‘I’M NOT SURPRISED AKPATA WON’ – CHIJIOKE OKOLI

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Bar Leader and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Chijioke Okoli SAN has given a pass mark to the just concluded NBA Elections, saying he is not surprised that tier-one solicitor, Mr. Olumide Akpata won the presidential poll.

In an interview with CITY LAWYER, the fiery litigator stated that circumstances conspired to hand-over the mantle to NBA President-elect, even as he urged Akpata’s opponents to join hands with him to move the Bar forward.

His words:

“The election seems to be a significant improvement from the last one in which I could not even vote. Without prejudice to whatever genuine complaints some others may have, it was transparent in my view especially with the real-time results as the voting went on.

“It is therefore proper to commend the election committee for a good job. I know my Learned Brother Silk Chief Tawo as man of integrity, and he did not disappoint.

“As for the results, that of the President did not surprise me. Olu Akpata, truth be told, worked hardest and longest of all the contestants. And he rode the crest wave of the long lingering disenchantment of many – especially the vast horde of young lawyers – with the Bar status quo; an aspect of which is the bitterness some lawyers have for the institution of SAN and which was exacerbated by Otunba Awomolo’s rather unfortunate leaked letter to Chief Onomigbo Okpoko.

“Having said that, Olu proved with not only his top-tier firm and his stint in NBA-SBL that he possesses remarkable administrative capacity and vision. I congratulate him heartily as well as the winners of the other positions.

“I’m sure that if Olu works on the desk of NBA Presidency as hard as he campaigned for it then his tenure should be a refreshing and uplifting one for Nigerian lawyers. His cosmopolitan background and outlook should serve well in uniting a badly divided bar, including the seeming marginalization of the South West in the scheme of things. I’m sure he knows that a lot is expected of him, with the young lawyers especially investing fervent hope in his tenure for significant positive change in their professional fortunes.

“His task is enormous on many fronts, especially in leading the fight for the rule of law and enthronement of minimum standards in our administration of justice which are sadly lacking at the moment. The elections are over and we all remain friends at the Bar.

“I would urge all, especially his esteemed co-contestants and their supporters to rally round him to construct an NBA which works for all.

“Finally, the contest for the Assistant Secretary was such a closely fought one as to partake of an electoral thriller.”

Okoli had endorsed Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN in the run-up to the elections.

It is recalled that the Chairman of the Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN had on July 31, 2020 declared Akpata as winner of the NBA presidential election held on July 29 or 30, 2020.

According to the ECNBA Chairman, Akpata polled 9,891 or 54.3 per cent votes to beat his closest rival, Ajibade SAN who garnered 4,328 (23.8 per cent) votes. Mr. Dele Adesina SAN polled 3,982 votes (21.9 per cent) to bring up the rear.  Adesina had a few hours to the end of the election demanded cancellation of the poll, saying it was fraught with infractions. The election was held via ElectionBuddy, an electronic voting software deployed by Edmonton, Canada based firm.

Though a total of 29,636 lawyers were accredited for the election, only 18,256 or 62 per cent of the voters succeeded in casting their ballots.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

AKPATA PROMISES ELECTORAL REFORMS, HAILS ADESINA, AJIBADE

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Nigerian Bar Association President-elect, Mr. Olumide Akpata has promised to embark on electoral reforms to smoothen the lapses in the association’s electoral system.

In a letter to lawyers titled “Let us secure the future through a united bar that works for all,” the incoming NBA President traced his entry into the presidential race, adding that “On the strength of the foregoing pledge, I asked you to give me your mandate and join me in bringing about an Association that works for the majority of its members.”

Noting that the electorate “answered that call in an overwhelming and unequivocal manner” when, at the end of a “long and intriguing process” he emerged victorious,” Akpata stated that he was writing “to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

He noted that he did not take for granted “the hardwork, passion and commitment that you all invested into the process that has now culminated in my emergence as President-elect,” and assured NBA members that he would deploy “what I consider my greatest personal attribute: discipline of execution, in carrying out the undertakings that I had given to the members.”

Saying that he “was certain that the election was really not about me,” the leading solicitor stated that he “was driven by the passion to use my time, talent and resources to improve our Association by making it fit-for-purpose, beneficial to all members and responsive to the needs of the society.”

