declare that your tenure will be marked by wisdom, courage and progress.

“Congratulations once again.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that NBA Port Harcourt Branch recently honoured Eke with an “Award of dedicated service” in recognition of her “dedicated service to the branch at the National level.”

Eke has held several sensitive positions at both branch and national levels including Secretary of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) and also Secretary of the NBA Electoral Reform Committee (NBAERC).

Currently a Director in the Rivers State Ministry of Justice where she holds sway as a no-nonsense criminal trial prosecutor, Eke has been actively engaged in mediation, civil and criminal litigation at the high court, Appeal court, and the Supreme court for over 20 years.

She is also the President of the influential 1995 Law School Class. A Rivers State Representative in the Eastern Zone Management Committee of the NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Eke holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (now Rivers State University), Port Harcourt, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Public International Law, from the University of Kent, Canterbury in the United Kingdom.

More recently, the respected Bar Leader was named among Africa’s Top 100 Female Lawyers during the unveiling of this year’s “Courtroom Mail 100 Women 2024.”

A citation by the organisers noted that Eke is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators ICMC Nigeria, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria. She specializes in Criminal Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Eke has held several leadership positions in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), African Bar Association (AFBA), African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) Nigeria, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria and the Law Officers Association of Nigeria (LOAN) at state and national levels, including being Council Member of the NBA Human Rights Institute and the National Executive Committee. She is presently a member of the NBA National Remuneration Committee.

The popular Bar Leader is acclaimed as an ace prosecutor and has also held down several roles at the Ministry of justice, including, being the Team Lead, Committee on Drafting of Prosecution Manual and Code of Conduct for Prosecutors and Team Lead, Attorney-General’s Special Committee which treated abandoned case files of over 350 awaiting trial inmates in the Federal prisons in Rivers State.

Her expertise in criminal law practice made her a much-sought-after Speaker, Trainer, and Resource person on legal and other subjects. She has presented papers to members of the Bench and the Bar among others at various seminars, workshops and conferences including the NBA Annual General Conferences and NBA Continuing Legal Education (NBA-CLE) programmes among others.

Reputed as a cerebral lawyer, Eke is the author of the fast-selling book, CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN NIGERIA: A PRACTICAL GUIDE. She has also published articles and edited legal works and newsletters.

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE X-RAYS FUTURE OF LAW AT NBA KADUNA LAW WEEK

NEWS RELEASE

Paradigm Shift Urged as Tobenna Erojikwe Delivers Compelling Keynote Address on the Future of Law Practice at NBA Kaduna Law Week

In a compelling session, Chairman of the Governing Board of the NBA-ICLE and leading NBA Presidential Candidate, Tobenna Erojikwe, delivered a thought-provoking keynote speech at the Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) Kaduna Branch’s Law Week. Speaking on the theme “Rethinking Legal Practice in Today’s World,” Erojikwe challenged the status quo and called for a fundamental reimagining of the legal profession in Nigeria.

The event, which drew attendees from across the state and beyond, provided a platform for critical discourse on the future of legal practice in the country. Erojikwe’s address touched on several key areas, including the need for mindset reorientation, structural reforms, and the impact of globalisation and technology on the profession.

Opening his remarks, Erojikwe congratulated the Kaduna Branch on organising the Law Week, commending their choice of topic as particularly timely. “A change of orientation and attitude is critical to creating the foundations for any new ideology,” he stated, setting the tone for his address. “We must interrogate the current state of play and then seek to redefine our ethos and our world view corporately as a profession and then as individuals.”

The speaker emphasised the significance of the word “rethinking” in the event’s theme, suggesting that it points to a pressing need for a new ideology, philosophy, approach, and orientation within the legal profession. He posed a challenging question to the audience: “Fundamentally, we must consider whether we live up to the standards that we set for ourselves and the expectations of society.”

Erojikwe delved into the core of the legal profession’s identity, reminding attendees of their motto: the promotion of the rule of law. He urged his colleagues to reflect deeply on whether they are still living up to this billing, stating, “It is critical that we reflect on this particular issue because it is at the core of who we are.”

The keynote address outlined four main areas for consideration in the rethinking process: philosophical and ideological perspectives, structural and administrative frameworks, institutional frameworks for career advancement, and the role of individual lawyers.

Erojikwe didn’t shy away from addressing the challenges facing the profession. He painted a sobering picture of the current state of legal practice in Nigeria, highlighting issues such as:

1. The predominance of litigation-based practice
2. The financial struggles faced by many lawyers
3. Challenges posed by globalisation and liberalisation
4. The impact of rapidly advancing technology on legal services

The speaker also touched on concerns regarding judicial appointments and the overall governance of the profession. He posed a poignant question to his colleagues: “For a profession that has been invested in enormously, how have we fared?”

Erojikwe’s call for mindset reorientation resonated strongly with the audience. He argued that this shift in thinking should be the first and most crucial step in rethinking legal practice. “The first and most important rethink, I think, must be a mindset reorientation,” he asserted.

The address was not merely a critique of the current state of affairs but also a rallying cry for positive change. Erojikwe emphasised the need for the legal profession to adapt to the changing global landscape, embrace technology, and find innovative ways to overcome financial challenges.

The NBA Kaduna Law Week has set a new benchmark for professional discourse in the Nigerian legal community. With its thought-provoking theme and Erojikwe’s challenging keynote address, the event has ignited a crucial conversation about the future of legal practice in the country.

As the legal profession in Nigeria stands at this crossroads, the ideas shared at this event may well shape the direction of legal practice for years to come. The call for rethinking and reimagining has been made; now, it falls to the members of the profession to take up this challenge and forge a new path forward.

Erojikwe’s comprehensive address covered various aspects of the legal profession, from its philosophical underpinnings to the practical challenges faced by practitioners. He stressed the importance of a holistic approach to reform, stating, “We will consider the theme of Law Week from a philosophical and ideological perspective because that is at the very base of who we are as a group of people.”

The speaker also highlighted the need for introspection and self-assessment within the profession. He urged his colleagues to critically examine their role and impact, asking, “Have we lived up to the standard that we have set for ourselves as a profession?”

Throughout his address, Erojikwe emphasised the interconnected nature of the challenges facing the legal profession in Nigeria. He argued that addressing these issues would require a coordinated effort, touching on structural, governance, and administrative frameworks as well as institutional frameworks for career advancement and progression.

The Law Week event, with its focus on rethinking legal practice, has sparked a broader conversation within the Nigerian legal community about the future of the profession. As practitioners grapple with the ideas presented by Erojikwe, there is a growing recognition of the need for innovation and adaptation in the face of global changes and technological advancements.

As the event concluded, there was a sense that the Nigerian legal profession stood at a crucial juncture. The challenges outlined by Erojikwe are significant, but so are the opportunities for positive change and growth. The coming months and years will likely see continued debate and discussion as the profession seeks to redefine itself for the modern era.

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GADZAMA BAGS “LEGISLATIVE LEGAL PACESETTER OF THE YEAR AWARD”

NEWS RELEASE

CHIEF GADZAMA, SAN DELIVERS GUEST LECTURE AT THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY/BOOK LAUNCH OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY NEWS PUBLICATIONS, BAGS “LEGISLATIVE LEGAL PACESETTER OF THE YEAR AWARD”

On Wednesday, June 26, 2024 the Eminent Silk, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN delivered a Guest Lecture at the Legislative Assembly News One Year Anniversary Event which held at the National Assembly Complex Abuja.

The Anniversary Event which harboured a Book Launch and an Award Night as well had in attendance a number of Legislators, Royal Fathers and many stakeholders was Chaired by Hon. Suleiman Abubakar Gummi, the House of Representatives Member representing Gummi/Bukkuyum Federal Constituency and Chairs the House Committee on Climate Change and Environment. It had in attendance Hon. Prince Lateef Olaide Mohammed (representing Irepo/Orelope/Olorunsogo Federal Constituency of Oyo State), Hon. Joshua Gana ( representing Lavun/Mokwa/Edati Federal Constituency of Niger State, Senator Ned Munir Nwoko (ably represented by his Chief of Staff), Hon. Prince Odianosen Okojie (represented by his Personal Assistant), HRH Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa, the Ona of Abaji and Chairman FCT Traditional Council (ably represented), Success Obioma, Esq. Dr. Akin Oluwale Oluwadayisi, the book reviewer and many others.

The Learned Silk delivered his Guest Lecture on the theme, “Commemorating Milestones for Effective legislation in Nation Building”.

While delivering his Lecture, the renowned Silk noted that the essence of law making is nation building. He further stated that effective legislation plays a crucial role in providing the legal framework for good governance, economic development, and social progress.

He then highlighted some of the milestones achieved so far by the National Assembly ranging from constitutional development, tackling security and criminal justice challenges, social and civic development, and economic development through legislations such as the Electoral Act 2022, Freedom of Information Act 2011, The Electricity Act Amendment Act of 2024, Nigeria Startup Act 2022, Nigerian Data Protection Act 2023 and
Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act 2024.

Indeed it was an insightful lecture in the light of current realities in Nigeria. The Learned Silk ended his speech by eloquently describing the Nigeria of his dreams.

I dream of a Nigeria with purposeful, visionary, and exemplary leadership which extols national interests above the individual and sectional interests. I dream of a day Nigerians will have leaders that are unifying figures and who command moral authority;
I dream of a Nigeria with free, fair, transparent, and credible national elections;
I dream of a Nigeria where humanity is our race, our language is one and indigenship is true to all citizens regardless of residency in any State. I dream of a Nigeria where unity binds all peoples both at home and in the diaspora;

I dream of a Nigeria where a nobody can become somebody and somebody is treated as equal with someone regarded as a nobody in the eyes of the law – where the rule of law is worshipped and the sacredness of justice is not corrupted. I dream of a Nigeria where equity, fairness, transparency, and justice thrive above all intents and aspirations of persons;
I dream of a Nigeria inspiring the African continent and the black race to her pride of place in the world;
I dream of a Nigeria where the Legal Profession and the Bar play a pivotal role in nation-building since we are the primus inter pares;
I dream, I dream and I dream of a better Nigeria where everyone mutually co-exists and lives peacefully with a wide range of opportunities to thrive and succeed in any lawful profession, trade or vocation anywhere he or she resides. I dream of a brighter future for our children and children’s children. I pray that all Nigerians work to make these dreams come to pass in the not too distant future.

The distinguished legal luminary, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN was also meritoriously honoured with an award of Legislative Legal Pacesetter of the Year 2024 by the Legislative Assembly News for his immense contribution to the legislative process of our dear nation.

Other Awardees included the Chairman of the Event, a number of Legislators and industry players. It was indeed a colourful event.

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GADZAMA WINS THOMAS SANKARA PAN AFRICAN LEADERSHIP PRIZE

NEWS RELEASE

CHIEF JOE-KYARI GADZAMA SAN HONOURED WITH THE THOMAS SANKARA PAN AFRICAN LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE AWARD BY THE YOUTH PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT (YOUPAD)

The distinguished legal luminary, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN, is the latest recipient of the Thomas Sankara Leadership Prize for Excellence, an award of commendation reserved for great Africans whose lives exemplify true leadership, excellence and commitment to Pan Africanism.

He was meritoriously honoured with the award on Tuesday, 25th June 2024, by the Youth Partnership for Africa’s Development (YOUPAD), a Pan African Youth League and umbrella body for all students and youth organizations across Africa.

From a pool of Africans, the erudite Learned Silk was selected for this recognition due to his dignified status as a selfless leader and prominent African dedicated to service to God, Humanity and Country which is in line with the Thomas Sankara Ideology.

The conferment of the award which took place in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, was graced by esteemed individuals, including the Executive Committee members of YOUPAD from Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Rwanda, and the staff of J-K Gadzama LLP.

The President of YOUPAD, Amb. Nwankwo Henry Nkem, who is the second Nigerian to head the Organization after the late former Governor and Minister, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, in his Keynote Address, lauded the erudite Learned Silk as possessing several unique qualities which are worthy of emulation. He outlined these qualities using the letters of the Learned Silk’s name, thus:
JOE = J – Just , O – Outstanding , E – Exceptional; KYARI = K – Kind , Y – Young At Heart , A – Amiable , R – Reliable , I – Intelligent; GADZAMA = G – Giver , A – Astute , D – Dedicated , Z – Zealous , A – Accountable , M – Magnanimous , A – Articulate.

The Secretary General of YOUPAD, Amb. Paul Kwabena also decorated the Learned Silk with a medal and presented him with commemorative plaques, symbolizing the conferment of the laudable award.

He emphasized that the recognition is a testament to Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama’s hardwork, integrity, transparency and tireless contribution to nation building.

In addition to the plaque and medal, Gadzama, SAN was also presented with a certificate inducting him into the Thomas Sankara Selfless Leadership Hall of Fame. The certificate according to the YOUPAD team will be on display at the Organization’s Hall of Fame Building in Accra, Ghana.

Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN appreciated the leadership of YOUPAD for the recognition and reiterated that he will, as always, remain committed to selfless leadership, nation building, mentorship of the younger generation and promotion of Pan-Africanism.

It was indeed an epoch-making ceremony of conferring honour on a man of honour!

Congratulations, Learned Silk! and more feathers to your cap.

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CIARB NIGERIA ANNUAL CONFAB REGISTRATION STARTS JULY 1

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Nigeria Annual Conference is a marquee event in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) calendar.

This year’s theme, “Fresh Perspectives: Back to Basics in ADR” highlights the need for a renewed focus on fundamental principles.

The conference will bring together leading arbitration experts who have contributed significantly to the field. Their insights and experience and your participation will help shape the future of arbitration in Nigeria and promote a more effective and trustworthy system.

This post introduces the confirmed speakers and looks forward to their valuable contributions to the conference.

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AFAM OSIGWE CONDEMNS KIDNAP OF BORNO JUDGE, WIFE, OTHERS

NEWS RELEASE

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN Condemn the Abduction of Justice Haruna Mshelia, his wife, and staff in Borno State

I condemn the heinous abduction of a Judge of the Borno State High Court, Justice Haruna Mshelia, his wife, driver, and orderly by Boko Haram terrorists. This atrocious act occurred along the Biu-Maiduguri road on Monday, June 24, 2024. Justice Mshelia, serving with the Borno State High Court in Maiduguri, was en route with his companions when their vehicle was ambushed by these ruthless perpetrators.

This despicable act of terrorism is not only an assault on the individuals directly involved but also an attack on the very principles of justice, peace, and security that our society upholds. The kidnapping of a respected judicial officer, his loved ones, and support staff underscores the escalating threat posed by terrorist factions and their blatant disregard for human life and the rule of law.

I vehemently condemn this barbaric incident and call upon all relevant security agencies to employ every resource at their disposal to ensure the swift and safe return of Justice Mshelia and all those who were abducted.

The culprits behind this cowardly act must be apprehended and brought to justice, serving as a deterrent to those who seek to instill fear and chaos within the country.

This incident highlights the urgent need for heightened security measures and concerted efforts to combat the menace of terrorism in our country. We urge the government and security forces to intensify their operations against terrorist organizations to restore peace and stability to our nation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Justice Mshelia, his family, the Borno State Judiciary, and all those affected by this traumatic event.

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN

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FIDA UYO HOLDS WIDOWS SUMMIT, CANVASSES WOMEN’S RIGHTS

NEWS RELEASE

Widows Summit: Empowering Women through Advocacy and Support

Widows from various LGAs of Akwa Ibom State came together on Tuesday, June 25th, 2024 for the highly anticipated first-ever Widows Summit with the theme for 2024 International Widows Day: ‘Accelerating the Achievement of Gender Equality’, a groundbreaking event aimed at empowering and uplifting women who have lost their spouses.

Hosted by the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Uyo Branch in collaboration with Golden Initiative For All (GIFA) and Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN ) Akwa Ibom Chapter, the event took place at the prestigious NBA Uyo Secretariat.

In her Welcome Address, the Chairperson, Iquo Abia, Esq. on behalf of FIDA Uyo Branch, celebrated the resilience, strength, and invaluable contributions that widows make to their communities despite facing numerous challenges. She observed that widows often play crucial roles as mentors, caregivers, and providers for their families.

She thanked His Excellency the Governor of Akwa Ibom State for fostering inclusivity, particularly, for building compassionate houses for widows. The Chairperson also extolled Her Excellency, Pastor Mrs. Patience Umo Eno’s magnanimity by empowering over 250 widows.

Worthy of note is the presence and contributions of Rt. Hon. Precious Selong, member representing Urueoffong/ Oruko State Constituency in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. She encouraged the widows to participate actively in economic and political endeavours.

The summit provided a platform for widows of all ages and backgrounds to learn about their rights, discover their strengths, and connect with others in similar circumstances.

The summit featured inspirational speakers such as Chief Mag. Helen Umana, Mrs. Ekaette Umoh, Dr. Uduak Ime Usanga and Prof. Emmanuel Umana, interactive workshops and networking opportunities designed to build a sense of community and solidarity among widows. Participants engaged in meaningful discussions on crucial topics, including financial independence, mental health support, and legal rights for widows. Additionally, they enjoyed some indoor games such as ludo, with prizes awarded to the winners.

A noteworthy moment of the summit was a panel discussion showcasing prominent advocates and experts in widows’ rights who shared valuable insights and guidance on navigating the challenges faced by widows in society. The panel sparked essential conversations and presented practical solutions to address the unique needs of widows. MWAN also offered free basic medical check up for the participants.

In conclusion, the Widows Summit was a resounding success, allowing widows to share their experiences, gain knowledge, and support one another. With a renewed sense of empowerment and communal backing, attendees departed the summit feeling inspired and motivated to champion for the protection of their rights and carve out a brighter future for themselves and their families.

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SANNI EMERGES PIONEER CHAIRMAN OF NBA ETI-OSA BRANCH

Mr. Adewale Sanni has emerged as the pioneer Chairman-elect of the newly created Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Eti-osa Branch.

