The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Branch held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Friday leading to the inauguration of a new Executive Committee to replace the Ikechukwu Uwanna Administration which has been adjudged by many stakeholders as hugely successful.

Below is the text of the inaugural address by the new branch chairman, Mr. Olabisi Makanjuola.

Inaugural speech of Olabisi Makanjuola Chairman NBA Lagos Branch delivered today 28 July 2023

  1. Learned Senior Advocates here present, esteemed colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, and our honored guests.
  2. On behalf of my executive members and myself, I thank you for gathering here today to witness this historic moment as I stand before you, humbled and grateful, to accept the honor of leading the premier bar for the next two years. I am truly thankful for the trust and confidence reposed in me to lead this esteemed organization.
  3. I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to all those who have supported me in this journey, including my family, distinguished members of our great branch and colleagues at Olaniwun Ajayi LP. You all made this your project and surprised me with your commitment to the dream. Your faith in me is truly humbling, and I am honored to serve. I acknowledge my late wife Amal, and my immediate line Partner Dr Khruschev Ugochukwu Kelvin Ekwueme, both of whom stood by me and invested in me. I know you both are looking down with joy at the achievements of today. You both invested much into this dream which is now a reality. May your gentle souls continue to rest in peace. Amen.
  4. Before we proceed, I will like to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude to my predecessor, His Excellency, Mr. Ikechukwu Uwanna, the Honourable Attorney General of Abia State, for his dedicated service and exemplary leadership during his tenure. Mr. Uwanna’s commitment to the advancement of the legal profession and his tireless efforts in strengthening the Premier bar has laid a solid foundation for us to build upon. We acknowledge his contributions, and I extend my sincere appreciation for his guidance and support.
  5. As we embark on this new chapter together, I cannot help but feel a sense of excitement and responsibility. We stand on the cusp of a remarkable transformation, and I am committed to making the most of this opportunity to bring about positive change and progress to the premier bar.
  6. During my campaign, I shared a vision for this branch elevating standards- a new deal. A vision of a premier bar that sets a new standard not only for lawyers but for all professionals. Today, I reaffirm that commitment. Our journey towards excellence begins now.
  7. To achieve this vision, we must unite as a formidable team, working hand in hand, embracing our diverse perspectives and experiences. Together, we will forge ahead, leveraging our collective talents and relationships to overcome challenges and seize opportunities.
  8. One of our key priorities will be to finalize the construction of the bar center, creating a state-of-the-art hub for legal professionals to collaborate, learn, and grow. This center will serve as a testament to our commitment to excellence and provide a fitting space for the advancement of our profession.
  9. We plan to deploy cutting-edge technology to monitor court sittings, thereby promoting efficiency and transparency in our judicial processes. Empowering our members is at the heart of our administration. We are also finalizing plans for secondment of deserving members of our branch to partner law firms within and outside Nigeria which will offer valuable opportunities for professional growth and global exposure.
  10. Pursuant to Section 8(1)b of the Uniform Bye Laws for Branches, the following members have been co-opted into the Executive Committee; Moshood Abiola, Olanrewaju Obadina, Uchenna Ogunnedo-Akingbade, and Mercy-Grace Princeley. The fifth co-opted member which shall be the Chairman of the Young Lawyers Forum of the Branch will be announced as soon as the forum is constituted.
  11. Additionally, we are committed to giving our members the best experience at the forth coming Annual General Conference in Abuja, where we can collectively engage in meaningful discussions, exchange ideas, and network with colleagues from all over the country. The Executive Committee is already working to partner with Airlines and Hotels in Abuja to get subsidized rates for our members and we plan to announce the fine details in the next few days so that our members can start making their plans.
  12. Arrangements are also in top gear for the participation of both our male and female football teams in the football competition of the AGC. We would recall that our female team is the defending champions as they won the inaugural competition last year. The male team also won two years ago and the aim is to recapture the trophy. In doing this, we are speaking to potential sponsors to brand both teams at the AGC. Preparation for our Lagos party as we have traditionally had at the AGC is also on course and it promises to be exciting.
  13. To hit the ground running, the following Committees have been constituted;
    a. Annual General Conference Planning Committee headed by Enyinnaya with the Vice Chair, Esther Jimoh as a Co-Chair,
    b. Security Agencies Relationship Committee to be chaired by Bob C. Ijioma and Mr. M. A. Animashaun as Vice Chair; and
    c. 2023 Annual Bar Dinner Planning Committee to be chaired by Adeleke Alex-Adedipe.
  14. In closing, let us remember that our work as lawyers is not merely a profession; it is a calling, a responsibility to serve the cause of justice and to defend the rights and liberties of our fellow citizens. I am dedicated to leading this remarkable branch, and I promise to give my all in service to you, our noble profession, and the community we serve.
  15. Together, let us unleash the potential of the premier branch, redefine the practice of law in Nigeria, and shape a brighter future for our profession, our members, and our beloved country.
  16. Thank you, and God bless you all.

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