He observed that  “Throughout the electioneering process, I saw many Nigerian lawyers who had either lost faith, or never been interested, in the NBA participate with utmost enthusiasm in the hope that things would become better. This further goes to show that the extraordinary movement that heralded this electoral victory was not, and could never have been about me.”

Dedicating his victory to several segments of the profession, Akpata said: “The victory of last night is for our young lawyers who have become disillusioned with the way the NBA has been run over the years and how the profession appears to be disconnected from the challenges that face them and their future. It is for the progressive senior lawyer who refused to accept the status quo and took firm steps to ensure that things are done better. It is for the corporate counsel, law officers, law teachers, the police and military lawyers, and lawyers in all components of the profession who for long have been treated as unequal members of an Association that ought to be the umbrella body for all legal practitioners.

“The victory of last night is for the lawyer with disability who has long suffered neglect and indignity by the profession. Above all, our victory is for non-lawyers and the general populace who took an unusual, but a special, interest in the conduct of our elections, thus lending credence to my long- held belief that the Nigerian society has always yearned for a legal profession and indeed a Bar that stands tall as an unwavering bastion of the rule of law, an advocate for the sanctity and independence of the judiciary, and a bulwark against tyranny and oppression.”

He accepted the mandate, saying: “It is therefore with immense respect for you, a deep understanding of the value of your mandate, a demonstrable appreciation of the factors that have bedevilled our noble Association and with humility to the will of God, that I wholeheartedly accept this mandate from you. The outpouring of support is only indicative of the amount of work that needs to be done. The greatest appreciation that I can show to all of you is to keep to the various promises that I made, and this, I assure you that I would do.”

On electoral reform, the NBA President-elect said that he was “not unaware of the complaints by at least one of the Presidential candidates about the administrative issues surrounding the elections,” adding that “As members of the legal profession, our electoral process ought to be and remain a standard for others to follow. I said this much in my second letter dated 29th July 2020 to the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the NBA.”

Declaring his commitment to address the controversies that have bedeviled the association’s elections, Akpata said: “ I strongly believe that there is plenty room for improvement in our electoral process, and I commit to making this possible.”

He stated that while the expectations are high, “together we have a duty to devise measures to tackle the problems of our noble Association. We need to hit the ground running.”

Turning to his fellow contestants, Akpata said: “I also particularly appreciate my friends and learned seniors, Deacon Dele Adesina SAN, and Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN, against whom I had the privilege of contesting for the office of President of the NBA. One thing that remained unshaken throughout the election process was my utmost respect for these distinguished and respectable gentlemen. May I humbly assure them that my respect remains intact. The election is over but the work ahead of us is immense. We must now unite in order to achieve our common goal of revitalising the Bar and ensuring that our voice is firm and unshaken when we speak. I obviously cannot do this alone and will be counting on their support and counsel as we work towards Securing The Future through a United Bar that Works for All.”

He reassured lawyers that “I shall do my best to deliver on your mandate. May God bless you all and the Nigerian Bar Association.”

AKPATA_LETTER

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AKPATA WINS: AJIBADE, ALEGEH, YLF, EBF, MID-WEST FORUM HAIL HIM

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

At exactly 12:53 am early today, the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN declared Tier-One solicitor, Mr. Olumide Akpata as winner of the NBA presidential election held last Wednesday and Thursday. Akpata is billed to be sworn in late August as the 30th NBA President.

The announcement of the official results, monitored by CITY LAWYER, was broadcast live on many social media handles and witnessed by ECNBA members, a broadcast station and some agents of the candidates in the election.

Though a total of 29,636 lawyers were accredited for the election, only 18,256 or 62 per cent of the voters succeeded in casting their ballots.

According to the ECNBA Chairman, Akpata polled 9,891 or 54.3 per cent votes to beat his closest rival, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN who garnered 4,328 (23.8 per cent) votes. Mr. Dele Adesina SAN polled 3,982 votes (21.9 per cent) to bring up the rear.  Adesina had a few hours to the end of the election demanded cancellation of the poll, saying it was fraught with irregularities. The election was held via electionbuddy, an electronic voting software deployed by Edmonton, Canada based firm.