The senior lawyer emerged unopposed as the chairman of the nascent branch alongside other members of the new Executive Committee.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Sanni was highly instrumental to the birthing of the new branch which emerged from the now defunct Eti-Osa Lawyers Forum (ELF).

A statement by the Publicity Secretary-elect of the branch, Mr. Makinde Akeem Olasunkanmi reads:

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Eti-osa Branch held its maiden Annual General Meeting/inaugural election today, June 26, 2024, at the Christopher Olatunde Segun Court complex. The newly elected executives ran unopposed, bringing joy to all present.

The elected officials and their positions are as follows:

1. Mr. M.M.A. Sanni – Chairman-elect
2. Mr. Lanre Obadina – Vice Chairman-elect
3. Mr. Peter Gabriel – Secretary-elect
4. Mr. Manir Ahmad – Assistant Secretary-elect
5. Mrs. Grace Ajayi – Social Secretary-elect
6. Mr. Makinde Akeem Olasunkanmi – Publicity Secretary-elect

Additional positions will be filled by the new executives post-inauguration scheduled for July 2024.

The Chairman-elect, Mr. M. M. A. Sanni expressed gratitude to the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mr. Olawale Ajia and his team. He pledged to fulfill the commitments set out in his manifesto.

Congratulations flooded in for the new executives amidst a celebratory atmosphere. Stay tuned for updates on the inauguration date and venue.

Signed,
Makinde Akeem Olasunkanmi, Esq.

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RIGGING CONCERNS, AS NBA PORT HARCOURT VOTES TOMORROW

There are palpable concerns that tomorrow’s high-stakes election of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch may be rigged.

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that some stakeholders are worried that plans may have been perfected to thwart the will of members of the branch.

Meanwhile, the poll is also seen as the first major electoral face-off between the behemoth Integrity Group which has held the branch by the jugular for years and the Progressives, perceived by many  stakeholders as the new-kid-on-block.

CITY LAWYER gathered that it was the choice of the chairmanship candidate for the forthcoming election that split the Integrity Group, especially on the issue of whether to field a non-indigene or otherwise.

Investigations show that while the Integrity Group is backing Madam Felicia Nwoke, the Progressives are backing Mrs. Cordelia Eke. The tripodal fight is completed by returnee candidate, Mr. Geoffrey Joseph. He is one of those who expressed concerns on possible rigging of the election.

Another key stakeholder who shares his fears is Mr. Sylvester Adaka, a former chairman of the branch (2018-2020). However, Mr. Temple Waamah, the Leader of the Integrity Group, told CITY LAWYER that such fears are misplaced.

Asked whether he has any concerns regarding the election, Joseph said: “Definitely yes! We ask for a most transparent election, especially to guard against double or roundtripping voting.”

Asked to elaborate on this, he said that it is when “A member takes the NBA ID card of an absent member and votes on his or her behalf. They (Electoral Committee) must guard against that.” 

He however said that he would “keep an open mind” on the election, adding that “For the Electoral (Committee) Chairman, he is a man of impeccable character.”

Towing a similar line, Adaka said that “there are concerns that enemies of the branch are determined to thwart the will of the members.”

He however urged the branch members “not to allow themselves to be used to achieve this unwholesome goal,” adding that “the unity and progress of this branch depends on this election more than any other time in our history.”

He warned that some stakeholders are bent on using the instrumentality of the Electoral Committee to thwart the election, even as he also vouched for the chairman and secretary of the Branch Electoral Committee, describing them as “fine gentlemen.” 

Adaka raised issues relating to manipulation of the branch attendance register, adding that future elections must see to the establishment of the Electoral Committee long before the election while giving more oversight to members on issues relating to the attendance register among others.

Saying that he would not  want to dabble into the face-off between the Integrity Group and the Progressives, Adaka stated that “We the members know who is the best for the branch. We know among the three chairmanship candidates the person who has the best pedigree. Clearly, my support is for Mrs. Eke. She has the best pedigree, the best antecedents, you name it!

On his part, another Bar Leader, Pastor Chigozirim Nwaodu indicated that the leadership of the Integrity Group may have taken its members for a ride, saying that it has a “sense of entitlement. They believe that the followers must swallow whatever they give to them, notwithstanding the quality of the product. That is about to change! We are taking power back to where it actually belongs – with members of Port Harcourt Branch.”

But Waamah waved away the concerns of other stakeholders, saying that there was opportunity for objections on the attendance register and that the Electoral Committee is reviewing the objections.

He also dismissed the growing view that the election is the first major popularity test for the Integrity Group, saying: “We are going to the poll tomorrow. Port Harcourt is a place where people know the truth; the truth will speak tomorrow. There is nothing like a new group. There was a break-away faction.”

He traced the face-off with the Progressives to the search for a chairmanship candidate, adding that it revolved around whether to field a non-indigene or otherwise. “We chose Adaka as a non-indigene but he is now leading the opposition. Now that there is no South East candidate, they are backing a candidate from the Ministry of Justice.”

Waamah also dismissed insinuations that the group’s candidate is “too old,” saying that while the new group is free to field any candidate of their choice, “the Bar will speak tomorrow. We are a pressure group. We are ready to go to the poll. The election will be hitch-free; we do not entertain violence in our branch.”

Aligning with Waamah, another key member of the Integrity Group and a candidate for the position of NBA First Vice President in the forthcoming national election, Mr. Reginald Ugwuadu told CITY LAWYER that “NBA politics is localized and the outcome is not expected to be different. All the candidates have done beautifully well on the campaign trail and we look forward to a peaceful transition.

“The chairman of the Eleco and his members have been firm and consistent in upholding the provisions of our Uniform bye laws and I am sure they will deliver on their mandate. My advice is for them to keep up the good work and apply sanctions, where necessary, no matter whose ox is gored.

“There is no group as Progressive. What you have are Integrity Group persons masquerading as new found Messiahs. I bet you, after the elections, the group will disintegrate, because these are all strange bedfellows.”

Other candidates for the election are Ezechimenum Adums, Chijioke Amadi, Modupe Babalola, Elijah Briggs, Kelechi Chinule, Mary Samuel and Cordelia Eke. Others are Cleopas Esu, Atonye Ezekiel-Hart, Francis Ibekwe-Allagoa, Emmanuel John, Geoffrey Joseph, Nnenda Kejeh, Felicia Nwoke, Obumneme Nwoye and David Onyema.

While Amadi and John are to slug it out for the position of Vice Chairman, Briggs and Nwoye will duel for the influential position of Branch Secretary.

The race for Assistant Secretary is between Esu and Ibekwe-Allagoa while Babalola and Ezekiel-Hart will battle for the position of Financial Secretary.

Candidates who are going into the election as unopposed include Chinule (Publicity Secretary), Onyema (Welfare Secretary), Kejeh (Treasurer), Mary Dikibo (Social Secretary) and Adums (Provost).

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‘HOW AFAM OSIGWE WILL TRANSFORM NBA, WITH FOCUS ON YOUNG LAWYERS’

NEWS RELEASE

Afam Osigwe has a vision for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that promises to revolutionize its structure and operations. Here’s how he plans to bring about transformative change:

Co-Working Spaces for Young Lawyers

One of Afam Osigwe’s key initiatives is to establish co-working spaces for young lawyers. Recognizing the financial and logistical challenges faced by newly qualified lawyers, Osigwe plans to create affordable, collaborative workspaces equipped with essential resources. These co-working spaces will provide young lawyers with access to legal libraries, high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and office equipment, fostering an environment conducive to professional growth and networking. By alleviating the overhead costs of setting up a private practice, this initiative aims to empower young lawyers to thrive independently and confidently.

Regionalization of the Governing Structure of CLE

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) is crucial for maintaining the professional competence of lawyers. Afam Osigwe proposes to regionalize the governing structure of CLE to ensure more effective and localized administration. This approach will allow for the tailoring of CLE programs to meet the specific needs and legal landscapes of different regions. By decentralizing the management of CLE, Osigwe envisions a more responsive and adaptable system that can promptly address regional legal developments and trends, ultimately enhancing the quality of legal practice across Nigeria.

Creation of an NBA-CLE Platform

In tandem with regionalization, Afam Osigwe aims to create a comprehensive NBA-CLE platform. This digital platform will serve as a central hub for all CLE activities, providing easy access to course materials, registration, and certification. Lawyers will be able to track their CLE credits, participate in online courses, and stay informed about upcoming seminars and workshops. The NBA-CLE platform will leverage technology to streamline the CLE process, making it more accessible and user-friendly for all members of the NBA.

NBA Human Capacity Development Policies

Afam Osigwe is committed to enhancing the human capacity of the NBA through robust development policies. These policies will focus on continuous professional development, mentorship programs, and leadership training. By investing in the professional growth of its members, the NBA will build a more competent and dynamic legal community. Osigwe’s vision includes partnerships with international legal bodies and institutions to provide Nigerian lawyers with exposure to global best practices and emerging legal trends, ensuring they remain competitive in the global arena.

Branch and Legal Education Fund

To support the initiatives outlined above, Afam Osigwe plans to establish a Branch and Legal Education Fund. This fund will be dedicated to financing the activities of NBA branches and supporting legal education programs. By providing financial assistance, the fund will ensure that branches have the resources needed to implement local projects, conduct training sessions, and support their members effectively. Additionally, it will subsidize legal education for lawyers, making advanced training and specialization more accessible.

Conclusion

Afam Osigwe’s plans for the NBA represent a comprehensive strategy to modernize and strengthen the association. Through innovative initiatives such as co-working spaces, regionalized CLE, a centralized NBA-CLE platform, human capacity development policies, and a dedicated education fund, Osigwe aims to create a more supportive, efficient, and forward-thinking NBA that will serve the needs of its members and the broader legal community. His vision promises to transform the NBA into a beacon of excellence in the legal profession.

YLG FOR AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN.
VOTE AFAM OSIGWE FOR PRESIDENT

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NBA VP CANDIDATE SABASTINE ANYIA HAILS CALABAR BRANCH ON LAW WEEK

NEWS RELEASE

GOODWILL MESSAGE TO NBA CALABAR BRANCH, THE (DOYEN BAR) BY SABASTINE ANYIA, CANDIDATE FOR THE OFFICE OF NBA FIRST VICE PRESIDENT

It is with great excitement that Sabastine Anyia, the candidate for the office of First Vice President congratulates the Chairman and good people of NBA, CALABAR BRANCH, for their well thought out Law Week. I also welcome Distinguished Senior Advocates, Benchers, elders at the Bar, learned friends and colleagues to the beautiful city of Calabar, the people’s paradise for this year’s Law Week.

NBA CALABAR BRANCH is known for her astuteness and discipline. A no-nonsense branch, a stickler to the rules. NBA CALABAR Branch is a good example to other branches. We are proud of what you have accomplished as a branch. You are truly a doyen in our association. Keep the fire burning.

I’m extremely excited that the organizing committee of the branch Law Week took our peculiarities into consideration in planning this year’s Law Week, as can be seen in the theme of the Law Week: “ACCESS TO JUSTICE WITHIN THE NIGERIAN FISCAL SPACE.” This well organized Law Week program and the invited legal Giants who are lined up to deliver talks herein speak volumes of NBA, CALABAR BRANCH.

I’m convinced that the gathering of these legal GIANTS at this Law Week shall guide us and give us the direction to pilot the affairs of this great country in a manner that will make us truly the giant of Africa.

I wish us all safe travels as we journey to attend NBA CALABAR Branch Law Week even as I wish all delegates a rewarding outing.

Sabastine Anyia
Former Chairman NBA Aguata and former Chairman of Chairmen and Secretaries of the 8 branches of NBA in Anambra State

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NBA BENIN: ‘HOW RESTRUCTURING CAN FOSTER UNITY, DEVT’ – AFAM OSIGWE

NEWS RELEASE

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN delivered a compelling speech on “Restructuring of the Nigerian State: A Veritable Tool for National Development” at the Nigerian Bar Association, Benin Branch Law Week.

This event marked a significant milestone in our ongoing discourse on national development and governance. Afam Osigwe’s address was not only insightful but also deeply thought-provoking, providing a comprehensive analysis of the current state of Nigeria and the potential benefits of restructuring.

He elaborated on how restructuring can serve as a transformative tool for national development. By advocating for a more balanced distribution of power and resources, the Learned Silk highlighted the importance of creating a system that promotes efficiency, accountability, and equitable development across all regions of Nigeria.

He emphasized that restructuring is crucial for fostering unity and harmony among Nigeria’s diverse populations. Through his eloquent speech, Afam Osigwe conveyed the idea that a well-structured governance framework could lead to sustainable growth and the realization of a prosperous and united Nigeria.

The learned silk is known to never shy away from addressing national issues candidly, he touched majorly on the challenges we face as a nation the opportunities available in those seemingly challenging situations, and how the Nigerian state can harness her enormous potential for a better future.

Leaders like Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN, who are willing to share their thoughts on critical national issues without fear of controversy, deserve our support and recognition.

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‘MY CONTRACT WITH NBA PORT HARCOURT MEMBERS,’ BY CORDELIA EKE

A leading chairmanship candidate in tomorrow’s Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch Elections,  Mrs. Cordelia Eke has outlined her key deliverables if elected as Chairman of the influential branch.

In a 10-point Agenda obtained by CITY LAWYER, the consummate ‘Bar-man’ and cerebral text writer highlighted “continued mentorship of young lawyers and welfarist programs” as well as promotion of a level-playing field among all members and blocs within the branch as some of her major focus.

Below is the full text of the 10-Point Agenda:

  • 1. Continued mentorship of young lawyers and welfarist programmes
  • 2. To provide economic empowerment for members by strengthening the Branch Cooperative.
  • 3. To provide a level-playing field in branch affairs for ALL members irrespective of tribe, tongue, place of work, or affiliation.
  • 4. To encourage activities that promote good health and well-being of members
  • 5. To address issues militating against law practice through stakeholder engagement and recourse to expert advice.
  • 6. To institute an effective and sustainable welfare scheme for members.
  • 7. Financial Accountability and Transparency
  • 8. Periodic stakeholder engagement and collaborations in the interest of the Bar.
  • 9. Gender balance in Committee appointments.
  • 10. To restore the age-old traditions of the Bar.

CITY LAWYER recalls that NBA Port Harcourt Branch recently honoured Eke with an “Award of dedicated service” in recognition of her “dedicated service to the branch at the National level.”

Eke has held several sensitive positions at both branch and national levels including Secretary of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) and also Secretary of the NBA Electoral Reform Committee (NBAERC).

A pioneer female Secretary of the branch, she is on course to also emerge as the pioneer female Chairman of the mega branch. 

Currently a Director in the Rivers State Ministry of Justice where she holds sway as a no-nonsense criminal trial prosecutor, Eke has been actively engaged in mediation, civil and criminal litigation at the high court, Appeal court, and the Supreme court for over 20 years.

She is also the President of the influential 1995 Law School Class. A Rivers State Representative in the Eastern Zone Management Committee of the NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Eke holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (now Rivers State University), Port Harcourt, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Public International Law, from the University of Kent, Canterbury in the United Kingdom. 

More recently, the respected Bar Leader was named among Africa’s Top 100 Female Lawyers during the unveiling of this year’s “Courtroom Mail 100 Women 2024.”

A citation by the organisers noted that Eke is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators ICMC Nigeria, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria. She specializes in Criminal Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Eke has held several leadership positions in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), African Bar Association (AFBA), African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) Nigeria, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria and the Law Officers Association of Nigeria (LOAN) at state and national levels, including being Council Member of the NBA Human Rights Institute and the National Executive Committee. She is presently a member of the NBA National Remuneration Committee.

The popular Bar Leader is acclaimed as an ace prosecutor and has also held down several roles at the Ministry of justice, including, being the Team Lead, Committee on Drafting of Prosecution Manual and Code of Conduct for Prosecutors and Team Lead, Attorney-General’s Special Committee which treated abandoned case files of over 350 awaiting trial inmates in the Federal prisons in Rivers State.

Her expertise in criminal law practice made her a much-sought-after Speaker, Trainer, and Resource person on legal and other subjects. She has presented papers to members of the Bench and the Bar among others at various seminars, workshops and conferences including the NBA Annual General Conferences and NBA Continuing Legal Education (NBA-CLE) programmes among others.

Reputed as a cerebral lawyer, Eke is the author of the fast-selling book, CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN NIGERIA: A PRACTICAL GUIDE. She has also published articles and edited legal works and newsletters.

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‘I ENDORSE CORDELIA EKE FOR A MORE PROGRESSIVE BAR’ – OKEY OHAGBA

The chances of Mrs. Cordelia Eke, a leading chairmanship candidate in tomorrow’s high-stakes Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch Elections, brightened further with her endorsement today by prominent Bar Leader and former NBA National Officer, Mr. Okey Ohagba.

In a statement obtained by CITY LAWYER, Ohagba, who was NBA First Assistant General Secretary between 2016 and 2018, described Eke as “a square peg in a square hole.” 

He vowed that Eke, who is reputed as a ferocious criminal litigator, “is our best foot forward for a more progressive and all inclusive NBA Port Harcourt Branch.”

Leaving no-one in doubt as to his preferences, Ohagba wrote: “I hereby endorse her for the office of Chairman, NBA Port Harcourt Branch.”

The full text of his statement reads:

“Mrs. Cordelia Eke is a square peg in a square hole. She is our best foot forward for a more progressive and all inclusive NBA Port Harcourt Branch.

“Her proven capacity and competence is unequalled!

“I hereby endorse her for the office of Chairman, NBA Port Harcourt Branch.

“Take a CUE!”

OKEY LEO OHAGBA
PAST NBA NATIONAL OFFICER

#AllinclusivePhBar
#Competenceiskey
#Bestfootforward

Mrs. Eke has held several sensitive and high-profile positions within the NBA aside from being a ranking Director at the Rivers State Ministry of Justice.

