The appointment of chartered arbitrator and President of Business Recovery and Insolvency Practitioners Association of Nigeria (BRIPAN), Mr. Richard Ayodele Akintunde (SAN) as the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has elicited excitement in legal circles as to the prospects of the eagerly awaited 2022 NBA National Officers Election.

This comes against the backdrop of serial controversies that have trailed NBA elections especially since 2012. The controversies have imperiled NBA’s larger-than-life standing in the eyes of Nigerians and compromised its advocacy towards free and fair elections in the polity.

Perhaps the lowest point was the inroad of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into NBA’s electoral affairs, with its high stakes investigation of the 2018 NBA Election. The Commission determined that there was a prima facie case of misfeasance and filed charges against some defendants.

It is against this backdrop that the appointment of Akintunde as Chairman of the ECNBA is seen as offering a glimmer of hope in fixing the challenges that have ailed NBA elections over the years. This is further boosted by the inclusion of other tested persons in the committee.

Instructively, the senior lawyer was the Chairman of the NBA Electoral Reform and Audit Committee whose core mandate was “To audit the elections of National Officers of the NBA of 2016, 2018 and 2020 and recommend reforms, if any, of the electoral process.” NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata had while inaugurating the committee stated that it “is already in the process of recommending reform measures to ensure that complaints about the NBA electoral process are significantly minimised.”

As Akpata inaugurates the committee today, CITY LAWYER profiles Akintunde on whose shoulders the hopes of lawyers for a free, fair, credible and rancour-free 2022 NBA Elections now rests.

Richard Ayodele Akintunde, SAN, obtained his LL. B from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1984 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985.

For over 35 years, he has been in active legal practice. During this period, he has amassed a wealth of experience in in Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Litigation, Insolvency and Arbitration and has represented clients in a wide range of civil and criminal matters at the High Courts, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Currently, he is a Senior Partner in the law firm of Ayodele Akintunde & Co. a full-service law firm with offices in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria where he heads the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit.

In 2016, he was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He is also a Chartered Arbitrator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom, a Fellow of the Business Recovery and Insolvency Practitioners Association of Nigeria where he is currently the President, a Fellow of the Institute of Construction Industry Arbitrators and a Council Member of the Nigerian Bar Association – Section on Legal Practice (NBA-SLP) and a member of the Nigeria Bar Association, Lagos Branch.

Mr. Akintunde, SAN has served as the Chairman of the NBA Lagos Branch Election Committee in 2015, 2017 and 2019. In 2019, the Election Committee made history by successfully conducting the first ever NBA Branch elections in Nigeria by electronic voting. The Election was adjudged by all stakeholders to be transparent, free, fair and credible. In 2020, he was also appointed as the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Electoral Reform and Audit Committee to audit the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections of National Officers of the Nigerian Bar Association and recommend reforms of the electoral process.

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