Other winners are John Martin who polled 6,010 votes to clinch the post of NBA First Vice President; Adeyemo Kazeem (Second Vice President with 8,794 votes); Joyce Oduah (General Secretary with 8,979 votes); Olukunle Edun (Welfare Secretary with 9001 votes); Rapulu Nduka (Publicity Secretary with 11,964 votes); Uchenna Nwadialo (Assistant Secretary with 7,314 votes) and Naza Afam (Assistant Publicity Secretary with 6,490 votes). Mercy Ijato Agada (Treasurer) and Raphael Anagor (Financial Secretary) polled 16, 487 votes and 15,824 votes as unopposed candidates.

Though Ajibade poked holes in the electoral process, he said in a statement that he had “called Mr. Olumide Akpata and congratulated him on his election as the 30th President of our great association, the Nigerian Bar Association, in the elections held on 29th – 30th July 2020.”

Commending the “level of the debate and the quality of the ideas that were brought forth,” Ajibade however expressed dissatisfaction with the electoral process, saying: “It is unfortunate that the process leading up to and during the election itself have, once again, not been devoid of controversy.  It is my fervent hope that we will get over these repeated challenges with conducting objectively free and fair elections into the leadership positions in the association.”

Saying that “we cannot succeed in addressing the challenges confronting our profession unless we unite,” Ajibade added: “I urge the incoming President and his executive to take deliberate and proactive steps to unite the Bar.”

Meanwhile, several Bar Leaders and forums have also congratulated Akpata on his victory.

Influential former NBA President, Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN, who is believed to be a staunch supporter of Akpata, said: “I most heartily congratulate Olumide Akpata Esq. on his election as the 30th President of the NBA. I also felicitate with the other elected National Officers on their victory at the polls and urge Members of our Association to support the newly elected National Officers as they take steps to deliver on their mandate to lead the Bar for the next 2 years.”

He commended Adesina and Ajibade “for their maturity and candor,” and urged them to “work with the incoming President in his efforts to make Our Association better. This is a time for unity in the best interest of the Association.”

Saying the election would not have been possible due to the coronavirus pandemic save for the introduction of electronic voting, Alegeh stated that “elections are never perfect.” He urged the incoming administration to “improve on the gains recorded in the electronic voting system that guarantees universal suffrage under our Constitution.”

Commending the Usoro Administration “for the successful conduct of the elections and the efforts so far in moving the Bar forward on several fronts,” the erstwhile NBA President whose regime introduced universal suffrage and electronic voting said: “I know that the Incoming-President will be magnanimous in victory and will run an all-inclusive administration geared towards improving the NBA to handle its core mandate of promoting the rule of law, human rights as well as the welfare of its Members.”

The NBA Young Lawyers Forum (NBA-YLF) also congratulated Akpata and other elected National Officers on their victory. In a statement by the Chairman and Secretary of its Governing Council, Tobi Adebowale and Patricia Udeh, it said “The YLF remains unequivocally willing and available to engage with all relevant stakeholders for the benefit of Young Lawyers and all other members of the NBA.”

In a statement by the factional Chairman of Mid-West Bar Forum, Chief Chike Onyemenam SAN, the body congratulated Akpata, Aikpokpo-Martins and Edun on their “resounding and landslide victory,” adding that “by your victory at the polls which was  democratic, transparent and clearly demonstrated your acceptance by the entire members of the Nigerian Bar Association devoid of tribal or sectional considerations, you have done the members  of the 14 N.B.A. branches  of the Mid-West Bar Forum proud and  demonstrated to all that in spite of the shortcomings of the political class in our great nation’s efforts at democracy, Nigerian lawyers are still capable of conducting their own affairs in a democratic manner.”

On its part, the Eastern Bar Forum (EBF) in a statement by the Chairman, Mr. S. Long Williams, congratulated Akpata and other elected officers. It noted some lapses that bedeviled the poll, but described the election as “free, fair and credible.”

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

ADEGBORUWA OKAYS ADESINA, AJIBADE, AKPATA FOR NBA PRESIDENCY

Firebrand human rights activist, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN has declared that the three presidential candidates in the race for the coveted NBA Presidency are qualified to mount the saddle.

In a statement released today titled “NBA ELECTIONS 2020,” the prominent senior lawyer therefore urged eligible voters to vote “purely in the fear of God and according to your conscience.”

The statement reads:

NBA ELECTIONS 2020

Dear learned colleagues,

As we approach the final lap of the 2020 elections of the Nigerian Bar Association, I wish to make the following statements.