A cerebral text writer and Bar Leader, Mrs. Eke was a member of the NBA Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP) in 2018 and Secretary of the NBA Electoral Reform Committee between 2022 and 2023.

Earlier in 2020, she was appointed into the highly sensitive position of Secretary of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), having held sway as Council Member of the NBA Human Rights Institute (NBA-HRI) between 2017 and 2018. She has also been in the forefront of advocacy for women and children’s rights under the aegis of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), and recently hosted some widows and the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Mma Ordu, during the FIDA programme in celebration of the International Widows’ Day.

She was a pioneer female Secretary of NBA Port Harcourt Branch between 2016 and 2018 and is currently a member of the NBA Remuneration Committee which is designed to proffer better employment and fees for lawyers.

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CORDELIA EKE SERENADES WIDOWS, RIVERS DEP. GOV AT FIDA WORLD EVENT

NEWS RELEASE

The Bar Amazon and award-winning chairmanship candidate in forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch Elections, Cordelia Eke, has once more demonstrated her cutting-edge leadership and organizational skills as she successfully planned and hosted the FIDA Rivers International Widow’s Day celebration 2024.

The highly successful event was graced by the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Her Excellency Prof. Ngozi Mma Ordu, DSSRS and the former Attorney-General and SSG of Rivers-State, Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam among other dignitaries. The Solicitor-General of Rivers State, Mrs. Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo gave the Keynote Address.

The event was filled with insightful paper presentations on health and home farming. Over 30 widows wo attended the event went home with free BP and malaria medication, cash gifts, and wrappers.

While presenting the widows to the Deputy Governor, popular Bar Leader Cordelia Eke stated that the event was not to celebrate widowhood but to honour the women for their resilience in the face of challenges that come with widowhood.

The Deputy Governor charged the widows not engage in self-pity but to do their best to help themselves. She assured them of the care and concern of the state for their welfare.

The Chairperson of FIDA Rivers State, Adata Bio-Bio-Briggs expressed the gratitude of FIDA Nigeria, Rivers State to the dignitaries. Also honoured at the event were Chief (Dr.) Mrs. O. B. Lulu-Briggs and Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam.

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ABA BRANCH ELECTION ABORTED, NBA VP LINDA BALA, OTHERS BLAST APPEAL C’TE

The election for a new leadership for Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Aba Branch could not hold yesterday due to disruptions done by appeals against the qualification of some candidates. The election was postponed to today.

Meanwhile, past and present NBA National Officers have come down hard on the  NBA Branch Elections Appeal Committee (East) for its decision to bar fiery General Council of the Bar (GCB) member, Mr. Chinonye Onwere from contesting today’s chairmanship election. The decision leaves only Mr. Charles Onuchukwu as the presumptive Branch Chairman-elect.

The incumbent chairman of the branch, Mr. Innocent Egwu told CITY LAWYER that challenges arising from late production of ballot papers due to the Appeal Committee decisions led to the postponement of the election.

The Appeal Committee had in a controversial decision barred Onwere from the chairmanship poll on the basis that he has allegedly held two elective offices before gunning for the position of branch chairman.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the committee had stated that “the said Victor Chinonye Onwere, Esq. is equally not qualified to contest the said election having held two elective positions which he is still holding one presently. He was elected the Vice Chairman of NBA Aba branch in 2020 to 2022 and was equally elected as a member of the General Council of the Bar which election took place in July 2022 and which office he is still occupying till date to expire in July 2024.”

But NBA First Vice President Linda Bala; her predecessor-in-office, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins; immediate past NBA Publicity Secretary Kunle Edun and Egwu sharply disagreed with the committee.

According to information obtained by CITY LAWYER, Aikpokpo-Martins had fired the first salvo when the matter trended on the exclusive “Present and Past National Officers” WhatsApp platform.

Responding to the committee’s decision, the estranged Chairman of NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) wrote: “Wonderful! How can membership of a caretaker committee (by Onwere’s nominator) be deemed as holding office as a branch officer! How can a position held in 2009 come into reckoning in the determination of a 5-year period! The problem in the NBA is that almost no one is interested in the affairs of the association. So sad.”

On her part, Bala responded on her verified WhatsApp handle, saying: “Gentlemen Good Morning Sirs. The 5-year period is counted from the date you last relinquished the office. Being a Chairman of a caretaker committee is definitely not inclusive. For the purposes of Branch Elections only Branch held positions are in issue not National. For the National only Nationally held elections are counted & 10 years is calculated from the date you ceased to be a National Officer. My take, Sirs.”

Also expressing shock at the decision of the Appeal Committee, Edun wrote: “I cannot believe what I read that happened. Seriously, can this be true?”

Berating the Appeal Committee for the hammer that fell on his close associate at the GCB, Aikpokpo-Martins described the decision as “unacceptable and quite unfortunate. It smells more of a hatchet job.” While Aikpokpo-Martins is the Coordinator of the amorphous ‘Representatives of the NBA to the General Council of the Bar’ which is at loggerheads with NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, Onwere is the Secretary.

Aikpokpo-Martins also wrote: “However, I do not agree respectfully, sir, that a member of the General Council of the Bar is a national officer and should be barred from holding national office. A member of the General Council of the Bar is just like a member of the Body of Benchers. He is not a national officer. Great injustice has been occasioned by the Eastern Zone Appeals Committee.

“The appeals committee has no jurisdiction to sit over a petition except it is an appeal arising from a decision of the branch electoral committee from a petition made to the branch electoral committee by a known petitioner.

“We must not destroy the NBA for petty reasons and for the fact that you have an opportunity to sit in judgment over your colleagues.”

Egwu noted that Onwere “was not informed of any pending petition against him not to talk of being asked to respond to the petition. We were at a requisitioned Extra-Ordinary General Meeting of the branch when the WhatsApp message on the decision came in. Immediately I read it to the house, Onwere became very agitated; he could not believe it, he was in a kind of trance as to whether such was indeed happening in real life.

“Some have argued that it seems like a hatchet job. It is certainly a very disturbing development. The natural thing is to have given him an opportunity to respond to any petition against him. That he is holding a position at the national level is not one of the grounds for disqualification under the Uniform Bye-laws. In fact, the NBA Constitution did not list membership of the General Council of the Bar as one of the offices that constitute a bar even at the national level.

“Again, his nominator was merely a member of the Branch Caretaker Committee which was peopled by past officers of the branch and mandated to rescue the branch during its crisis period. The committee was in office for less than two years. How can his answering a call to rescue the branch as a past branch officer be held against him and his nominee?”

Onwere’s nominator, one E. E. Agwulonu, was alleged to have “held two elective offices within the last five 5 years is not qualified to stand election for the same office and as such not eligible to nominate any body for any elective office of the branch”.

Agwulonu denies the claim. His words: “For the avoidance of doubt, the last elected position I held in the Branch was the position of NEC REP(which ordinarily wasn’t even an elective position then) and this was between 2007 to 2009.
The position of member of caretaker committee which I held about Five years ago was never elective position and I was even appointed in absentia and it was at inaugural meeting of the said committee which comprised only past chairmen of the Branch and all former National officers of the Branch. As Victor Nwaugo pointed out the caretaker position lasted for less than one year and cannot by any stretch of the imagination translate into a tenure of office in NBA Aba Branch which is a complete two years. How can a period between 2009 to 2020 be interpreted to mean a period of Five years.”

The Appeal Committee had stated that the provision of Article 6(3) “is quite explicit” as it provides as a disqualifying factor thus : “No member of a branch shall occupy the same office for more than two (2) years and any member who has held elective offices as a branch officer for two (2) terms shall not be eligible to contest for a branch office until at least five (5) years after his /her tenure of office “.

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VACANCY: IKOYI LAGOS LAW FIRM WANTS YOUNG LAWYER URGENTLY

THE FIRM
 The Law Office is a full-service law firm situated at Ikoyi, Lagos.

THE POSITION
 Associate

QUALIFICATIONS
 1-3 years post-call

SKILLS
 The candidate must possess excellent litigation skill, but will also be required to do Solicitor’s work

SALARY
 Attractive

HOW TO APPLY
 Interested candidates should email legaljobs77@gmail.com.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that SUBJECT field reads “IKOYI LAGOS LAW FIRM WANTS LITIGATOR URGENTLY.”

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Sunday, June 30, 2024. Interviews to hold first week in July.

Please note that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

POSTSCRIPT: This law firm has been VERIFIED by CITY LAWYER.

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‘NO LAWYER WILL BE BRUTALIZED UNDER MY WATCH,’ VOWS AFAM OSIGWE

NEWS RELEASE

NO LAWYER WILL BE UNJUSTLY BRUTALISED UNDER MY WATCH AS NBA PRESIDENT; AFAM OSIGWE, DECLARES AT THE INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH LAWYERS IN KOGI

In an insightful interactive session held yesterday, Afam Osigwe, SAN, a leading presidential candidate in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) election, engaged with lawyers from all branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in Kogi State. This meeting was part of his ongoing campaign to connect directly with legal professionals across Nigeria and to outline his vision for a more proactive and forward-thinking NBA.

During the session, Afam Osigwe assured the attendees of his unwavering commitment to building a proactive bar. He emphasized the importance of anticipating challenges, embracing opportunities, and fostering an environment of continuous improvement and innovation within the NBA. His vision is to create a robust association that not only responds to issues as they arise but also foresees and addresses potential challenges proactively.

Afam Osigwe stressed the need for the NBA to be ahead of potential issues. By foreseeing challenges, the NBA can better support its members and maintain the integrity of the legal profession in Nigeria.

He also highlighted the importance of adaptability and openness to new opportunities, especially given the rapidly changing landscape of legal practice. Leveraging technology and innovative practices, he argued, can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of legal services.

Afam Osigwe also advocated for a culture of continuous learning and development within the NBA. He proposed initiatives to ensure ongoing professional development, providing lawyers with access to the latest knowledge and skills necessary for excellence in their practice.

Innovation, according to the Learned Silk, is essential for progress within the legal field. He suggested creating platforms and resources that encourage creative problem-solving and the adoption of advanced legal technologies.

A particularly significant point in his address was his firm stance on protecting lawyers’ rights. Afam Osigwe empathized with the concerns of many legal practitioners and assured them that under his leadership, no lawyer would be unjustly brutalized for any reason. He pledged to stand firmly against any form of injustice towards lawyers, reinforcing the need for the NBA to be a strong advocate for its members’ rights and welfare.

The lawyers present responded positively to Afam Osigwe’s vision, engaging in a lively discussion and sharing their own experiences and concerns. They appreciated his proactive approach and his dedication to addressing the needs of legal practitioners at all levels.

In his closing remarks, Afam Osigwe reaffirmed his dedication to building a robust and responsive NBA that genuinely represents and serves the interests of its members. He expressed his gratitude to the Kogi State lawyers for their warm reception and invaluable feedback, promising to incorporate their insights into his campaign and plans for the NBA.

The session in Kogi State marks another significant milestone in Osigwe’s campaign, as he continues to garner support and build momentum across Nigeria. His commitment to a proactive, innovative, and protective NBA resonates strongly with legal professionals, setting a promising tone for the upcoming election.

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NBA VP CANDIDATE, SABASTINE ANYIA SALUTES BENIN BRANCH ON LAW WEEK

SABASTINE ANYIA, THE CANDIDATE FOR FIRST VICE PRESIDENT SALUTES THE CHAIRMAN AND GOOD PEOPLE OF BENIN BRANCH OVER THEIR LAW WEEK.

It’s with profound joy and excitement that Sabastine Anyia, the candidate for the office of First Vice President, congratulates the Chairman and good people of NBA Benin Branch for their well-thought-out Law Week. I also welcome distinguished Senior Advocates, Benchers, Elders at the Bar, learned friends and colleagues to Benin, the Big Heart of the nation.

NBA Benin Branch is one of the leading branches in our noble association and has demonstrated that she is a true leader by the way she organizes the affairs of NBA in her branch. One can say without fear of contradiction that NBA Benin Branch is truly a great Bar/branch.

I’m glad that the Organizing Committee of the Branch Law Week took the state of the nation into consideration in planning this year’s Law Week as can be seen in the theme of the Law Week: LAW AS A TOOL FOR ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT AND NATIONAL SECURITY. This wonderful and well-packaged Law Week programme and the legal Giants who are to deliver talks during the week speak volumes of NBA BENIN BRANCH.

I am convinced that the gathering of these legal GIANTS during the Law Week will guide us and give us the direction to pilot the affairs of this great country in a manner that will make us truly the Giant of Africa.

I wish us all safe travels as we journey to attend NBA Benin Branch Law Week. I wish NBA Benin Branch a rewarding outing.

Sabastine Anyia
Former Chairman, NBA Aguata Branch and former Chairman of Chairmen and Secretaries of the 8 branches of NBA in Anambra State.

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SOLAR4ALL: HON. MUIZUDEEN ABDULLAHI SAN (ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF KOGI STATE) IS OUR “TAR CLIENT OF THE WEEK”

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  • The views expressed in this featured report are entirely those of the author.

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COPYRIGHT 2024 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on “X” (TWITTER) at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag. To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER or for Special Features, please email citylawyermag@gmail.com or call 08138380083.

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FIDA, CORDELIA EKE TO HOST INT’L WIDOWS’ DAY TODAY

INTERNATIONAL WIDOWS DAY COMMITTEE CALLING!

The Widows Day Committee hereby invites you all to the IWD event on Monday, June 24th, 2024 , by 12 noon prompt.

We are happy to inform you that Her Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, has confirmed her attendance at the event💃💃

We are also expecting other distinguished personalities. The Solicitor-General of Rivers State will give the Keynote Address. Former Attorney-General and Secretary to the Rivets State Government, Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam will chair the event.

Note that among activities for the day will be Medical Checks for widows, a Health Talk and a training on domestic food gardening, which will be beneficial to ALL guests. There would also be a talk on the legal rights of widows.

There will also be economic empowerment of widows and gift items for them. The committee has also decided to empower some female lawyers who are widows on that day.

Medical checks for widows will hold from 10-12 noon. The main event commences at 12 noon.

Cordelia Uwuma Eke
Chairperson, IWD Committee

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‘CORDELIA EKE IS A MENTOR LIKE NO OTHER,’ SAYS BIBI UGO

THE CORDELIA WE KNOW!

In 2015, at the NBA Annual General Conference in Abuja, I had registered to be a member of African Women Lawyers Association, an act that would change the trajectory of my legal career. In 2016, I met the beautiful CORDELIA EKE whilst planning the inauguration of the Rivers Branch of AWLA, and she immediately took on the role of being my Mentor, Friend and Big Sister!

As Secretary of the NBA PH Branch, She nominated me for the ICMC training sponsored by the Branch, that singular act began my journey as an ADR SPECIALIST. She saw my interest in mediation and encouraged me by introducing me to the relevant persons nationally and assigned matters to me to enhance my skills.

She also made sure I took the Fellowship and Training of Trainers course of ICMC as her coursemate, an act that is rare amongst senior lawyers these days.

Today I stand as an Internationally certified Mediator, I have mediated with world leaders in several continents, facilitated training of countless mediators, and held several Leadership positions in ICMC because CUE saw in me what I didn’t see in myself.

She will no doubt lead the Bar to a greater height.

Bibi Obinichi Ugo F.ICMC
CEDR UK Accredited Mediator and IMI certified Mediator
Head, Mediation and Training Practice.
Serenity Legal Union and Partners

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BIZARRE: NBA APPEAL C’TE BARS CANDIDATE ON WITHDRAWN PETITION

There are concerns within legal circles as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Branch Elections Appeal Committee (East) have barred a chairmanship candidate from tomorrow’s election at NBA Aba Branch over a withdrawn petition.

Documents obtained by CITY LAWYER show that though the Appeal Committee conceded that the petition against the candidacy of Mr. Chinonye Onwere, a chairmanship candidate who was cleared by the Branch Electoral Committee, was withdrawn, the committee went ahead to decide the petition.

Onwere is the Secretary of the ‘Representatives of the NBA to the General Council of the Bar’ which is at loggerheads with NBA President Yakubu Maikyau SAN following their representation of the association at the council.

Wrote the committee: Our Committee is now saddled with hearing and determining the petitions and complaints
brought before us from various Branches this year, 2024, including four petitions from NBA, Aba Branch plus one (+1). The “plus one (+1) is used advisedly by us because the Appeal was purportedly withdrawn albeit under “duress”.

Describing the petition as “tricky,” the committee wrote: This case is tricky as the appellant by a letter dated 24 /05/24 purports to withdraw the appeal citing his “deference” to representations made to him by senior members of the branch. The “appeal” raises some grave issues that cannot be glossed over, particularly for the very important office of a Branch Chairman.

The substance of the Appeal is that Chinonye Onwere, Esq “is not qualified to stand election as one of his Nominator, E. E. Agwulonu, Esq. who has held two elective offices within the last five 5 years is not qualified to stand election for the same office and as such not eligible to nominate any body for any elective office of the branch”. “furthermore, the said Victor Chinonye Onwere, Esq. is equally not qualified to contest the said election having held two elective positions which he is still holding one presently. He was elected the Vice Chairman of NBA Aba branch in 2020 to 2022 and was equally elected as a member of the General Council of the Bar which election took place in July 2022 and which office he is still occupying till date to expire in July 2024.

Unlike in the other decisions where the committee dissected the issues and provided copious findings, the committee merely wrote: The Committee considered the backdrop of this ” appeal ” and even though the “appellant” has sheated (sic) his sword to allow peace to reign in the Branch and has purported to have withdrawn his appeal, our Committee cannot give our blessing to the qualification of a member that is not qualified especially where the said disqualification stems from violation of Uniform Bye-Law for Branches as contained in the Constitution of NBA 2015 as amended in 2021. We therefore hereby direct the Election Committee to remove the name of the said Victor Chinonye Onwere, Esq. in the list of aspirants for the forthcoming election of the Branch and for the position of Chairman of the Branch.

