A leading aspirant in the race for the presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN has urged lawyers to enquire into the Bar activism records of aspirants seeking offices in the forthcoming NBA Elections.

Speaking to NBA Aba Branch members at the weekend, Gadzama said: “When people tell you they want to be stakeholders in the NBA or hold leadership positions, ask them one question – ‘What have you been doing in the last ten to twenty years for young lawyers?’ “

Hinting that promises are good but past records of activism are better, the NBA Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) Chairman who holds the chieftaincy title of “Okwuluora of Ukpo” in Anambra State reiterated the competency of his candidature.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Occasion, Mr. Ukpai Ukairo said that Gadzama “had been and still is a functional part of the Aba Branch of the NBA.” He urged all members of the branch to support the mandate of the NBA as engineered by the leading litigator “who has been the foremost Bar Leader to institute and maintain a formidable structure for building and mentoring young lawyers.”

Ukairo stated that Gadzama, a chartered arbitrator, spearheaded the process of changing the nomenclature of new wigs from “Junior Lawyers” to “Young Lawyers” on the basis that the term “Junior” was demeaning and less dignifying for persons who had met the requirements and attained the enviable and revered status of solicitors and advocates of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Ukairo added that Gadzama had always worked and identified with lawyers from the Eastern Bar, saying that “Over fifty percent of the workforce in his office have been from the Eastern Bar. He is our brother, friend and colleague. Let us support him wholeheartedly and ensure that he achieves his mandate of leading the NBA to higher heights.”

The event which held at the NBA Aba Bar Centre, High Court Complex, Aba saw Gadzama being received by the Elders, Executives and Members of the branch “who referred to him as their very own son, friend and kinsman by association.”

While the event started with prayers and reading of Gadzama’s abridged profile by Mr. C. K. Anyanwu, it ended with a question and answer session and a buffet.

Among members of the branch who were on hand to receive the Bar Leader were the Branch Chairman, Mr. Betram Faotu; Mr. Chinedu Nwaozuzu (Branch Secretary); Ukairo; Mr. C. C. Elele (former NBA Aba Branch Chairman and Gadzama’s classmate in Nigerian Law School Class of 1986), and Mr. Uche Awa, SAN (Chairman, Old Bende Association).

On his part, Gadzama was accompanied on the visit by Mr. Chukwuma Ezeala (President, National Association of Catholic Lawyers, NACL), Sir Victor Nwaugo and Mrs. Chioma Ferguson.

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