In alphabetical order with no specific preference,

I ENDORSE

ADESINA DELE, SAN:

He has SERVED the legal profession MERITORIOUSLY, as Chairman of NBA, Ikeja Branch and as General Secretary, NBA, at the national office.

I ENDORSE

AJIBADE BABATUNDE, SAN:

He has SERVED the legal profession CREDITABLY, in seeking fundamental reforms in justice administration, through The Justice Reform Project and also in helping to raise leaders for the Bar, through the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee.

I ENDORSE

AKPATA OLUMIDE:

He has SERVED the legal profession SELFLESSLY, through the Section on Business Law and also in various other capacities, through the Conference Planning Committees.

They all have many more positive attributes, which I may not have stated. Any of these three, is qualified to lead the Bar, if voted in as President of the NBA, in any free, fair, peaceful and credible contest.

I therefore urge you to VOTE for ANY of these three candidates, purely in the fear of God and according to your conscience.

God bless Nigerian Bar Association
God bless Nigeria.

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN
Lekki, Lagos.
26/07/2020

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

BAR LEADERS PROFFER ROADMAP FOR LAW SCHOOL, LEGAL PROFESSION

Bar leaders and academics at the weekend stressed the need to leverage alumni networks for the development of legal education and law practice.

Speaking on the theme, “Alumni Networks and the Development of the Legal Profession in Nigeria” at a virtual conference hosted by the Nigeria Law School Class of 1989, a leading presidential candidate in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Elections, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN, made a strong case for the transformation of the Nigerian Law School Alumni Network into a world class framework.

Citing Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford university alumni as examples, Ajibade observed that alumni networks have been able to deploy huge human and material resources to boost the development of their alma mater, adding that “the situation should not be different for the Nigerian Law School that has produced distinguished personalities rendering invaluable services to humanity across the globe.”

The Chairman of the Counsel of Legal Education (CLE), Chief Emeka Ngige SAN, commended the management of the Nigerian Law School for deploying e-learning facilities to avoid interruption of lectures despite the COVID-19 pandemic. He also applauded the Nigerian Law School Class of 1989 for the e-learning platform donated to the school, adding that it would “go a long way to enhance remote learning for Nigerian Law School students.”

The Secretary to the Council of Legal Education & Director of Administration, Nigerian Law School, Mrs. Elizabeth Max-Uba enumerated the needs of the campuses of the school and appealed to the different alumni classes to help reposition the Law School campuses as befitting academic environments for the training of lawyers.

Speaking in the same vein, the Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Professor Isa Chiroma SAN urged alumni classes to “come to the aid of the Nigerian Law School in order to restore its lost glory.”

Contributing to the discourse, Mr. A. U. Mustapha SAN advised the coalescing of all Law School alumni classes into a single and formidable alumni association to enable better management and communication. He stated that this would spur the growth of the institution.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Law School Class of 1989, Mr. Emeka Albert explained that the soon-to-be-rolled-out multi-dimensional e-platform built by the Class includes an Alumni module that enables alumni members to engage and interact.

According to the leading justice sector reform consultant, “Lawyers need only to register with their call year and the system will group members according to year of call, making it possible for members to engage with their classmates and organise themselves into alumni associations just like the Class of ’89 and a few other Classes have done.”

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

NGIGE, AJIBADE, LAW SCHOOL DIRECTOR X-RAY ALUMNI IMPACT ON LEGAL PROFESSION, YOUNG LAWYERS

Top Bar leaders will on Saturday discuss the role of alumni networks on the legal profession.

Organised by the Nigerian Law School Class of 1989, an accredited NBA CLE Service Provider, the virtual conference is part of a series of webinars designed to highlight trends in continuing legal education, mentorship for young lawyers and the role of alumni in catalyzing growth in the legal industry.

The theme of the conference which holds at 2 pm is “NLS Alumni Networks and the Development of the Legal Profession.”

Listed as one of the discussants is prominent Bar Leader and Chairman of Council of Legal Education (CLE), Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN). Another key discussant is leading Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN).

Other panelists are Mrs. Elizabeth Max-Uba, Secretary of Council of Legal Education & Director of Administration, Nigerian Law School and Mr. AbdulHakeem Mustapha (SAN), Principal Partner in A.U. Mustapha [SAN] & Co. He was Chairman of the Audit Committee of FINBANK PLC and is currently the President of the Business School Netherlands Alumni Association, Nigeria.