CITY LAWYER had in a report noted the controversy trailing the appointment of Mr. Dennis Okwakpam as the Alternate Chairman of the committee, as some stakeholders alleged that Okwakpam is a Leader of the influential Integrity Group which is openly backing some candidates in the June 27 NBA Port Harcourt Election.

Contesting his disqualification in a letter to the Appeal Committee, Onwere wrote:

My name is Victor Chinonye Onweremadu. I am a legal practitioner based in Aba.

On the 3rd day of April, 2024 at 3.52pm l submitted my nomination form to the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Aba branch, for the post of the chairman of the NBA, Aba branch.

On the 9th day of May, 2024 the Electoral Committee by a notice, dated the 7th day of May, 2024 posted on the official platform of the NBA, Aba branch notified me and several others that I had been cleared as a candidate in accordance with my nomination.

It must be placed on record that there was no petition against my candidacy before the Electoral Committee.

Following my clearance to contest as chairman, my campaign team articulated a manifesto that captured the hearts and souls of the majority of the members of the NBA, Aba branch.

On the 29th day of May 2024, the Electoral Committee lifted the ban on campaigns.

In accordance with the best form of political campaigns, we started canvassing for votes. We did so well to the effect that it became clear that I was coasting home to victory.

However, what I did not know was that some persons were determined by hook or crook to abort my emergence as the lawfully elected chairman of NBA, Aba branch.

On Tuesday, the 18th day of June 2024, during an extraordinary general meeting of the NBA, Aba branch, the chairman of NBA, Aba branch, I. O. Egwu paused the proceedings and announced that he received communications from the NBA Branch Election Appeal Committee (East) and that it was important to read out the communications.

The Chairman then announced that the said Appeal Committee decided that I wasn’t qualified to contest the election based on an Appeal/Petition against me. I was stunned and I left the meeting immediately.

Then, hours later, I read the report of the Appeal Committee, and therein it was stated that there was an appeal against my clearance to contest the election.

It is tragic that the Appeal Committee did not serve me with any petition/complaint against my candidacy and did not afford me any opportunity to be heard.

Also, the Electoral Committee of the NBA Aba branch did not know that there was an appeal against its decision.

Furthermore, the Appeal Committee acknowledged in its report that the appeal/ petition against me was withdrawn by the Appellant. There are several other manifest absurdities.

After a consideration of the manifest fundamental affront on my right to be heard, my campaign team and I, in obedience to our conscience and abiding faith in the inevitability of the triumph of good over evil, decided to mount a robust challenge to the decision of the Appeal Committee. That process is in full gear, and we thank all the highly respected lawyers across Nigeria who have expressed revulsion against the decision of the Appeal Committee. We shall not let you down.

On this note, I respectfully, call on the body of lawyers to join us to ensure that the decision of the Appeal is upended as one that has no place among the civilzed (sic) and well-meaning members of the Nigerian Bar Association. I urge us to stand up for truth, fair play, and respect for the rule of law.

Long live Nigerian Bar Association.
Long live NBA, Aba branch.
God bless the Nigerian Bar Association.

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EXCLUSIVE: HOW LAWYER AWOKE WAS RELEASED BY DSS (VIDEO/PHOTOS)

Facts have emerged as to how embattled lawyer Pius Awoke was released by the Department of State Services (DSS).

CITY LAWYER has now obtained images as to how Awoke was brought to NBA Headquarters by DSS operatives and handed over to the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

The images show an excited NBA President hugging the embattled lawyer who was detained by the DSS for nearly three years without trial.

Though former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu had chided Maikyau for celebrating Awoke’s release, Bar leaders seemed ecstatic when three DSS operatives delivered Awoke and his cousin Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso, a computer science student of Ebonyi State University, at the hand-over ceremony.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Maikyau had in a statement hailed the release of Awoke following his interactions with the DSS.

Below is the full text of Maikyau’s statement.

NOTICE OF THE RELEASE OF PIUS I. AWOKE, ESQ FROM DETENTION

Distinguished Colleague,

As I indicated in the course of the National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting held on 20 June 2024, I am pleased to inform you that I have, today, 21 June 2024, secured the release of our colleague, Pius I. Awoke, Esq of Abakaliki Branch from the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS). He was released alongside one Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso, a computer science student of Ebonyi State University, who was arrested and detained with Mr. Awoke.

Both Messrs Awoke and Chinonso will be delivered to me at the NBA Secretariat tomorrow 22 June 2024.

I will continue to update you on further developments on this matter.

Please accept, as always, the assurances of my esteemed professional regards.

Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN
PRESIDENT

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ODINKALU, OKUTEPA RAP MAIKYAU FOR HAILING LAWYER’S RELEASE BY DSS

Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu and fiery Bar Leader, Mr. Jibrin Okutepa SAN have stated that there is nothing to celebrate over the release of embattled lawyer, Mr. Pius Awoke after three years detention by Department of State Services (DSS) without charge.

Awoke was released along with his cousin Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso, a computer science student at Ebonyi State University. Both detainees were whisked away by DSS operatives on 27th July, 2021 along Abuja -Lokoja highway while returning to their Abakaliki base after attending the trial of detained Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the detainees were held despite a court judgment directing the DSS to arraign Awoke and nine others within a month of September 1, 2023.

Speaking via his verified Twitter/X handle, Odinkalu wrote: “Alao Aka Basorun will be turning in his grave at the idea that @NigBarAssoc is celebrating triumphantly the release of anyone, least of all a lawyer, from detention for 3 yrs without charge. If @YCMaikyauSAN can’t defend the #RuleOfLaw, he shd abdicate.”

Odinkalu added that “I am glad that Mr. Awoke is out of detention by @OfficialDSSNG after 3 yrs but it is silly of @NigBarAssoc or its president, @YCMaikyauSAN to claim this as achievement. When a lawyer can be disappeared like this for no reason, we shd all be alarmed.”

The leading human rights activist stated that an NBA that is fit for purpose should show collective indignation that such a situation can happen to any citizen, adding that Maikyau should not claim credit for Awoke’s release.

In a post endorsed to CITY LAWYER, Okutepa stated that “There is nothing to celebrate for the release of any Nigerian citizen, much more a lawyer, from detention after three years after arrest.”

Odinkalu stated that “It shows how our law enforcement agents are trampling and have trampled upon the liberties and freedom of hapless and defenceless Nigerians. I am not one of those celebrating the release of Pius Awoke Esq.

“Rather, I weep that as lawyers, we have collectively and individually failed to protect and defend ourselves against and from the unlawful invasions of not only the liberties of Nigerians but also the liberties and freedoms of Nigerian lawyers by our overzealous security agencies and indeed the institutions of justice put in place by law to protect and secure the liberties of all Nigerians.

“There are many Pius Awokes in detentions in Nigerian. Some well-connected and well to do individuals have cornered our institutions of justice to pervert the cause of justice. Money has become the most basic consideration to secure the illegal detentions of Nigerians in these institutions. We have institutions that denied remedies to unlawful invasions of our rights as Nigerians, and nothing may happen.

“Many innocent souls have died in unlawful detentions because they have nobody to speak for them. Most of our detentions camps are like warehouses where human beings are dumped like rooten goods and chattels. There is no humanity in most Nigerians working in these institutions.

“As an association, NBA has branches across Nigeria. These branches have human rights committees. Rather than promoting the rule of law, we have turned our noble association to petty political association that fights mundane issues and divisions, and we have forgotten the core mandate of the association.

“Why should Pius Awoke Esq and others still in detention be in detention without immediate remedies. It shows how wicked we have turned our institutions of justice to in Nigeria. We seem to embrace injustice as our ways of life. I am sure in the places where these institutions of justice operate, we have lawyers who are members of NBA thereat.

“We experience more acts of terrible wickedness in the hands of some lawyers operating in those institutions. What have we done as professional association to tame our members who misuse their powers and positions to inflict injuries on the liberties of Nigerians and lawyers.

“We have done nothing to curb these wicked acts against ourselves.

“Our well-being and welfare as lawyers should be the upper most priorities to our professional association. But it appears the reverse is on the increase. I weep for the professional association that devotes more time to chasing shadows than the substance of the interests and well-being of its members.

“My only consolation is that Pius Awoke Esq is alive to tell his side of the stories. To that extent, I congratulate Pius for surviving the harrowing and excruciatingly unhygienic experience for about three years in detention.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that Maikyau had in a statement hailed the release of Awoke following his interractions with the DSS.

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DSS: CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM HAILS MAIKYAU ON AWOKE’S RELEASE

NEWS RELEASE

Distinguished Colleagues,

On 13 June 2024, I provided an update on the steps that the NBA-SARC had taken since receiving information regarding the arrest and detention of our colleague Pius Awoke, Esq. This included a meeting that was held in Abuja on 13 June 2024 between the NBA-SARC and the Director of Legal of the DSS.

I also reported that the NBA President had assured the NBA-SARC that he was working behind the scenes to secure the release of Pius Awoke, Esq.

At the meeting of the National Executive Council of the NBA which held in Abuja on Thursday, 20 June 2024, I informed the members of NEC, while presenting the report of the NBA-SARC, of the steps that the NBA-SARC was taking and the efforts the NBA President was making to secure the release of our colleague.

The NBA President also informed the NEC that his engagement with the relevant authorities had reached an advanced stage and that Pius Awoke, Esq. would be released at any moment.

I am delighted that the NBA President has secured the release of our colleague and Mr. Oyinba Emmanuel Chinonso, who also has been held with Mr. Awoke since 2021.

I thank Mr. President for his efforts. I also thank all the members of the NBA-SARC, especially the Director of Legal of the DSS, Mr. Usman Neva Dauda for all their efforts.

The NBA-SARC will continue to discharge its mandate of intervening to ensure that lawyers and indeed all Nigerians carry out their businesses in a safe environment devoid of harassment, intimidation and assault by security agencies.

The NBA-SARC will reach out to our colleague in the coming days (we want to allow him some family time given his ordeal) to get the full picture of his travails and what led to it. We will issue a further update thereafter.

Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN
Chairman, NBA-SARC.

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‘THE CAP FITS CORDELIA EKE AS NBA PORT HARCOURT CHAIRMAN’ – PASTOR NWAODU

IS CORDELIA EKE THE SQUARE PEG IN A SQUARE HOLE FOR NBA CHAIR?

Just a few days ago, some persons emerged as winners of NBA Awards and recognitions given to members who have served the Judiciary, Bar and the general public with some distinction.

In arriving at the awardees for service to the Bar, no nominee was asked to bring CVs or other resumes. It was bare facts about the work ethic and service that counted. The recognition from this kind of unbiased election cannot be more self-fulfilling. The awardees are presumed to be round pegs in round holes. That is now a remarkable history.

I am not an NBA politician, stricto sensu, but I observe happenings in NBA politics. My non-partisan assessment is that for the comprehensive upliftment and welfare of the NBA PH Branch, MRS. CORDELIA EKE is the square peg in a square hole we need now if we must tell ourselves the unpolluted & unblemished truth.

My grounds for this conclusion are: Cordelia is courageous, assertive and humble. This quality is needed to take tough decisions/policies that are beneficial to the Bar.

If NBA PH settles for a female Chairman for the first time, to the best of my knowledge, Cordelia fits the bill very perfectly. In one word, she is an undeniable personification of the Nigerian Bar within the Branch and the National.

With immense respect, we cannot experiment a female Chairmanship with a rookie candidate who will either depend on instructions from certain noble overlords or spend a good chunk of the short tenure learning the ropes.

Cordelia is visible, has always attended Bar meetings and makes brilliant contributions therein. None of her competitors has this enviable record.

The balkanization of the NBA PH Branch into Integrity, Progressives, Unity, Amadioha or any other Camp, is unacceptable and ought to be abolished for a greater cohesion and camaraderie among us as learned colleagues. I have no doubt whatsoever that Cordelia’s Chairmanship will work very hard to reinvent a more unified Bar.

Cordelia is a highly resourceful and effective staff of the Ministry of Justice. NBA has always leaned on government for one kind of financial help or the other. Naturally, the same government will assuredly give a bigger support to one of its own for unprecedented success of her tenure. This humongous privilege is exclusively peculiar to Cordelia.

Furthermore, Cordelia coming from the Ministry of Justice, gives that respectable House of Lawyers a deserved sense of belonging. I think it has never happened before now.

Cordelia is many positive things to many people, groups and associations and has cultivated leadership qualities over the years for such a time as this.

Finally, Cordelia has boldly stepped out as an independent candidate with a mass appeal and admiration. I am sure she will not do us any emilokan by grabbing power anyhow and running with it while leaving the rest of Bar behind. God forbid!

Nigerians are in a large pit of sorrow today with painful sighs of “had-I-known” on every lip because somebody was aided to grab power at the expense of better qualified candidates. NBA PH must not repeat that fatal blunder in this Chairmanship election, please.

MRS. CORDELIA EKE is unarguably the person that the NBA PH Chairmanship Cap, Hat or Gele fits, truth be told.

I am an apolitical Pastor Chigozirim Chinazo Nwaodu.

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NBA PORT HARCOURT ELECTION: ‘WHY WE MUST ELECT CORDELIA EKE’ – GODSWILL OKURU

WHY WE MUST VOTE CORDELIA UWUMA EKE, ESQ: A PERSONAL EPISTLE

In 2022, while serving as a Corps member with the Ministry of Justice, Bauchi State, my direct mentor M. M. Adamu, Esq mentioned that as I go back to Rivers State, there is an amazing lady he knows from there he would love to connect me to. He proceeded to call this lady and then dropped her number with me to call.

I called when I returned to Port Harcourt; I also informed her. That ‘amazing lady’ he referred to is the delectable and eloquent Cordelia Uwuma Eke (CUE), Esq.

Our first physical meeting at her home was a blend of serenity and order, love and genuine bond. Her words were indelible in my heart and her stories were relatable. When I was in-between jobs, the same CUE made good efforts even without me having to call multiple times and still called in-between to check up on this young lawyer. If this isn’t intentional mentorship, I wonder what else is!

Fast forward to present day. As we approach the forthcoming election, it has become imperative for me to share this food for thought, why we as members of NBA PH Branch must vote her to the office of Chairman of the branch.

If at all we decide not to vote for her, the reasons may include but not limited to:

1. If the Branch wants to gloat in disorder, then let us not vote CUE.

2. If the Branch wants young lawyers to continue to be like sheep without shepherd, then by all means we must avoid voting CUE.

3. If we don’t mind flagrant lack of transparency, please, please, please, let us NOT vote CUE.

4. If we want Port Harcourt, the mother branch, to remain within limits and without pushing new frontiers and reaching our horizon, then when you see CUE, avoid that name and vote someone else.

5. If we would take the chance of missing out on a firm, decisive and forthright leader who is audacious with maximum composure and ‘steeze ‘, then don’t vote CUE; quote me as having said so.

6. Lastly, if we don’t want NBA PH to become all that it has the potential to be, then this is a strong reason not to vote Mrs. Cordelia Uwuma Eke.

Love and light!

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NIGERIAN LAW SOCIETY: NIMI WALSON-JACK APPEALS NBA JUDGMENT

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary, Mr. Nimi Walson-Jack has appealed the decision of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory which held that NBA has the power to remove or dismiss any erring member of its National Executive Council (NEC).

According to a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, the embattled Bar Leader has filed 6 grounds of appeal challenging the decision of the lower court and seeking an order of the court setting aside the entire judgment.

The legal team is to be led by experienced litigator and Bar Leader, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN.

The statement reads:

HON. NIMI WALSON-JACK, PAST GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION APPEALS DECISION OF HIGH COURT OF FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY IN HON. NIMI WALSON-JACK V NBA – FCT/HC/CV/2534/2023

Recall that the Past General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack commenced an action before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory against the NBA challenging the unlawful and arbitral resolution of the NBA National Executive Council (NBA-NEC) suspending him as a member of the NBA-NEC and stripping him of all privileges accruing to him as a past General Secretary for promoting the Nigerian Law Society (NLS).

On Tuesday, 19th March, 2024, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory delivered its Judgment in favour of the Defendant and held that the Defendant reserves the power to remove or dismiss any erring member of the Council.

Dissatisfied with the Judgment of the Court, Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack has now filed a Notice of Appeal on Thursday, 13th June, 2024 containing 6 grounds of appeal challenging the decision of the lower Court and seeking an order of the Honourable Court setting aside the referenced Judgment.

The Notice of Appeal was filed by the Eminent Silk, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN who is set to lead the team of lawyers representing Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack at the Court of Appeal.

The crux of Hon Walson-Jack’s appeal is that the NBA Constitution does not confer or imply any conferment of any power on the NBA-NEC to either suspend or remove Hon. Walson-Jack from the National Executive Council, hence the act of suspension by the NBA-NEC is ultra-vires.

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LEDAP DEMANDS IMMEDIATE RECALL OF ARASE AS PSC CHAIR

NEWS RELEASE

LEDAP FAULTS THE REMOVAL DR. SOLOMON ARASE AS THE CHAIRMAN OF POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION (PSC); REQUESTS IMMEDIATE REINSTATEMENT OF DR. SOLOMON ARASE.

LEDAP condemns the removal of Dr. Solomon Arase from office of the Chairman of Police Service Commission by the President as the removal process did not follow due process and requirements of the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act 2001. Under the Act, the chairman can only be removed with the vote of the Senate, which was not the case here.

LEDAP demands for his immediate reinstatement and calls on the Federal Government to consistently follow due process in carrying out governance activity.

Section 5 (1) of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Act 2001, provides that, “Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4 of this Act, the Chairman and any other member, may at any time be removed from office by the President acting on an address supported by a two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be removed for inability to discharge the functions of the Office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause of misconduct).”

Recall that, President Tinubu in a statement on June 10th, 2024 also announced to the public the immediate appointment of Mr. Hashimu Arugungu as the new chairman of the PSC, thereby bringing to an abrupt the tenure of Arase.

For: LEDAP – Legal Defence & Assistance Project

Signed:

Nora Asobara
Program Officer

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE LAUDS MAIKYAU FOR LAWYER’S RELEASE BY DSS

NEWS RELEASE

Tobenna Erojikwe Lauds NBA President, Y.C. Maikyau, SAN, for Securing the Release of Lawyer Pius Awoke, Esq., from SSS Detention

Tobenna Erojikwe, the Chairman of the NBA-ICLE and candidate for the presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has commended NBA President Y.C. Maikyau, SAN, OON, for his successful efforts in securing the release of lawyer Pius Awoke, Esq, from the custody of the State Security Services (SSS), also known as the Department of State Services (DSS).

In a statement personally issued and signed by him, Erojikwe said, “I have just received word that our Learned Colleague- Pius Awoke, Esq., has been released by the Department of Security Services (DSS) following the intervention of the Y.C. Maikyau SAN-led Nigerian Bar Association.” He added that Awoke was released alongside “Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso,” a computer science student at Ebonyi State University who was arrested and detained with Mr. Awoke.”

Erojikwe praised Maikyau, stating, “I wish to commend President Y.C. Maikyau SAN, OON, for the great lengths he went towards securing their release and for rising up to the commitment he made to members of the Association and Nigerians at large towards this outcome.”

The successful intervention, according to Erojikwe, “underscores the very pivotal role of the NBA at the intersection between Government and citizen relations.” He emphasised that “a virile NBA is a must-have in our continued quest to hold Government to account and to negotiate the civil liberties of the Nigerian people.”

Erojikwe, who is campaigning for the NBA presidency, used this opportunity to outline his vision for the association. He declared, “The Bar Association I intend to lead, is one where #NoLawyer, and indeed, #NoCitizen of our Country will be left behind in the protection of their inalienable human rights and enforcement of the breach of same.”

He views this commitment not just as a moral imperative but as fundamental to the NBA’s purpose, stating, “Doing this will not just be a moral obligation but also a response to the NBA’s motto of Promoting the Rule of Law—the raison d’être of its mandate.”

This incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by legal professionals and citizens in Nigeria, as well as the critical role played by the NBA in safeguarding civil liberties and upholding the rule of law.

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‘I ENDORSE IKWUAZOM, A LEADER WHO LEADS BY EXAMPLE’ – ONIGEGEWURA

 

The Man I Call C. I.

By Olanrewaju Onigegewura

To most people in the legal circle in Nigeria, he is Learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Among the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, he’s celebrated as a reformative former Chairman. Nationally, he serves as the indefatigable chairman of the SARC for the Nigerian Bar Association, and within the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, he’s recognized as a distinguished Fellow and a constant Faculty member.

However, to Onigegewura, he is simply C.I.

I did not coin the initials. For those conversant with the practice amongst Litigators, it is customary to refer to one’s colleagues by their initials. Therefore, in our days at Aluko & Oyebode, Tunde Fagbohunlu SAN was JBF, Adeniyi Ayodele Adegbonmire SAN (now a Senator) was AAA, Tokunbo Wahab (now Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment) was TW, I was LA, while Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN was CI. In the next one year, I would have known CI for two decades. During this period, C.I. has consistently proven himself to be remarkably dependable, supremely focused, exceptionally industrious, and absolutely reliable.

When I joined the Tier 1 law firm of Aluko & Oyebode as an Associate upon my return from the University of Warwick, I indicated interest in Tax practice. The immediate challenge was that CI had already established a deserved reputation in the Firm as the Tax expert. Others in similar situation would have frowned at a newcomer encroaching onto their turf, not CI. When Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, who was Managing Partner of the Firm at the time, introduced me to CI as the new Tax expert, CI beamed with his characteristic smile and welcomed me to the fold. This gesture set the tone for a relationship based on mutual respect from the outset.

He was impressed with the fact that the thesis for both my first and second degrees focused on Taxation. On my part, I was more impressed with the fact that someone who did not do Taxation in the University had developed himself to become an expert in the Law of Taxation in just a couple of years. My respect for him was tremendous. That’s CI for you: supremely focused.

CI was and is still generous with his mental resources. He was of tremendous assistance in converting my theoretical knowledge of Taxation to practical application. I can’t recall any instance of unhealthy rivalry between us. We shared ideas and knowledge and I am always impressed with his analytical approach to issues. I want to believe that if he had not studied Law, he would have made it as a surgeon. Such is his forensic grasp of issues that one could not but marvel at the surgical manner he deals with legal and tax issues.

Many years later, I was privileged to serve at sub-national level in my field of specialisation; Taxation. Part of my remit was to organise tax training for the Internal Revenue Service personnel. CI proved to be a dependable and invaluable resource person. Anytime any of my invited faculty failed, for some reasons, to show up, CI was my default lecturer. With just a phone call, CI would drop whatever he was doing to speak on any topic I selected for him.

Our deep friendship and brotherhood notwithstanding, we have had cause to appear against each other in contested litigation. Anyone seeing us in court arguing legal points could be forgiven for assuming that we were sworn enemies. On other occasions, we have also collaborated beautifully to the benefit of our respective clients. I recall a Tax case we did before Justice RIB Adebiyi of the High Court of Lagos State. CI appeared with Peters Agboola for the Claimant, and I appeared for the Lagos Internal Revenue Service. The stage was set for an epic battle. However, after the exchange of pleadings, CI and myself sat down together and discussed the issues. That was the end of the case. It was resolved amicably. CI’s clients were happy and Lagos State Government was happy. This epitomises his results driven approach that everyone talks about.

As young tax practitioners, CI suggested that we needed to deepen our knowledge of Taxation. I informed Prof Abiola Sanni SAN who was my Tax Consultant. And that’s how CI and I became members of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria. Today, it is gratifying that we have both become Fellows of that distinguished professional institute.

I was serving at the national level when CI came to Abuja one day to see me. He told me of his intention to serve our home branch of the NBA as the Chairman. Knowing his passion for service and reform, I did not hesitate before endorsing his candidacy. He was massively supported by my former constituency at the Ministry of Justice in Alausa. The rest is history. CI served creditably and passionately, and I believe that the Premier Bar is today all the better for his administration’s massive accomplishment.

To CI, public office is nothing but a platform for service. It is not for personal acclaim, self-glorification or for the putting of one’s face on program fliers. To CI, the essence of being a member of an association is the value he brings to the society. In this, CI has manifested himself. I used to tease him that if I wanted to do a Deed Poll to change his middle name, the only befitting name I would give him is ‘Value Added’.

CI is committed to adding value to whatever project he is committed to. I recall when he confided in me that he wanted to attain the exalted rank of Senior Advocate. The terrain was rough, the challenges were impregnable, and the assignment appeared daunting.

I jokingly asked him if his late dad was a SAN or a JSC. Despite the jokes, I was confident that CI was exceedingly prepared for the journey. Thus, it came as no surprise when I saw the name of my tax partner on the list of successful applicants for the rank alongside our brother, Abdul Muhammed. Eminently qualified, and richly deserving of the prestigious award. We are all products of Aluko & Oyebode, only the best is good enough!

One of the indices for benchmarking a leader is the quality of his appointees, after all, it is only the deep that can call to the deep. In this regard, I believe that CI’s appointment as the Chairman of Security Agencies Relations Committee of the NBA is nothing but inspired. With CI at the helms of the Committee, SARC has continued to foster cooperation and goodwill between the Bar and the security agencies across the federation. CI has been at the forefront of championing the rights of legal practitioners using his characteristic charm, dedication, and focus. I am certain we all remember the yeoman role he played when Uduak Adams, a learned colleague, was tragically and wrongly accused of kidnapping and subsequently subjected to a horrific act of mob violence.

CI is a lawyer’s lawyer. He is a leader who leads by examples and not precepts. He is a friend whose friendship is blind to tribe and gender. He is the athlete who will not drop the baton when it matters most. He is the player who will not drop the ball at the critical time in the game. He is the type of the leader that the Nigerian Bar Association needs at this time of our national development. It appeared to me that our revered jurist, Justice Oputa had CI in mind in 1997 when His Lordship opined that:

“the Nigerian lawyer of today owes important obligations not only to his/her clients and the Courts but also to his community and to society at large. He can no longer be, or remain a stranger to important developments in the political, economic and social affairs of his community and his country. Today, a far greater and more systematic contribution is expected from you lawyers.”

In my humble view, CI is that lawyer who is not a stranger to important developments in the political, economic and social affairs of Nigeria. CI is that lawyer who is committed to providing systematic contributions not only to the NBA but to Nigeria at large.

Onigegewura is my name, and a Man Like Chuka is the Man that the NBA needs.

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NBA ELECTIONS: ‘HOW THE CANDIDATES WILL FARE,’ BY ADEMILUYI

NOTES ON NBA ELECTIONS – PART 2

My first NOTE on the forthcoming NBA 2024 Elections entitled “WHO WINS NBA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 2024?” generated so much heat – applause and criticism alike.

I am not particularly surprised as it is actually my aim to stir a conversation. As I told callers that innudate me with calls, the article is the first in the series of commentaries that I intend to run on the state of the Bar as the elections impend.

One of such callers is my Distinguished Learned Friend, Mayowa Owolabi, a contestant in the last elections in Lagos Branch. After chanting the sobriquet, “FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE” which he always hails me with for my incessant and innumerous Press Releases (😆), he went on to contest vigorously my assertion that Bisi Makanjuola, the incumbent Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch and my fellow (Senior) Alumnus of the Great Ife Law, beat him in the election in a “dazzling razzmatazz” (my words). In reality, he asserted that he lost only by 1 percent and that Bisi Makanjuola and his humble self have been working together for the progress of the Bar.

Curious readers of the first piece will also observe that the piece mentioned the disqualification of Joyce Oduah. Events have since taken a further shape as Joyce Oduah has accepted her fate and has endorsed Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN. Clearly, there is an affinity of a sort between the duo, given the break of the former with Olumide Akpata in the latter days of his Presidency. It however becomes an entire issue how the endorsement is of electoral weight in the changing dynamics of the Presidential race by each dawning day.

This series will not limit itself to the Presidential race alone. According to the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, while the trio of Chukwuka Nwabueze Ikwuazom SAN, Mazi Afam Josiah Osigwe SAN
and Mr. Tobenna Chigbo Erojikwe were cleared for the presidential race, a total number of 6 candidates were cleared to run for the Office of First Vice President, namely Mr. Bartholomew Aguegbodo, Dr. Gerald Ugochukwu Abonyi, Dr. Promise Wobo Iwezor, Mr. Reginald Iheanyichukwu Ugwuadu, Mr. Sabastine Ubua Anyia and Mr. Soseipiriye Williams.

While one of the leading candidates for the Office of the First Vice-President is a former Governor of the Eastern Bar Forum, the organic platform of lawyers from the Eastern Zone extraction, it remains a puzzle in the minds of analysts whether the Eastern Bar Forum is still a relevant clearing-house of candidates in the face of this long list of her members vying for the same position.

For the Office of the Second Vice President, the ECNBA cleared Mrs. Bolatumi Olasunbo Animashaun of NBA Lagos Branch and Mr. Pius Idemudia Oiwoh of NBA Benin Branch. While both branches fall within the Western Zone of the Nigerian Bar Association, it is a matter of introspection for pundits how the candidate from Benin Branch will defeat a candidate from the “Almighty” Lagos Branch and a sole candidate for that matter – in actual fact, a former Vice Chairman of the Branch to boot.

For the office of the Third Vice President, the persons of Mr. Michael Olarenwaju Olorunmola and Mrs. Zainab Aminu Garba have been cleared. While Olorunmola is of Lokoja Branch, thereby qualified as a Member of the Nigerian Bar Association in the Northern Zone, it is altogether another factor how tribe and tongues will play a role in the election into this office.

For the Office of General Secretary, the duo of Mr. Abdulwasiu Alfa and Dr. Mobolaji Idris Ojibara of Ilorin Branch have been cleared. This is actually not Ojibara’s first shot. He has contested for the same office in 2018, losing in a close skirmish with his fellow Ilorin Branch brothers to Gunu Taidi (now SAN) in the Presidency of Paul Usoro SAN. It is altogether another thing how his experience will provide him with an edge against his opponent.

For the Office of Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Barnabas Ehi Henry will be slugging it out with Mr. Oluwaseun Aka of Ikorodu Branch, now popularly known as “Seun Aka of Nigeria”. He is also not a first-time contestant, having lost in 2020 elections to Unchenna Nwadialo, daughter of that legal text writer, Nwadialo on Civil Procedure, and a member of NBA Lagos Branch. It is also a keen contest to watch out for.

For the Office of National Treasurer, Mrs. Blessing Imo Udofa-Poromon, Mrs. Caroline Obi and Mr. Chukwuemeka Aloysius Mbamala were cleared.

For the office of Welfare Secretary, Mr. Aigbokhai Oaikhena Osagie, Mr. Ernest Ezindu Uwanaka and Mr. Nyada Auta were also cleared.

For the office of National Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Bridget Ijeoma Edokwe of “Barrister.ng,” Mr. Charles Olawale Ajiboye, the incumbent National Assistant Publicity Secretary and Mr. Ferdinand Afam Naza, the immediate past National Assistant Publicity Secretary were cleared. It will be recalled that Mr. Ferdinand Afam Naza did not hide his tendential roots and attachment to the regional platform of Eastern Bar Forum and rode consciously on her organisational network to beat Charles Ajiboye of Ikeja Branch in the election of 2020. With the Editor of “Barrister .Ng” in the mix, pundits are weighing in the scales how the “magic wand” of being an “EBF boy” will avail Mr. Ferdinand Afam Naza in the forthcoming election.

For the office of Assistant Publicity Secretary, Miss Ebiere Emmanuella Ekpese will be slugging it out with
Mr. Lawrence Ikpehai Ayewa.

Watch out for the next edition as we reel out systematic analysis of the forces at play in the imminent elections.

AYO ADEMILUYI ESQ is a Bar Activist. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of the groups he belongs to in the Nigerian Bar Association. 

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BREAKING: LAWYER REGAINS FREEDOM AFTER 3 YEARS IN DSS CUSTODY

An Abakaliki based lawyer, Mr. Pius Awoke who has languished in the Department of State Services (DSS) detention without trial for almost three years is set to be freed tomorrow.

Awoke was reportedly arrested by DSS operatives on 27th July, 2021 along Abuja -Lokoja highway while returning to his Abakaliki base after attending a matter in the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The news of the impending release of Awoke after frenzied clamour by Bar Leaders was revealed by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN in a statement today.

Below is the full text of the statement obtained by CITY LAWYER.

NOTICE OF THE RELEASE OF PIUS I. AWOKE, ESQ FROM DETENTION

Distinguished Colleague,

As I indicated in the course of the National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting held on 20 June 2024, I am pleased to inform you that I have, today, 21 June 2024, secured the release of our colleague, Pius I. Awoke, Esq of Abakaliki Branch from the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS). He was released alongside one Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso, a computer science student of Ebonyi State University, who was arrested and detained with Mr. Awoke.

Both Messrs Awoke and Chinonso will be delivered to me at the NBA Secretariat tomorrow 22 June 2024.

I will continue to update you on further developments on this matter.

Please accept, as always, the assurances of my esteemed professional regards.

Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN
PRESIDENT

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NBA PRESIDENCY: ‘WE HAVE NOT ENDORSED ANY CANDIDATE’ – ANAMBRA LAWYERS

RE-ADOPTION OF CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION OF NBA NATIONAL PRESIDENT BY ANAMBRA STATE INDEGINOUS LAWYERS FORUM (ASILF): A REJOINDER BY ASILF

The attention of Anambra State Indigenous Lawyers Forum (ASILF), an umbrella body of Lawyers of Anambra origin, has been drawn to the news making the rounds online a few days ago. In the said news, it was stated that the Noble Association of the Learned persons from Anambra State had earlier last week endorsed the candidature of Mr. Afam Osigwe, SAN, one of the Aspirants to the office of the National President of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA).

We want to use this medium to tell the general public or whosoever it might concern to utterly disregard such a Kangaroo endorsement as such endorsement did not emanate from ASILF. We want to let the general public know that as a standing rule in our noble Association comprising Erudite Scholars, Professors of Law, Senior Advocates of Nigeria(SANS) and other eminent members of the Bar, our organisation does not endorse a candidate as a body especially where sons and daughters of Anambra State origin are involved. However, individual members of the Association can do so on their own accord.

Given the present situation on ground, the three aspirants to the coveted office of NBA national President are all our members having come from Anambra State and Nnewi town precisely. They are all eminently qualified to occupy the exalted office of NBA national President and deliver quality leadership to the Bar.

If at all the Association will endorse any of the candidates aspiring to lead the NBA, it should have been Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN, who has fully supported and assisted the Association in numerous ways to promote her programmes .

Accordingly, let it be known to the general public that we never endorsed nor do we plan to endorse any of the aspirants contesting for the exalted office of NBA national President.

Therefore, kindly disregard any such publications as same did not emanate from us.

Thank you.

Joe Nwokedi, Esq.
President.

Gerty Emeka-Iloegbunam Esq.
Secretary
ASILF

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WHY AFAM OSIGWE IS BEST FIT FOR NBA PRESIDENCY – ENAMHE

SIR DORN CKLAIMZ ENAMHE was Chief of Staff to former Cross River State Deputy Governor, Chief John Okpa. He also served as Special Adviser on Youth to Governor Liyel Imoke and subsequently as Special Adviser (Branding and New Media) to Governor Ben Ayade.

A Chattered Mediator (UK) with expertise in mediation and workplace conflict, Enamhe holds degrees in Agriculture, Sociology, Environmental Science, Education, Law, Public Administration and Political Science.

He is the Alumni Relations Officer for the University of Calabar (UNICAL); Member, NBA Remuneration Committee; Council Member, NBA SPIDEL; National President, Association of Professional Negotiators and Mediators (APNM); Senior Lecturer, University of Calabar, and Deputy Director at DOBOC.