The conference will be moderated by Chief Osuala E. Nwagbara, General Secretary of the Class of 1989 and Managing Partner at Maritime and Commercial Law Partners.

According to a statement by top justice sector consultant and the Chief Editor of LEGALPEDIA, Mr. Emeka Albert, “the third in a series of webinars aimed at opening up vital conversations among lawyers on mentoring, CLE and support to the Nigerian Law School. Dr. Ajibade, being a strong supporter of the cause of our Class, is expected to provide uncommon insights on the subject consistent with his experience and track record.” Albert also doubles as the Chairman of the Nigerian Law School Class of 1989.

The class has recently held webinars on “Online Continuing Legal Education (e-CLE) in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond: Challenges, Benefits and Prospects” and “e-Mentoring for young lawyers: A paradigm shift.”

Prospective participants are required to register for the free virtual conference at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0ocOCqqjotHdZDEe3ITruE-8nn59KWDEDG. After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Ajibade has gained renown as a cerebral lawyer and leading facilitator of continuing legal education in the legal industry. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in December 1989 and elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in December 2007. He obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1988. He obtained a Master of Laws degree in Corporate and Commercial Law from King’s College, University of London in 1990 and a Doctorate Degree in Private International Law from the same university in 1996.

Ajibade is a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London, an International Practice Fellow of the International Bar Association (IBA) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom. He combines the roles of advocate, a corporate/commercial solicitor, an administrator and a reformer and is reputed to have excelled in each of these areas.

The Nigerian Law School Class of 1989 donated an e-platform to its alma mater as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations. The facility is aimed to support quality training and retraining of Law School students and young lawyers. The electronic platform is reputed as a first in Africa aimed at transforming legal education and legal practice.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

YOUNG LAWYERS: AJIBADE, OWONIKOKO, ETIABA, OTHERS SPEAK ON e-MENTORING SATURDAY

Prominent senior lawyers will on Saturday x-ray the emerging issue of online mentoring as it relates to Nigeria’s young lawyers. The webinar is scheduled for 1 pm and hosted by the Nigerian Law School Class of 1989.

Among the speakers at the webinar are leading Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential aspirant, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN. Ajibade is the Managing Partner of S. P. A. Ajibade & Co and the first member of the class to take silk.

Other discussants are leading litigators, Mr. Jelili Owonikoko SAN and Mr. Emeka Etiaba SAN, as well as Mrs. Morenike Obi-Farinde, Founder of Online Dispute Resolution Africa Network.

The moderator of the webinar is leading justice sector consultant and Chairman of the Nigerian Law School Class of 1989, Mr. Emeka Albert who is also the Chief Editor of LEGALPEDIA.

To register for this webinar, click on
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYodu6ppz8oHNYJjCzFHXIPqi6Met06zPBg. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

It is recalled that the Nigerian Law School Class of 1989 donated an e-platform to its alma mater as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations. The facility is aimed to support quality training and retraining of Law School students and especially young lawyers. The e-platform is reputed as a first in Africa aimed at transforming legal education and legal practice. The webinar will among others x-ray the e-mentoring module of the platform especially as it relates to young lawyers.

 

According to a statement by Albert, “This is the second in a series of webinars aimed at opening up vital conversations among lawyers on mentoring, CLE and support to the Nigerian Law School. Dr. Ajibade, being a strong supporter of the cause of our Class, is expected to provide uncommon insights on the subject consistent with his experience and track record.”

Ajibade has gained renown as a cerebral lawyer and leading facilitator of continuing legal education in the legal industry. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in December 1989 and elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in December 2007.

He obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1988. He obtained a Master of Laws degree in Corporate and Commercial Law from King’s College, University of London in 1990 and a Doctorate Degree in Private International Law from the same university in 1996.

Ajibade is a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London, an International Practice Fellow of the International Bar Association (IBA) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom. He combines the roles of advocate, a corporate/commercial solicitor, an administrator and a reformer and is reputed to have excelled in each of these areas.

On his part, Albert is a renowned justice sector reform consultant and Lead at LEGALPEDIA, a foremost software company. He has presented several papers on technology and disruption in the legal industry. Speaking on the impact of technology in law practice, he said: “both Law and Technology are dynamic. But often we, as lawyers, are slow to changing our process. We tend to treat our process as our changeless precedents. That is where we have the conflict with transformative technologies. But technological disruptions are inevitable and unstoppable.”