Enamhe is reputed as an avid, principled and well-driven environmentalist with interests in teaching, conflict resolution and peace building.

In this article, he marshals reasons why former NBA General Secretary Afam Osigwe SAN should be elected as the next NBA President.

Mazi Afam Osigwe has over time prepared himself for leadership. His complete understanding of the inner workings of the life of an ordinary lawyer has endeared him to almost all Nigerian lawyers.

So I’m not surprised with the love and followership he has received from both NBA branches in Abia and IMO State. His outing at the football match is a welcome development.

Having decided to run for office of President of NBA, I call on Nigerian lawyers to take advantage of the entrance to the race of a complete Bar-man, Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN who has over time been able to connect with the average lawyer in Nigeria.

The need for Mazi to be elected includes amongst others the fact that all young lawyers and most elders in the Bar find it very easy to connect with Mazi.

Beyond sounding immodest, Mazi Afam has raised the bar so high as NBA National Secretary. Beyond putting himself in the shoes of the ordinary lawyer, he listens and he speaks up.

And as chairman of the Remuneration Committee where I serve, I think he is best fit for NBA Presidency.

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NBA ELECTIONS: ACTIVIST PREDICTS WINNER OF NBA PRESIDENCY

WHO WINS NBA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 2024?

BY AYO ADEMILUYI

Three Candidates have been cleared by the Seun Abimbola SAN-led Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) for the 2024 NBA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. They are Afam Osigwe SAN of NBA Abuja Branch , Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN of Lagos Branch and Tobenna Erijokwe of NBA Lagos Branch.

In a dramatic twist, Joyce Oduah, immediate past General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association was disqualified by the ECNBA on the ground that her contest violates the provision of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association (2019 as amended) to the effect that a National officer of the statute of General Secretary can only run 7 years after holding such a national office. Her appeal at the Elections Appeal Committee has equally been dismissed, leaving her with the only option of approaching the Courts, which she has sworn to do in a recent public statement.

AFAM OSIGWE SAN: THE CANDIDATE TO BEAT?

Clearly, except a “miraculous” comeback of Joyce Oduah, the boxing ring for the NBA PRESIDENCY is set for 3 candidates, earlier highlighted above.

Without being immodest, pundits have opined that Afam Osigwe SAN is the candidate to beat in the forthcoming Presidential elections. Apart from the huge credentials of experience of being a former General Secretary of the Association, there are strong opinions to the effect that Afam Osigwe SAN is the “anointed candidate” of Austin Alegeh SAN, the “Kingmaker” of the Nigerian Bar Association, whom pundits believe has been producing candidates from back-to-back since his emergence as President of the NBA in 2014. It is also a notorious fact that Afam Osigwe SAN served as General Secretary of Austin Alegeh SAN during his reign as President between 2014-2016.

However, pundits are of the view that Afam Osigwe SAN’s road to being “anointed” is a chequered one. It will be recalled that he was disqualified at his first attempt at NBA PRESIDENCY in 2018, with many bookmakers holding the view that this led to a “discord” of a sort between him and his former Principal.

However, pundits have observed that Afam Osigwe SAN has reconciled with his former Principal, given his unbroken hold on the Presidential throne of the Nigerian Bar Association. Needless to say, the reconciliation has brought Osigwe SAN many perks and privileges. Within the 8 years’ interlude, he has taken Silk and now appears the top contender for the Number 1 position in the Nigerian Bar Association.

ALEGEH SAN’S SUPPORT FOR AFAM OSIGWE SAN’S PRESIDENTIAL BID SPLITS THE
“ALEGEH-ISTS”

However, the falcon seems not to hear the falconer, “things have fallen apart” in the camp of the “ALEGEH-ists”, the Orthodox followers of Austin Alegeh SAN who see the 2026 Presidential election as “compensation” for their unalloyed loyalty to their leader, Austin Alegeh SAN.

This explains why Tobenna Erijokwe is in the Presidential race, despite the fact that pundits believe Afam Osigwe SAN is the “anointed” candidate of Austin Alegeh SAN. Indeed, pundits opine that Tobenna Erijokwe is a candidate of the Akpata-ists, a splinter group of the ALEGEH-ists led by the immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata who is now running as Labour Party candidate in the imminent Edo State Gubernatorial Election.

Pundits observed an acrimony of a sort that developed with Olumide Akpata, who is a follower of Austin Alegeh SAN himself and rode to power on the back of a united family of the ALEGEH-ists. The “acrimony” is believed not to be unconnected with the events that trailed the last days of Olumide Akpata as President of the Nigerian Bar Association in the Body of Benchers. The dust is yet to settle in the hallowed Chambers of the Body of Benchers which accounts for the ongoing war of attrition between Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN and Alegeh himself. However, that is another issue entirely and not the focus of this analysis.

The first manifestation of split within the ranks of the ALEGEH-ists was in the battle for the Chairmanship of Lagos Branch, which all pundits have come to believe is the beachhead of winning NBA PRESIDENCY. Olumide Akpata outrightly supported the candidacy of Mayowa Owolabi against the candidacy of Bisi Makanjuola, whom many believed is supported by Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN – for the obvious reason of gaining home support for his NBA PRESIDENTIAL ambition.

For events that have become history, Bisi Makanjuola in a dazzling razzmatazz beat Mayowa Owolabi, the Akpata-ist, in a grand display of show of force by Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN that he still has a deep hold on the voting structures of his Branch as a former Chairman of the Branch between 2017 and 2019. Both Tobenna Erijokwe and Olumide Akpata, the godfathers of Mayowa Owolabi, are veterans of the Section of Business Law of NBA and never commanded leadership of NBA Lagos like Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN. As they say, all politics is local.

The defeat of the Akpata-ists in the local NBA Lagos Branch election did not deter them from pressing forward with their Presidential election. However, the question that is on the lips of many pundits is: Can mere repetition of the “political thunder” of Olumide Akpata by Tobenna Erijokwe that “he is not a SAN” and his impressive innovations and use of contemporary social media platforms as Chairman of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) jell for Tobenna Erijokwe?

The answer is in varied forms. One, Tobenna Erijokwe would have given Afam Osigwe SAN run for his money if Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN is not in the race. By contesting from the same Branch, the duo have split the votes from the Branch into two and made the job of winning the election easier for Afam Osigwe SAN.

Two, Olumide Akpata rode to power on the back of vigorous efforts of a united family of the ALEGEH-ists and his local Branch, the NBA Lagos Branch. However , the split in the ranks of the ALEGEH-ists at the top has also split the ranks of Lagos Branch members into two, especially among the Orthodox Akpata-ists, die-hard canvassers and followers of Olumide Akpata in his PRESIDENTIAL BID, who are now divided into new day Ikwuazom-ites and Tobenna-ites.

WHAT’S THE DYNAMICS BEHIND CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM SAN’S PRESIDENTIAL BID?

For pundits, Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN ‘s entry and traction in the 2024 Presidential race is a new day phenomenon. What is not well known especially to recent observers of NBA national politics is the fact that Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN played a major back-end role in the Presidential candidacy of Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN in the last NBA 2020 elections. However, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN’s contest in the 2020 election could not gain much traction due to the unity and strength of the ALEGEH-ists that drove the Akpata’s campaign. Two is also the fact that the Learned Silk as well as Dele Adesina SAN were swimming against the tide of “anti-SAN” sentiment whipped up by the campaigners of Olumide Akpata. Yet he came second, leaving the perennial contestant in person of Dele Adesina SAN to a distant third. In fact, many pundits believe that Dr. Ajibade SAN’s contest was a reply of a section of lawyers of Yoruba extraction to the perennial contest of Dele Adesina SAN.

Aside this, Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN is also not a newcomer in NBA politics. His Chairmanship of NBA Lagos Branch between 2017 and 2019 is still regarded as a sterling performance. He has equally demonstrated his strong grip of the local voting structures by installing a Chairman of his making in person of the incumbent Chairman, Bisi Makanjuola. He outsmarted the combined energy of Olumide Akpata as immediate past President and Tobenna Erijokwe, who is no political lightweight and a rival in the Presidential election, to the game.

In other words, Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN and the dynamo behind his Presidential campaign is a phenomenon to study for political pundits in the NBA. What is clear is that his campaign rests on two pillars. Clearly, he is a candidate of a section of the Bar who are totally aggrieved of the perennial hold of the ALEGEH-ists on power at the Centre. Two, he is a forerunner of a comeback of Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN in the NBA 2026 Presidential election, which is zoned to the West. A victory for Ikwuazom SAN would mean an break of the hold of the ALEGEH-ist dynasty in the NBA. For sure, whoever wins between Tobenna Erijokwe and Afam Osigwe SAN would mean a continuation of the ALEGEH-ist dynasty as they have roots traceable to the dynasty.

However, pundits have been observing how his campaign tactics can land him the Presidential job. No doubt, he has shown tremendous energy transversing the length and breadth of the country in his capacity as the incumbent Chairman of the Security Agencies ‘Relations’ Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association. His Committee ‘s organising of Town Hall Meetings – starting with that of Western Zone in Lagos – is a masterstroke, powerfully going over the virtual-only contact method used by Tobenna Erijokwe.

However, his campaign handlers have not deployed any serious reply to the volley of virtual webinars doled out ceaselessly by Tobenna Erijokwe. In short, they have left the arena of massive use of the internet for continuing legal education as a means of electoral campaign to Tobenna Erijokwe, who is winning converts daily by such means to his fold.

With Tobenna Erijokwe in the race, Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN’s bloc votes that should have come from the NBA Lagos Branch is split. He would be in better standing if he can appeal to his brother from the same home town, NNEWI to be precise, to “step down” for him.

The possibility or otherwise of that is left for events and destiny to determine. However, given the rugged determination by Tobenna Erijokwe thus far, it looks more like a remote possibility. If it were to be the case, a straight contest between Ikwuazom SAN and Afam Osigwe SAN would have seen Ikwuazom SAN winning the race, with the traction he is gaining among lawyers for his vigorous campaign against brutalization of lawyers.

IS AFAM OSIGWE SAN COASTING HOME TO VICTORY?

Without holding brief for Afam Osigwe SAN, bookmakers are of the view that with two contestants from NBA Lagos Branch, his job has been made simpler.

However, given the traditional campaign style he is utilising, it has little or no shine, especially among young lawyers who have experienced the innovative and modern campaign style of Olumide Akpata, which is now being taken to vigorous levels by Tobenna Erijokwe. The resentment of non-Silks against Silks still exist and runs deep in the Bar which can see a surge in votes for Tobenna Erijokwe against the duo of Afam Osigwe SAN and Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN.

The campaign handlers of Afam Osigwe SAN needs to do a complete overhauling of their campaign tactics in order not to be taken unaware by the thunderstorm that lies ahead .

Whoever wins the Presidential election will clearly be a reminder that power is transient as the ALEGEH-ist hold on power at the centre in the NBA fades away slowly but surely like the morning dew.

  • AYO ADEMILUYI ESQ is a Bar Activist and the views canvassed herein are his personal views and not the positions of the Groupings he belongs to in the Nigerian Bar Association. 

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CIARB NIGERIA YOUNG ARBITRATORS CONFAB HOLDS NOV. 6

NEWS RELEASE

SAVE THE DATE: CIArb Young Members Group Day – Join us for an Insightful day of learning and networking! November 6, 2024 (ABUJA)

Imagine the last time you had an opportunity that changed your career trajectory or the last event that opened new doors for you. As young arbitration professionals, it’s crucial to seize every chance to grow and connect.

That’s why we are thrilled to invite you to our upcoming CIARB Young Members Group Day. The CIARB Young Members Group Day opens up the Annual CIArb Conference which starts on 6th November and concludes on 8th November, 2024.

It promises to be a milestone in your professional journey – a time to learn, network, and draw inspiration from seasoned practitioners.

Event Details:
Date: November 6, 2024
Theme: BUILDING THE BASIC- YOUNG VOICES IN ADR

Mark your calendars now and don’t miss out on this exceptional opportunity to advance your career in arbitration. Spread the word and share this exciting event with your network!

Use #YoungArbitrators or #Youngvoicesinarbitration and tag us at @ciarbymgnigeria

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TOBENNA EROJIKWE, NBA-ICLE TO TRAIN NORTHERN LAWYERS ON MINING LAW

NEWS RELEASE

TOBENNA EROJIKWE LED NBA-ICLE TO TRAIN LAWYERS IN NORTHERN NIGERIA ON MINING LAW AND PRACTICE

The Nigerian Bar Association Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE), under the leadership of Tobenna Erojikwe, has announced that it will be providing free training on mining law and practice for lawyers practicing in and around Kaduna State and Northern Nigeria as a whole.

The training, which aims to equip participating lawyers with the necessary knowledge and practical skills to effectively advise on and handle mining and mining law matters, is scheduled to take place as part of the events marking Kaduna Bar Law Week, which commences on June 21, 2024. The mining law training in particular will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation Hall, Race, Kaduna.

According to Tobenna Erojikwe, “The rationale for this training is that we have seen a significant upsurge in commercial mining activities around Northern Nigeria, and the companies that undertake these activities require lawyers who understand the industry to advise them, but the capacity to deliver is oftentimes lacking, thus forcing the clients to seek legal advice elsewhere, including outside Nigeria.”

He continued, “Our objective at the NBA-ICLE is to democratise knowledge as much as possible, deepen legal capacity across various subject areas, and enable lawyers to venture into new fields of practice so as to earn more from their practice. Litigation alone, which most lawyers are engaged in, would not do it. It is for this reason that we are targeting different zones across the country and taking trainings that are relevant to their respective jurisdictions directly to their doorsteps.”

“We believe that by providing this mining law training, we are not only equipping lawyers in the region with the necessary skills to tap into the opportunities presented by the mining industry, but we are also contributing to the overall economic development of Northern Nigeria,” Erojikwe added.

The training, which is being organised in partnership with the leadership of the Kaduna Branch of the NBA, will feature a distinguished panel of highly experienced and knowledgeable experts in the mining space. “We have assembled a team of seasoned professionals who have a deep understanding of the legal and regulatory framework governing the mining sector in Nigeria,” Erojikwe stated. “Participants can expect to receive practical insights and guidance that will position them to provide top-notch legal services to clients in this crucial industry.”

Erojikwe emphasised that the NBA-ICLE remains committed to its mission of continuous legal education and capacity building for lawyers across Nigeria. “This mining law training is just one of many initiatives we have planned for the year,” he said. “We are constantly seeking opportunities to collaborate with various stakeholders, including NBA branches, to deliver high-quality training programmes that are tailored to the specific needs of lawyers in different regions of the country.

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NBA ELECTIONS: ECNBA UNVEILS CANDIDATES’ MANIFESTOS

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has published the official magazine for the forthcoming NBA Elections.

A statement by the electoral umpire on the eagerly awaited magazine reads:

Distinguished Colleagues,

As campaigns have commenced in earnest, we are pleased to inform you that the details of the candidates contesting for various positions, including their curriculum vitae and manifestos, have been compiled in an election campaign magazine. Under Parts IV and V of our constitution, this magazine has been published on the NBA and ECNBA websites.

Access the document:
Visit our website and click on the Candidates tab to review the document and get to know the candidates. You may also follow this direct link to access the Candidates Campaign Magazine.

Oluseun Abimbola SAN,                                                                                     Huwaila Muhammad Ibrahim,
Chairman                                                                                                               Secretary

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AFAM OSIGWE EXCITES UNITY BAR FOOTBALL TEAM

NEWS RELEASE

Mazi Afam Josiah Osigwe, SAN, Graces Unity Bar Football Team Match Against Profile FC; Receives Overwhelming Endorsement from the Team

Mazi Afam Josiah Osigwe, SAN, attended the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja branch (Unity Bar) Football Team match against Profile FC. His attendance was a significant highlight, demonstrating his ongoing commitment to community engagement and the well-being of the members of our great association.

Mazi Afam Osigwe’s presence at the match was met with great enthusiasm and appreciation from both players and supporters. His support provided a notable morale boost to the Unity Bar Football Team, underlining his dedication to fostering unity and camaraderie within the legal community.

During the event, Mazi Afam Osigwe took the time to interact with team members, sharing words of encouragement and expressing his vision for a more inclusive and supportive Nigerian Bar Association. His genuine interest in the team’s activities and his approachable demeanour resonated deeply with everyone present.

The match itself was thrilling, showcasing the talent and teamwork of the Unity Bar Football Team as they competed vigorously against Profile FC. However, the highlight of the day was the overwhelming endorsement Mazi Osigwe received from the Unity Bar Football Team. The players and supporters unanimously expressed their admiration for his leadership qualities, his unwavering commitment to professional excellence, and his proactive approach to addressing the needs of all lawyers.

The endorsement by the Unity Bar Football Team reflects a strong belief in Mazi Afam Osigwe’s ability to lead the Nigerian Bar Association with integrity and vision. His support for initiatives like the Unity Bar Football Team highlights his understanding of the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and community spirit in building a robust and cohesive Bar Association.

Mazi Afam Josiah Osigwe, SAN, has consistently demonstrated a dedication to the values that bind our community together. His presence at the match and his interaction with the team members underscored his commitment to fostering a sense of unity and belonging among all members of the Bar.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Mazi Afam Osigwe for gracing the event with his presence and for his continued support of the Unity Bar Football Team. His endorsement by the team is a clear testament to the respect and trust he has earned within the profession.

As we look forward to the future, we are confident that under Mazi Afam Osigwe’s leadership, the Nigerian Bar Association will continue to thrive and achieve new heights of excellence and unity. His proactive and inclusive approach promises a brighter future for all members of our esteemed association.

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OSIGWE, IKWUAZOM, EROJIKWE: WHO WILL LEAD NBA?

Every two years, Nigerian Lawyers go to polls to pick their national officers; and this year, 2024, is an election year for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). For this year’s election, three candidates are vying for the position of President of NBA; Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN; Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN and Tobenna Erojikwe. As the three Candidates lock horns for the contest which will be held electronically and by universal suffrage next month, as usual, Onikepo Braithwaite and Jude Igbanoi fielded questions for each of the Candidates, to know more about them and how they’ll run the NBA, if Nigerian Lawyers entrust them with the mandate

1) Kindly, tell us briefly about your career as a practitioner, what roles you may have played in the NBA in the past, and what support you have given to our Association

2) Why should Nigerian Lawyers entrust you with running the affairs of the Association for the next two years? What have you done to secure their confidence in you, enough to cast their votes for you?

3) What would you say is the edge you have over your other contenders for the office of NBA President? What are the main points of your campaign? And, how do you intend to fulfil your promises in your two-year tenure?

4) The Nigerian Bar Association has in the past years been called to question by Nigerian Lawyers, over its handling of national issues and the loss of its voice when it matters most. How do you intend to return the NBA to its place of relevance and glorious days of Presidents like Alao Aka-Bashorun?

5) There has mostly been a no-love-lost relationship between NBA Presidents and General Secretaries. How will you ensure this doesn’t happen in your tenure as President, if and when you win?

6) new Remuneration Order 23 has excited Nigerian Lawyers. How will you ensure that Lawyers are well remunerated when you become NBA President, particularly the young Lawyers who are poorly paid by Seniors?

7) Many Lawyers have been brought before the Disciplinary Committee, including very senior Lawyers, and most of them seem to either get away with their wrongdoing or get off lightly. How will you handle the menace of Lawyers engaging in abuse of court processes like forum shopping, filing matters in courts that don’t have jurisdiction etc?

8) Encroachment on the legal profession by other professionals is a huge threat that the NBA hasn’t been able to exterminate over the years. Lawyers continue to lose revenue to Accountants, Surveyors and others. What is the way out? What about the influx of foreign Lawyers into our jurisdiction, which is on the rise? How will you handle this if elected?

9) level of confidence do you have in the ECNBA to deliver a credible, free and fair election, that will usher you into office?

Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN

1) I started my legal practice during my compulsory National Youth Service with Chike Chigbue & Co. in their Abuja Office in 1999. In 2002, I founded the Law Forte (Legal Practitioners, Corporate Consultants, and Notary Public) in Abuja, where I currently serve as the Senior Partner. In 2006, I became a Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. I have expertise in legal advisory, banking law, corporate law, arbitration, property law, civil litigation, and commercial practice, among other relevant fields.

As a member of the NBA Abuja Branch, I have had the privilege of serving in various roles at the chapter, State, and national levels of the NBA. I served as the Publicity Secretary between 2006-08 at NBA Abuja, and then served as Chairman of the Branch in 2010-12. I have served in various committees, always ensuring diligence and the overall delivery of optimum results.

As Chairman of NBA Abuja, the Unity Bar FC (the football club of the NBA Abuja Branch), was transformed into a laurel-winning team. I love sports and encourage the development of skills, while fostering unity and comradeship. I also am an ardent mentor to young Lawyers, contributing to the growth of the Bar. I contributed to the continuing professional development CPD, by writing papers and journals on viewpoints and various subjects that relate to the advancement of the legal profession.

I served as General Secretary of the NBA (2014-2016). I was also a member of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (2014-2016). I was a member of The Council of Legal Education (2015-18), a member General Council of the Bar (2015-2022), and I am a Life Bencher (Life Member of the Body of Benchers of Nigeria). I was a prosecutor at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee of the Body of Benchers from 2012-2014, until I was elected the General Secretary of the NBA. I am currently the Chairman of the NBA National Remuneration Committee, where we are creating a policy to ensure the better welfare of Lawyers, by ensuring we are remunerated correctly for the services we offer.

2) I believe Nigerian Lawyers can confidently entrust me with the running of the Affairs of the NBA. I am a dedicated and pragmatic leader, which can be seen through the diligent work which I have done in the different roles I have played over the years. I believe that active participation and leadership, are the keys to driving meaningful change within any organisation. Rather than merely voicing dissatisfaction or proposing improvements from the sidelines, I am committed to offering my services to enact the positive changes and leadership our Association needs.

As NBA President, my key priorities will be multifaceted, addressing both immediate concerns and long-term strategic goals. In the short term, I will focus on enhancing access to justice, promoting professional development opportunities, and fostering a culture of inclusivity within the Association. In the medium term, my goals include strengthening the rule of law, advocating for legislative reforms, and addressing systemic challenges facing the legal profession. Ultimately, my long-term vision is to position the NBA as a proactive force for positive change in Nigerian society, championing justice, equality, and the rule of law.

They should entrust me to raise an NBA that provides a professional and inclusive platform where every Lawyer, regardless of experience level, can contribute meaningfully. That has been my leadership over the years. My focus will be on delivering tangible benefits to our members, fostering professional development, and creating a wealth of opportunities for all. Moreover, I am committed to ensuring the NBA operates with transparency and accountability, in the management of its resources. I am confident that I can enhance the public perception of our Association, improve member benefits, and create an inclusive environment where all members – regardless of age, gender, political affiliation, or religious belief – can actively participate in governance. My vision is for the NBA to reclaim its rightful place, as a leading professional body in Nigeria.

I am particularly committed to ensuring that all members – especially those who are disabled, vulnerable, female, aged, and young – receive the full benefits of their membership. Additionally, I aim to strengthen and unify the Bar. My tenure as Chairman and General Secretary, provided me with valuable insights into the complexities of managing a diverse and dynamic organisation like the NBA. I learned the critical importance of fostering unity, addressing member concerns, and advocating for the integrity of our profession. These experiences have equipped me with the skills and perspectives, necessary to navigate the challenges and maximise the opportunities of the NBA Presidency.

I want to be part of NBA that’s engaging and achieving practical results, without spending so much money organising conferences all the time and achieving nothing in the lives of members. The NBA was at one time focused on the delivery of services; it was known for action, not words. The NBA must get out of hotel rooms and conferences, and impact positively in the lives of Lawyers.

3) I would say my edge over the other candidates, is my years (experience) built over time from the various roles I have played in the Association. With due respect to other contestants, I have been involved in several policies and activities to move the Bar forward. I am driven by a deep belief in the crucial role our Association plays in upholding the rule of law, and advancing the welfare of all Lawyers. My candidacy is distinguished by a commitment to transparency, inclusivity, and effective leadership. My vision is to proactively identify problems, anticipate challenges, and deliver solutions that create a wealth of opportunities and benefits for every Lawyer. My mission is to improve the standing of the Association, by proactively addressing issues that impact our members. This involves promoting the welfare and working environment of Lawyers, and ensuring that all members – particularly female, senior, and young Lawyers – reap the full benefits of their Association membership. By focusing on these goals, I aim to foster a more supportive and dynamic professional community.

The main points of my campaign are to enhance members’ welfare and development through: the promotion and protection of the interest of Lawyers. We shall create an Endowment Fund for legal education, and ensure the protection of the legal industry in Nigeria by ensuring non-Lawyers and foreigners do not carry out legal services reserved for our Lawyers. We shall also ensure the protection, security and dignity of members.

I will strengthen the Human Rights Committee of NBA by establishing a Human Rights Attorney Support Network, by Reinvigorating Public Confidence in the NBA and strengthening Institutional Structures and Efficiency.

4) I intend to reinvigorate public confidence in the NBA and indeed, return her to her glory days or might I say more glorious days, as the glory of the new should surpass the former. I will structure a more effective and proactive response, to human rights initiatives and public advocacy. I intend to set up a standing Litigation Committee that will institute actions in respect of alleged human rights violations, as well as other matters of public interest to the legal profession. This Committee will also work with the human rights committee of Branches to render pro bono services to deserving members of the public, and also take requisite legal action where Lawyers have been assaulted, harassed, or prevented from carrying out their lawful duties.

The NBA, being a strategic Association in the polity, must play the role of a watchdog. I will therefore, ensure we watch events in the polity, comment critically on same, proffer advice/solutions, and also render legal services and assistance where necessary. The NBA under my watch, shall consistently speak up on issues affecting the legal profession and administration of justice, constructively engage with the various tiers of government and other stakeholders, and present proposals and blueprints for dealing with such issues. We will shape opinions and influence decisions that will improve the administration of justice, reform the Judiciary, and engender due process of law and the fortunes of our society. NBA under my watch, will not be found wanting in this regard. We will live up to the billings. We will ensure the NBA maintains its leading role in matters of National Public Interest, as well as engage in ‘Rule of Law’ advocacy. Many feel that the NBA is unresponsive to their needs, particularly when they encounter challenges while serving their clients. Additionally, there is a perception that the NBA fails to voice its stance during critical national moments. My goal is to address these concerns by ensuring that the NBA becomes more engaged, supportive, and vocal. I am committed to leading an NBA that not only listens to its members, but also advocates for them effectively.

5) In my tenure as General-Secretary, I had a thriving work relationship with the then President of the Association, Augustine Alegeh, SAN, which has continued even after our tenure in office. We routinely have retreats and hangouts for the entire team I served with even during the NBA conferences, which fosters fellowship. When I was Chairman, I ensured a harmonious relationship with my excos, and ensured teamwork was the order of the day. My relationship with my excos, has continued till today.

Naturally, conflicts can arise from human relations, but, they need to be avoided and managed with understanding and maturity at all times. When conflicts occur, it is necessary that they are managed in such a way that they do not embarrass the Bar. Matters should be handled internally, with professionalism. I will imbibe adequate team spirit and a good leadership style, that ensures every member of the NBA leadership team and the entire Bar works harmoniously. Everyone has something to contribute, to the proactive Bar. I encourage ideas, contributions, and even criticism

6) It should be noted that the Legal Practitioners (Remuneration for Business, Legal Services and Representation) Order, 2023 which was made by the Legal Practitioners Remuneration Committee (the Committee) and signed into law on May 16, 2023 in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 15(3) of the Legal Practitioners Act, does not extend to fixing or prescribing minimum salary or remuneration to be paid to young Lawyers employed in private legal practice or some other form of employment. It is therefore, a misconception to say that it is expected to address the “poor remuneration” of Lawyers.

The responsibilities of the Remuneration Committee of the Bar (NBA) are (1) receiving and considering application for an approval or refusal from a legal practitioner who intends to charge or agree to any remuneration for any business or service which is lower than the amount specified for any of the businesses or services in Scales 1- 5, in the Schedule to the Order; (2) receiving a report from a person who has knowledge that a legal practitioner has charged or agreed to a remuneration in contravention of the provisions of the Order, investigating the infraction and upon a prima facie case being made, reporting the erring legal practitioner to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee; and (3) receiving an affidavit from any legal practitioner who in consideration of his/her relationship with his/her client by consanguinity or affinity, charged no fees for legal services provided to the client an affidavit disclosing the facts and circumstances justifying rendering gratuitous service to such client.

As can be seen from the above, the functions of the Remuneration Committee do not extend to fixing or prescribing minimum salary or remuneration to be paid to young Lawyers employed in private legal practice or some other form of employment. Sadly, the NBA and the Legal Practitioners Remuneration Committee do not have any power whatsoever, to fix the minimum wage for Lawyers. The National Assembly has the power as prescribed in its exclusive power, to make laws for minimum wage in the Minimum Wage Act (Item 34 of the Exclusive Legislative List). As President, I will prescribe to the National Exclusive Council of the NBA to issue a directory to Lawyers and NBA Branches, to stipulate a minimum wage to be paid to Lawyers in private practice.

7) The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), is in charge of the discipline of Lawyers. I will ensure that the Committee carries out its functions effectively and efficiently, to bring to book those who are in default or in the wrong. The importance of discipline cannot be overemphasised, as it protects the nobility of the legal profession. I will advocate for the amendment of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee Rules 2020, to fully restore the role and power of the NBA in the investigation of complaints of professional misconduct against legal practitioners.

I will establish disciplinary committees across all Branches, to monitor the compliance of Lawyers with the dress code, conduct, and activities in courts. Prioritise disciplinary proceedings, to ensure that petitions against Lawyers are expeditiously determined. Pursue an aggressive awareness campaign, to draw attention and remind members of compliance and infraction issues. Enhance self-regulation of Lawyers by the NBA, as part of her disciplinary mechanism.

8) I will utilise litigation and advocacy to ensure that non-legal practitioners are precluded from the legal services industry. I will protect the legal industry in Nigeria from the influx of foreign law firms and practices by non-law firms. Commence disciplinary actions against Lawyers who advance such. It is in violation of the laws. It’s not proper for them to take jobs, meant for Nigerian Lawyers.

9) I have a laudable level of confidence, in the ECNBA. To the best of my knowledge, the ECNBA will not fail to deliver a free and fair election. The men and women who make it up are people of integrity, and I have no doubt they will live up to the expectations placed on them to ensure an impartial election.

The integrity of the ECNBA ensures a just and unbiased election, as has been tested and is trusted to deliver the will of the Lawyers who have voted over the years. As such, I have complete trust in the system, I have complete trust in the ECNBA.

Thank you Learned Silk. Best of luck in the election.

Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN

1) I received my LLB degree from the University of Nigeria in 2000, and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 2002. I gained admission to Columbia University, New York, where I earned an LLM in 2009. Notably, I was honoured with the Harlan Foske Stone Prize for academic excellence and awarded the Judith R. and Michael E. Thoyer scholarship at Columbia University.

Admitted to both the Nigerian and New York State Bars, my expertise spans diverse practice areas. I have litigated landmark cases and advised on complex commercial transactions. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.

I am a Partner at Aluko & Oyebode, where I lead the Taxation Practice. In 2020, I was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

I have actively served the NBA in diverse roles. As a member of the NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), I served as Vice-Chairman of its Employment and Industrial Relations Committee for two terms. I was a member of the Technical Committee on Conference Planning for the NBA Annual General Conferences in 2019 and 2020 and the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the 2019 Conference.

In 2017, I was elected Chairman of the NBA Lagos Branch. As Chairman, I pioneered several transformative policies and practices that redefined leadership at the Branch. I initiated knowledge-sharing sessions at Branch meetings, introduced individual and group mentorship programmes for young Lawyers, reconstituted the Branch’s Continuing Legal Education Committee and provided leadership and direction for the Committee to deliver free and regular professional training and seminars to members. My administration institutionalised financial accountability and transparency by providing detailed, easily understandable, and scrutable monthly financial reports to members. Under my Chairmanship, the Judiciary Relations Committee of the Branch collaborated with the Commercial Disputes Legal Network to produce the Administration of Civil Justice Bill, a transformative Bill that will significantly address the challenges with administration of justice in Nigeria. This Bill has been enacted into law, by Ekiti and Delta State.

My administration commenced the construction of a befitting Bar Centre for the Lagos Branch, and left a significant amount in the Bar Centre account. Currently, I serve as the Chairman of the Building Committee of the Lagos Branch.

I served as a member of the National Executive Council of the NBA for an unbroken period of 4 years (2017 to 2021) and was reappointed in 2022 for a two-year term. I currently chair the NBA Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC).

In recognition of my notable contributions to the Bar, I was honoured with a distinguished service award by the NBA Lagos Branch during its 2023 Annual Dinner and Awards Night.

2) I have the relevant experience to lead the NBA, having chaired its largest Branch with distinction, having been a member of the National Executive Committee for more than 5 years, and having held high office in one of the most vibrant Sections of the NBA (the NBA-SBL). The transformative policies and practices pioneered by my administration in the Lagos Branch, have been adopted by other Branches, and even at the national level.

As a partner in Aluko & Oyebode since 2011, I have been part of the leadership group of one of Nigeria’s most successful law firms for 13 years, and learned useful lessons in leadership that I will deploy as President of the NBA. My membership of the New York State Bar, has also exposed me to how an association of Lawyers can be run effectively and efficiently.

I have the right values, competence and vision to lead the NBA, at this critical period of our journey. As Chairman of the NBA-SARC, I have demonstrated that I can speak truth to power, and that the NBA under me will fulfil its mandate of upholding the rule of law.

3) All three of us running for President, are good. However, I believe that I stand out from the other candidates. First, and with every sense of humility, of the other two candidates, one has never chaired a Branch, section or forum in the NBA, and although the other candidate has, he does not have the track record of excellent performance that I have. Secondly, I am the only candidate whose practice spans both corporate commercial work and litigation, and this puts me in a position to understand and proffer solutions to the challenges faced by both parts of the profession. Thirdly, neither of the other two candidates has my experience, being a part of the leadership team of a large commercial firm.

In my manifesto, I have listed several issues I intend to deal with as NBA President, but, the three things I will focus on primarily are: justice sector reform, regulation of the profession and welfare of the legal profession. Regarding justice sector reform, I will, among other things, push for the enactment of the Administration of Civil Justice Bill, ensure that we send our best to represent us in institutions such as the NJC and FJSC, institute a nationwide court monitoring system, push for statutory and constitutional reforms to eliminate undue delays in our justice delivery.

As it concerns the regulation of the legal profession, I will push for the enactment of the Legal Profession Regulation Bill. I believe that the proposals contained in that Bill, will go a long way in addressing the many regulatory challenges we face in the legal profession. Finally, to improve the welfare of the legal profession, I will devise innovative ways to enforce the Remuneration Order, 2023.

4) As NBA President, my approach will be both decisive and fearless in defending the rule of law and protecting human rights. The current state of impunity and undermining of the rule of law by security agencies and public office holders in Nigeria, calls for a resolute and fearless NBA.

Under my leadership, the NBA will prioritise the defence of the rule of law and the protection of the rights of members of the Bar, the Bench, and the public.

In my role as Chairman of the NBA-SARC, I have consistently spoken out against the wrongful conduct of security agencies.

5) One of the most important qualities I have imbibed working at Aluko & Oyebode for about 22 years, is the ability to work in a team and value the contributions of every member of the team. In our firm, the ability to work well as a member of a team, is a key performance indicator.

Throughout my time as Chairman of the Lagos Branch, disagreements among members of the Exco were swiftly resolved, and never made it to the public. As President, I will accord respect to every member of the National Executive Committee, and allow them to carry out their constitutional responsibilities.