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

NBA ELECTIONS: ELECTORAL C’TE CLEARS ADESINA, AJIBADE, AKPATA, BARS 15 OTHERS

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

• WITHDRAWS CLEARANCE TO GENERAL SECRETARY ASPIRANT
• DISQUALIFIES 2 INCUMBENT NATIONAL OFFICERS
• SETS JULY 15 DEADLINE FOR VERIFICATION
• VOWS TO DISQUALIFY CANDIDATES WHO FLOUT CAMPAIGN RULES
• SETS MONDAY DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF MANIFESTOS
• ASKS CANDIDATES TO DISMANTLE PARALLEL HELP DESKS

The Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) has released the list of candidates to contest the forthcoming NBA National Officers Elections.

While 28 candidates – including three presidential candidates – made the final list, 15 aspirants could not pass through the crucible of the screening process, including two incumbent national officers.

While 19 aspirants were initially disqualified by the electoral committee, 18 filed appeals while one opted not to file any appeal. The ECNBA withdrew the initial provisional clearance granted an aspirant for the post of General Secretary, Barth Okoye-Aniche following a petition, while five aspirants succeeded with their appeals.

CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report noted concerns among some disqualified aspirants over the delay in the screening process and the promise by the electoral committee to fast-track the appeals process.

In its ECNBA Statement No. 13 titled “Full List of properly nominated candidates for the NBA National Elections 2020 and verification of members,” the electoral committee stated that “Having concluded the Appeals process, the ECNBA now presents a list of 28 candidates cleared to contest various offices in the NBA National Officers Elections 2020.” The statement was dated July 3, 2020 and jointly signed by Mr. Tawo Eja Tawo SAN and Mrs. Cordelia Eke, ECNBA Chairman and Secretary respectively.

CANDIDATES LIST

It urged the candidates to “submit an A4 size copy of his/her curriculum vitae (of not more than 4 pages), a comprehensive manifesto and other campaign materials (all in electronic form) on or before 6:00PM on Monday 6th July 2020, for upload on the NBA website.”

The committee emphasized that “campaigns can only be carried out by publication of campaign materials supplied to the ECNBA to be hoisted on the NBA website,” warning specifically that “Travelling across the country to solicit for votes is prohibited.” The committee warned candidates to abide by the NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended) and the ECNBA Guidelines in their electioneering campaigns, vowing that “Any violation of these will be severely sanctioned including disqualification from contesting the elections.”

On the controversial final voters register, the committee emphasized “the need for members to verify and update their details on the NBA website on or before the 15th day of July, 2020. This is to ensure that everyone can access the voting portal during the elections as only those who are verified can vote.”

Leading human rights activist and former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu had poked holes in the voters register, saying: “After 2 #RiggedElections, @NigBarAssoc seems well on its way to a 3rd. The voters list produced by#ECNBA appears riddled wth some impressive non-persons. Voter No. 5500 is a person called “Opening Balance”?! There’s a way to stop this: verify the names with reference to receipts.”

Turning to the issue of parallel help desks set up by some candidates, the electoral committee frowned on the practice, describing it as “unacceptable.” “We advise that such efforts be dismantled immediately not to interfere with the mandate of the Committee, confuse our members or be interpreted as attempts to harvest members’ details for use at the elections,” it said. It urged eligible voters to rely instead on the Help Desk set up by the NBA to assist members having challenges with the verification process.

Among those cleared to run for the elections are Mr. Dele Adesina SAN, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN and Mr. Olumide Akpata who will battle for the coveted NBA Presidency slot. The position of First Vice President remains the most crowded field, with six candidates cleared for the race. They include John Aikpokpo-Martins, Oluwaseun Ajoba, Adebayo Akinlade, Adedotun Adetunji, Ganiat Siyonbola and Dawud Sulayman. Siyonbola was not in the list of aspirants provisionally cleared for the election.

While the race for Second Vice President is a straight fight between Adesola Abimbola and Kazeem Adeyemo, both aspirants for the position of Third Vice President – Promise Wobo Iwezor and Gerald Abonyi – failed to scale the screening hurdle.

With Barth Okoye-Aniche haven fallen by the way-side, the race for the influential post of General Secretary is now between Alex Muoka, Joyce Oduah, Okey Ohagba and Christopher Yakemewerigha. The battle for the post of Assistant Secretary remains unchanged, with three combatants – Anne Agi, Uche Nwadialo and Aigbokhai Osagie – cleared for the race.