6) As partners and leaders in our respective law firms, the three candidates in this election have had opportunity to implement the spirit of the Order in our firms. Any leader who fails to provide a decent wage to his employees, lacks the moral authority to enforce the standards under the Order. Young Lawyers know which firm among those of the candidates, offers the most competitive wages and benefits.

Under the Rules of Professional Conduct, 2023, non-compliance with the scale of charges prescribed under the Order is professional misconduct. The NBA under my watch, will strongly advocate for compliance with the scale of charges. We will put structures in place to ensure prompt reporting, swift prosecution of defaulters and devise innovative ways of enforcing the scale of charges.

7) As President, I will push for the overhauling of the disciplinary processes in the profession, in line with the proposals contained in the Legal Profession Regulation Bill. The current centralisation of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee and the undue delay in concluding disciplinary proceedings, do not promote discipline.

The NBA under my watch will put in place mechanisms that ensure that professional misconduct is promptly punished, regardless of the stature of the offender.

8) The Legal Practitioners’ Act and the Rules of Professional Conduct, make clear provisions on who can practice law in Nigeria. The NBA under my leadership, will jealously guard the right to practice law in Nigeria, which is the exclusive preserve of Nigerian Lawyers. We will set up monitoring teams across the country, and ensure that the full weight of the law is brought upon offenders.

9) I have great confidence, in the integrity of the Chairman and members of the ECNBA. I also trust that the President of the NBA, is determined to give us a credible election. However, given that technology is not failproof, we must all continue to pay close attention to, monitor and interrogate, the process.

Thank you, Learned Silk. Best of luck in the election.

Tobenna Erojikwe

1) My name is Tobenna Erojikwe. I was called to the Nigerian Bar in year 2000. Immediately after my call to Bar, I started my law practice career as an Associate at The Law Crest LLP. I practiced as a litigator and as a transaction Lawyer for a number of years before heading out to England, where I qualified as a Solicitor of the Superior Courts of England and Wales. Over a 10 year practice period in England, I worked in the private and public sector, specialising in Urban Regeneration Financing and Major Infrastructure Projects Advisory. I worked on many ground breaking transactions, and had the privilege of advising on some of the most notable urban regeneration projects in Europe. I returned to Nigeria in 2014 and have been a senior partner at the Law Crest LLP since then, working mostly now on energy related transactions.

I am a member of NBA Lagos Branch. I was co-opted as a member of the Exco of the Branch for 4 years, over two consecutive administrations. During that period, I also served as Chairman of the Branch’s Continuing Legal Education Committee. I am a member of the Section on Business Law (SBL) and have played roles in the Section, including being a member of the Task Force on the Enforcement of the Local Content Act.

At the National level of the NBA, I served as a member of the Finance Committee, General Purposes Committee and member of the Legal Education Committee. I was Chairman of the Technical Committee on Conference Planning for the NBA Annual General Conference in 2022. In 2022, I was appointed to represent the NBA at the National Judicial Council for a period of 2 years. I was the Chair of the Policy Formulation and Project Implementation Team during the Olumide Akpata administration of the NBA.

I am currently the Chairman of the NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

2) In the time that I have been involved in the NBA, I have had the privilege of being appointed to significant roles in the Association. I have discharged my responsibilities to the very best of my abilities. At the Branch level, I lead a team that transformed the Continuing Legal Education design of the Branch, and laid a solid foundation over a period of 4 years for sustainability and progress. As Chairman of the Board of the NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education, I have also led a team that has transformed that Institute from a previously moribund organ of the NBA to perhaps, the most effective organ. Over 200 world class trainings, a 700 man Mentoring Scheme, a Virtual Library, strategic partnerships with notable local and international organisations including Universities and law firms and more, stand to the credit of that Institute.

In my time in the NBA, I have shown a capacity to provide leadership and to develop creative and innovative ways of solving problems. In my role as Chair of policy formulation and project implementation during the Akpata administration, I demonstrated leadership in the development of workable ideas and implementation of complex initiatives. I have worked across two jurisdictions as a litigator and transaction Lawyer, in private practice and the public sector. I have over the years, garnered extensive experience and exposure which I consider crucial for the type of NBA that we intend to build. In the course of my career, I have through training and work experience, garnered extensive administrative and management experience which should serve me well if elected President of the NBA.

3) I will be running on my record of service to the Association, and the ascertainable value that I have led various teams at various levels in the NBA to achieve. I think that the work that I have done and continue to do in the NBA, gives the electorate great insights to my character, philosophy and ideology. For instance, the way and manner that I have run the Institute, illustrates my belief in investing in people and promotion of social mobility.

There are 3 main thrusts of my aspiration, and they are as follows: (a)To restore the Dignity of the Bar and reactivate its voice as a promoter of the Rule of Law – this would include a proactive approach to matters that relate to the Independence of the Bar, Independence of the Judiciary and Protection of Human Rights of citizens; (b) The restructuring of the the governance and administrative framework of the profession; and (c) Empowerment of members of the Bar through creating platforms of upliftment. The breakdown of the plans for my administration, are contained in my manifesto.

What I have found in the NBA, is that we spend an inordinate amount of time discussing things that we had discussed before. So, I will seek to implement resolutions of the NBA that had been previously passed, but not implemented. We will start immediately to implement the Access to Finance Scheme, Court Monitoring Scheme, Secretariat Reform, pursuing legislative advocacy for the passing of the Legal Education Bill, etc. We already have NEC approval to implement these schemes, so, implementation will start immediately and be completed within 9 months of the administration.

4) Nigeria needs credible men and strong institutions to play their role in its affairs, if it is going to achieve sustainable and positive growth. My antecedents clearly attest to the fact that I have always expressed my views on matters of national importance, and will not be afraid to speak the truth as the need and occasion requires.

5) Every member of the National Executive Committee of the NBA is elected independently, so, each would have an idea of how they think that the Association should be run, but, the buck stops with the President who has the responsibility to provide leadership and direction for the Association. If elected President , I will set out a clear vision of leadership and will ensure that positive ideas from the Manifesto of other officers are included in the administration’s implementation roadmap. My focus will be on delivering value to the Association, and I will apply the leadership and management skills that I have acquired over the years to my Presidency of the Bar.

6) As you may be aware, in my role as the Chair of the Policy Formulation and Project Implementation Team during the Akpata administration, I played a major role in developing the terms of reference for the Remuneration Committee. The NBA spent two years developing the policies regarding remuneration including elements that had to do with a minimum wage scale. In the short term, we will immediately start implementing the aspects of the White paper on Remuneration which have not yet been implemented. We will also immediately start pushing for the harmonised version of the Legal Practitioners Bill, to be passed. The Bill contains proposals on far reaching structural changes, that would deal with most of the issues mentioned.

Most importantly, we will be deliberate in investing human and material resources on capacity building, whilst seeking to expand the legal practice market by insisting on the full implementation of the LPA and the Local Content Act. We need to check the excesses of government officials who breach these rules, and fight to see that all earning opportunities for Lawyers are protected and properly ring fenced.

7) I will lead from the front on all matters that concern the Bar, and the ethical conduct of members. We have paid very scant attention to ethical standards and consequence management for bad conduct. I think it critical that we understand that, trust is an important aspect of our craft. We should do all within our power to ensure that we enjoy the confidence of the public, by having a disciplinary framework and an enforcement mechanism that instils confidence in members of the profession and the public. For the NBA to compete in an increasingly globalised world, the profession and its members must pay keen attention to the enforcement of ethical standards. Unfortunately, the role of the NBA in the disciplinary process is almost non-existent. The NBA under my watch, will discuss the introduction of a more effective and efficient disciplinary system with the CJN and BOB, and seek to establish a decentralised system for determining culpability and enforcement of same. In the meantime, wherever the NBA finds credible information about infractions such as forum shopping, such matters will be reported to the LPDC by the NBA

8) It is difficult to consider issues in isolation, so, in the long term, we must have the harmonised version of the Legal Profession which contains draft provisions on post-education qualification training regime including pupillage and mandatory continuing legal education. I make this point because efficient service delivery, is key to survival in the legal industry space. We must therefore, invest in career development so our that practices have the capacity to deliver services efficiently.

9) The Chairman of the ECNBA is a distinguished colleague, and has conducted himself very professionally throughout the process so far. My main concern, which I have written to the ECNBA about, is that the ECNBA hasn’t followed the process set out in the NBA Constitution. Following the provisions of the NBA Constitution, gives confidence to the system.

Thank you. Best of luck in the election.

  • Culled from THISDAY LAWYER

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NBA PORT HARCOURT HONOURS CORDELIA EKE WITH SERVICE AWARD

Honour again came the way of a leading chairmanship candidate in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Port Harcourt Branch Elections, Mrs. Cordelia Eke as she has been bestowed with a prestigious Service Award by the branch.

The award was given to Eke at the recent “NBA Port Harcourt 2024 Awards” hosted by the branch at the NBA Port Harcourt Branch House Auditorium. The Awards ceremony was tagged “A day of distinction: Celebrating exceptional service to the Bar.” 

The Award to the Bar Leader is titled “Award of dedicated service” in recognition of Eke’s “dedicated service to the branch at the National level.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Eke has held several sensitive positions at both branch and national levels including Secretary of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) and also Secretary of the NBA Electoral Reform Committee (NBAERC).

A pioneer female Secretary of the branch, she is on course to also emerge as the pioneer female Chairman of the mega branch. 

Currently a Director in the Rivers State Ministry of Justice where she holds sway as a no-nonsense criminal trial prosecutor, Eke has been actively engaged in mediation, civil and criminal litigation at the high court, Appeal court, and the Supreme court for over 20 years.

She is also the President of the influential 1995 Law School Class. A Rivers State Representative in the Eastern Zone Management Committee of the NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Eke holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (now Rivers State University), Port Harcourt, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Public International Law, from the University of Kent, Canterbury in the United Kingdom. 

More recently, the respected Bar Leader was named among Africa’s Top 100 Female Lawyers during the unveiling of this year’s “Courtroom Mail 100 Women 2024.”

A citation by the organisers noted that Eke is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators ICMC Nigeria, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria. She specializes in Criminal Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Eke has held several leadership positions in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), African Bar Association (AFBA), African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) Nigeria, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria and the Law Officers Association of Nigeria (LOAN) at state and national levels, including being Council Member of the NBA Human Rights Institute and the National Executive Committee. She is presently a member of the NBA National Remuneration Committee.

The popular Bar Leader is acclaimed as an ace prosecutor and has also held down several roles at the Ministry of justice, including, being the Team Lead, Committee on Drafting of Prosecution Manual and Code of Conduct for Prosecutors and Team Lead, Attorney-General’s Special Committee which treated abandoned case files of over 350 awaiting trial inmates in the Federal prisons in Rivers State.

Her expertise in criminal law practice made her a much-sought-after Speaker, Trainer, and Resource person on legal and other subjects. She has presented papers to members of the Bench and the Bar among others at various seminars, workshops and conferences including the NBA Annual General Conferences and NBA Continuing Legal Education (NBA-CLE) programmes among others.

Reputed as a cerebral lawyer, Eke is the author of the fast-selling book, CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN NIGERIA: A PRACTICAL GUIDE. She has also published articles and edited legal works and newsletters.

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FEATURED

‘AFAM OSIGWE HAS BROUGHT OUT THE BEST IN MANY LAWYERS’ – UMEATUEGBU

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN, KNOWS THE ROLE AND PLACE OF THE NBA IN NIGERIA; VOTE FOR HIM AS PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

BY CHUKWUNONSO UMEATUEGBU

When I shared my story last week on how I managed my speech impediment I left out the part of those that also played an important role in helping me navigate that journey even without knowing it.

Afam Osigwe was that man whom I started working with immediately after my call to bar. He is very disciplined that sometimes I have to compare him to my dad.

At the time I joined his law firm, my colleagues who joined with me were getting by alright. I was struggling and always missing in action. He noticed it and decided to do something about it. On one occasion I had sent him a draft Court document I did and he emailed me to say we will discuss it against the Court hearing in few days.

The day of the Court hearing I came to work at 6 am. I was to be in Court as his second chair and at the time I didn’t know what it meant only for me to learn it the hard way. He came in later that morning to say he had got an emergency meeting and I will be going to Court alone!.

I looked at our court process again to remind him that the lawyer on the other side is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and he said well, I am a lawyer and I prepared the process, I am the best man to argue the case.

Well I didn’t argue with him, but I made up my mind that I will run away from the Court room.

When I was leaving his office that morning he said to me, ‘Nonso, you can only learn this trade by doing it yourself. The difference between you and a SAN, is the texture of your gown, the laws are the same and it is on your side today, focus on it.’ My motivator left out the level of the Senior advocate’s experience😂🤣.

To my greatest surprise, I argued that motion and the order was in my favour. I was very happy and ran to the office like a child that won the first position in his class only for me to meet my boss eating semo at the office kitchen. He didn’t go for any meeting; he wanted me to do that case. Well I washed my hand and shared his lunch. In a little while, I argued cases up to the Court of Appeal. He brought out the best in me. 

He has encouraged and inspired so many lawyers especially the young ones trying to find their footing in law practice.

Afam Osigwe is a good leader and administrator with sound understanding of challenges facing Nigerian lawyers.

He knows the role and the place of NBA in Nigeria. I have no doubt that he will make a good NBA President. I hereby recommend that you support him to win this election.

Vote Afam Osigwe for NBA President.

  • Chukwunonso Umeatuegbu is a lawyer.

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FEATURED

SABASTINE ANYIA WELCOMES DELEGATES TO EBF CONFAB IN UYO

It’s a privilege and honour to welcome Distinguished Senior Advocates, Benchers, Elders at the Bar, esteemed delegates, learned friends, colleagues, candidates and visitors to Uyo, the land of fulfillment for the Eastern Bar Forum National Conference 2024.

I’m captivated by the theme of this year’s conference “CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES:: EXPLORING LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE SOLUTIONS TO ECONOMIC CRISES AND INSECURITY.” This no doubt truly captures the state of the nation and gives us the citizenry the opportunity to proffer solutions to end this self-inflicted agony. As a nation we must come together despite our differences in tribe and tongue and salvage the country from insecurity.

It’s heartwarming to see some of the best brains and Legal GIANTS like our own Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN; our own Senate President, His Excellency Godwin Akpabio as the Keynote Speaker and other great legal ICONS.

Surely this conference shall come out with solutions to our crises and a big statement. It will definitely end in praise.

I wish us all safe travel as we journey to the Eastern part of the country, Uyo to be specific, to attend this very important conference.

Sabastine Anyia
Former chairman NBA Aguata and Former chairman of Chairmen and Secretaries of the 8 branches of NBA in Anambra State.

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‘YOU ARE THE HOPE OF LEGAL PROFESSION,’ CORDELIA EKE TELLS BAR ASPIRANTS

A leading candidate for chairmanship of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Port Harcourt Branch, Mrs. Cordelia Eke has admonished members of the Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN) to prepare themselves to tackle some of the challenges facing the legal profession when they become lawyers.

In her mentorship talk at the LAWSAN National webinar tagged “THE RIGHT AND FUTURE OF LAWSANITES” held on 15th June, 2014 Mrs. Eke advised the students to pay attention to their studies, seek mentorship and network among themselves and practicing lawyers to pave way for their entry into the legal profession.

The former scribe of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) and the NBA Electoral Reform Committee (NBAERC) spoke as a Guest Lecturer at the “Call to Bar” ceremony of the Rivers State University Students Union Government.

She charged the Law students to be the light to other students in the university community and to be agents of peace and amicable resolution of conflicts through the Students Union Judicial System.

Mrs. Cordelia Eke is a recipient of a Mentorship Award from the NYSC Legal Aid CDS Rivers State Group.

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FEATURED

BREAKING: KIDNAPPERS FREE ENUGU LAWYER AFTER 8 DAYS

Kidnappers have freed an Enugu based lawyer, Mr. Ejike Ugwu after eight days in captivity, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

It was gathered that Ugwu returned home late yesterday, though it was unclear when exactly he was released by his captors. There are strong indications that ransom was paid before his release.

CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report noted how Ugwu was whisked away by unknown gunmen on June 8, 2024 around Emene on the outskirts of Enugu.

The report led to a flurry of calls by Bar Leaders for the safe return of Ugwu who is believed to be an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Enugu Branch.

Though Ugwu’s telephone was still switched off at press time, the Chairman of NBA Enugu Branch, Chief Charles Nwagbara confirmed his safe return to CITY LAWYER, saying he had been following up the case.

His words: “Yes. I can confirm that our colleague has been released. He returned home late yesterday.”

Asked whether he is hospitalized after the experience, Nwagbara said he was not aware of that, adding: “He is a fit young man. However, if he will visit the hospital, it has to be today, since he returned late yesterday.”

A post obtained by CITY LAWYER and reportedly made by Ugwu on the branch platform reads: “May God bless you all 🙏🏽🙏🏽😭 Your prayers really worked magic … I was the only victim that was not touched, although my eyes, like others, were blindfolded for 8 days and ransom collected.”

It is recalled that some lawyers have fallen victim of kidnappers recently, with NBA branches in Anambra State boycotting the courts to press for the release of one of the lawyers.

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CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM FELICITATES MUSLIMS AT EID EL KABIR

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‘I WISH YOU INCREDIBLE FATHERS’ DAY’ – CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM

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AFAM OSIGWE LAUDS LAWYERS ON FATHERS’ DAY

Fathers are pillars as they are foundations. Thus, nothing anchors us like a father’s love: it’s the guiding light that leads us home, the fur that brings us warmth and the shield that keeps us safe.

To the great dads, father figures, dads-to-be, and those doubling as mentors to many out there including myself, I wish you all a Happy Father’s Day.

MAZI AFAM JOSIAH OSIGWE, SAN
Candidate for President, Nigerian Bar Association

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