Returnee candidate Mercy Ijato Agada and Raphael Anagor have clinched the positions of Treasurer and Financial Secretary respectively without a fight. While Caroline Ibharuneafe who sought the post of Treasurer fell under the disqualification hammer, Anagor seemed the solitary applicant for the post of Financial Secretary.

With incumbent Second Assistant Secretary Chinyere Obasi and Osahon Irehovbude having been disqualified by the electoral committee, the race for the post of Welfare Secretary promises to be a fierce battle between incumbent National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun and returnee candidate, Sabastine Anyia.

Following a successful appeal and the reinstatement of his name on the ballot, Olayinka Sokoya will slug it out with Rapuluchukwu Nduka for the post of Publicity Secretary while four candidates – President Aigbokhan, Charles Ajiboye, Ferdinand Naza and Dominic Ochenehi – will battle for the position of Assistant Publicity Secretary. While Ajiboye and Ochenehi had appealed their disqualification by the electoral committee, leading to their reinstatement in the race, Henry Chibuike Ugwu of Ihiala Branch and Oladotun Hassan of Epe Branch did not succeed with their appeals.

Among those who were also disqualified are controversial former Ikeja Branch Chairman, Adesina Ogunlana; S. O. K. Shillings, and incumbent Assistant Publicity Secretary, Akorede Habeeb Lawal who sought the substantive post of Publicity Secretary.

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AJIBADE SPEAKS ON VIRTUAL CLE, AS ‘CLASS OF ’89’ HOLD WEBINAR

Leading Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential aspirant, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN will be on a familiar turf today as he speaks to his classmates and other stakeholders on the prospects of online mandatory continuing legal education (CLE).

Listed as one of the discussants for the virtual conference slated for 2 pm, Ajibade has gained renown as a cerebral lawyer and leading facilitator of continuing legal education in the legal industry.

Organised by the Nigerian Law School Class of 1989, an accredited NBA CLE Service Provider, the theme of the virtual conference is “Online Continuing Legal Education (e-CLE) in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond: Challenges, Benefits and Prospects.” Prospective participants are required to register for the free virtual conference at https://us04web.zoom.us/meeting/register/upMlc-yspzosH9yXkq67siifyduRZ0HcPaLD After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Other discussants are Mr. Emeka Albert, Chairman of the Nigerian Law School Class of 1989 and acclaimed Toronto, Canada based attorney and Managing Partner of Topmarke Attorney LLP, Oluwakemi Oduwole. She was formerly a Lecturer at the Nigerian Law School.

Moderated by Chief Osuala E. Nwagbara, General Secretary of the Class of 1989 and Managing Partner at Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, the conference is, according to a statement by Albert “the first in a series of webinars aimed at opening up vital conversations among lawyers on mentoring, CLE and support to the Nigerian Law School. Dr. Ajibade, being a strong supporter of the cause of our Class, is expected to provide uncommon insights on the subject consistent with his experience and track record.”

Ajibade is the Managing Partner of S. P. A. Ajibade & Co. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in December 1989 and elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in December 2007. He was the first member of his Nigerian Law School set of 1989 to take silk.

Ajibade obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1988. He obtained a Master of Laws degree in Corporate and Commercial Law from King’s College, University of London in 1990 and a Doctorate Degree in Private International Law from the same university in 1996.

Ajibade is a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London, an International Practice Fellow of the International Bar Association (IBA) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom. He combines the role of an advocate, a corporate/commercial solicitor, an administrator and a reformer and is reputed to have excelled in each of these areas.

With over 20 years legal prowess specializing in immigration law, family law, mental health law and legal education, Oduwole has been a partner in Topmarke Attorney LLP since the inception of the firm in 2016. She is reputed for her leadership, teaching and mentorship skills (especially of young lawyers) and ability to navigate difficult and sensitive legal matters.

Oduwole holds a degree in Law and two master’s degrees in law. She is working on her third master’s degree. She also holds a certificate in Higher Education and has been called to the bars of Nigeria and Ontario, Canada. Oduwole practised law extensively in the areas of corporate/commercial law, civil litigation and family law in notable Nigerian law firms. Aside from her practice of law, she taught law in the Nigerian Law School, particularly in the areas of Civil Litigation, Legal Drafting, Professional Ethics and Responsibility, and Real Estate Law. Oduwole is a published author who has published law texts and several journal articles, and has presented research papers in conferences in Asia, Africa and North America.

On his part, Albert is a renowned justice sector reform consultant and Lead at LEGALPEDIA, a foremost software company. He has presented several papers on technology and disruption in the legal industry. Speaking on the impact of technology in law practice, he said: “Law is very dynamic. That is the essence of technology. It enables you to keep pace with developments. Technology helps you to adapt to new changes.”

The Nigerian Law School Class of 1989 donated an e-platform to its alma mater as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations. The facility is aimed to support quality training and retraining of Law School students and especially young lawyers. The e-platform is reputed as a first in Africa aimed at transforming legal education and legal practice.

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‘WHY I’M BACKING AJIBADE TO WIN,’ BY CHIJIOKE OKOLI SAN

Frontline white collar litigator and former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (Lagos Branch), Mr. Chijioke Okoli SAN has given reasons for backing a leading presidential aspirant in the forthcoming NBA Elections, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN).

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, the respected Bar Leader described the cerebral senior lawyer as “remarkable in many more ways than one,” adding that “he stands out as the best of the lot.”

Below is the full text of his statement:

THE MAN FOR THIS SEASON:
ENDORSEMENT OF DR. TUNDE AJIBADE, SAN-BY CHIJIOKE OKOLI, SAN.

This Nigerian Bar Association [NBA] national election year is hardly like any other. The legal profession in Nigeria and the country in general are at a momentous crossroads, with self-evidently daunting problems but behind which lies the promise of an enlivening new beginning. The situation is such that, more than ever before, we must be particularly careful with our leadership recruitment processes and choices. Luckily, the NBA is well served this year by an undoubtedly strong field of candidates for the NBA Presidency; three distinguished senior practitioners with good records of service to the legal profession.

I shall however speak of only Dr. Tunde Ajibade SAN who is remarkable in many more ways than one, especially because he stands out as the best of the lot. He brings to the table of the present NBA Presidential contest qualities which are sorely needed to tackle the present crippling problems of the legal profession and administration of justice in Nigeria in general. He epitomizes phenomenal breadth and depth of knowledge and expertise; belonging to that very rare breed of top-line litigators who are equally at home with transactional law practice. And his willingness to share and democratize legal knowledge is underscored by the annual Continuous Legal Education series organized by his law firm of which I have been privileged to attend a few times.

Perhaps most importantly, the present period of widespread anomie requires of the NBA leadership the exceptional personal and professional integrity which Dr. Ajibade exemplifies. More than at any time since the advent of our dysfunctional civilian rule, there is the urgent need for an NBA leadership capable of telling truth to power. His temperament is undoubtedly excellent for the task; possessing quiet but immense strength and courage which saw him visiting and showing solidarity with colleagues in the insurgency-ridden North East region of the country. And his instinctive courteousness and overall civility is unfailingly present in interactions with lawyers of all ranks and ages, in and out of the courtroom.

Finally, this. Whilst the generality of Nigerian lawyers owe the Austine Alegeh Presidency a debt of gratitude for the introduction of universal suffrage in NBA national elections, he was but a Paul who came to water the ground tilled by some of us Appollos; i.e., those who were appalled by the now jettisoned grossly unfair and corrupt delegates system and fought for its change. Part of the unfairness of the delegates system was that it badly shortchanged the larger branches exemplified by the Lagos Branch. Seeing it as my duty as Chairman of the NBA Lagos Branch at the time [between 2009-2011] to see to the correction of the injustice to the Branch and vast majority of lawyers, I heartily campaigned for universal lawyers’ suffrage for the election of NBA national officers.

Whilst I recollect the likes of Anselm Chidi Odinkalu and Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN being in the trenches of the struggle, so to speak, Dr. Ajibade was one of those Lagos based senior practitioners who steadfastly encouraged me from the sides, sharing my view that the concept of equality at the Bar can hardly find more practical and appropriate expression than giving each Nigerian lawyer the right to a direct vote in the election of NBA national officers. Ultimately, the goal was achieved for the majority, properly so called, to determine who leads the NBA. And it is to this majority, all of us essentially, that I appeal to give their vote to Dr. Tunde Ajibade. I have no doubt at all that the NBA would be in very good hands with him as our President.

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