JUSUN STRIKE SPLITS LAGOS NBA BRANCHES, AKPATA WADES IN

• Ikeja Branch insists on protest march today
• Akpata Gives Nod to 4 branches to visit tomorrow
• Schism on interpretation of NBA’s directive

The directive by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata to NBA branches to pay a “visit” to Governors’ offices today and deliver letters to press home the demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary has split the five branches in Lagos State.

While Ikeja Branch insists on holding a “protest march” today in support of the ongoing strike by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), the four other branches yesterday agreed to “visit” the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu tomorrow to deliver their joint letter.

At least two branch chairmen told CITY LAWYER that efforts made to persuade Ikeja Branch, otherwise called the “Tiger Branch,” to join other branches in the visit tomorrow met a brick wall, as the branch insisted that it had resolved at its last monthly meeting to embark on a “protest march,” even before Akpata’s directive.

NBA Ikorodu Branch Chairman, Mr. Abimbola Ojedokun told CITY LAWYER that all the branch chairmen met via whatsapp call yesterday to agree on the modalities for the visit, noting that aside from Ikeja Branch, the other branch chairman resolved to deliver a joint letter to the Governor tomorrow.

“We agreed to gather at Alausa Secretariat between 11 am and 12 noon and proceed to the Governor’s Office to meet with the Governor and deliver a joint letter to him on the issue,” said Ojedokun. “We set the time to enable members from far-flung branches like Epe and Badagry to join the group.”

Ojedokun said that the branches were mandated to mobilize their members for the visit, adding that while NBA Lagos Branch would alert its members of the decision at its monthly meeting holding today, the three other branches have scheduled emergency general meetings today to work out modalities for tomorrow’s visit.

Confirming Ojedokun’s stance, the Chairman of NBA Epe Branch, Mr. Ademola Koko told CITY LAWYER that the during the virtual meeting, Ikeja Branch stated that its plan to proceed on a protest march was 99 percent complete, adding that it could not resile from the resolve of its members.

“After the meeting, we issued a communiqué for each branch to convene an extra-ordinary general meeting to inform its members of the resolution to visit the Governor tomorrow. The meeting considered the fact the Mr. President’s directive was issued on Friday, leaving limited time to plan for the visit.

“Mr. President’s directive was for a joint visit to the Governor to deliver a jointly signed letter by all the branches in each state. That way, the letter will carry more weight. I am glad to tell you that Mr. President gave approval to the four branches to proceed with the visit tomorrow. We have just ended our own EGM. We are already mobilizing our members.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe was mandated by the other three chairmen to write the letter, to be endorsed by other branch chairmen prior to delivery to the Governor.

When CITY LAWYER telephoned NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, Mr. Bartholomew Aguegbodo, he did not pick the call. However, a former Secretary of the Branch, Mr. Chinedu Ifezue told CITY LAWYER that the branch was holding an extra-ordinary general meeting where the chairman was presiding.

He said the EGM had again endorsed the earlier resolution to proceed with a protest march today, adding that “it is strictly in compliance with the NBA President’s directive. In fact, not to conduct the visit today is the real breach of the directive.”

In a press statement personally signed by the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, the association asked all NBA branches to march to their respective State Governors on Monday “to effectively mobilize their members and pay visits to their respective State Governors at the Government Houses on Monday, 19th April 2021 to press home the demand for implementation of financial autonomy for the Judiciary. At the visit, NBA Branches in each State are to present a joint written demand to their State Governor requesting full compliance with existing legislative instruments and court judgments on the financial autonomy of the Judiciary.”

Noting that the demand for financial autonomy “is legitimate, constitutional and is in the best interest of the Judiciary as it is one of the key parameters for enthroning independence of the Judiciary and fostering democracy,” the NBA also directed the branch chairmen “to ensure that these visits are embarked upon, every subsequent Monday, until there is full compliance with this demand that is aimed at strengthening our democracy and the dispensation of justice. We trust that our members will give the leadership of their respective branches all the support that they require to achieve this much needed victory for our justice system.”

The move is coming on the heels of stalled efforts to amicably resolve the impasse, a situation bemoaned by the lawyers’ association which stated that “With these developments and the recent actions and utterances of officials of some of the State Governments, it has become apparent that most of the State Governments are not ready or willing to implement the constitutional provisions which grant financial autonomy to the

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JUSUN STRIKE: LAWYERS SET TO STORM GOVS’ OFFICES TOMORROW

Nigerian lawyers are poised to storm Governors’ offices tomorrow in compliance with the directive by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and to press home the demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary. The move is in apparent solidarity with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) which embarked on a nationwide strike to ensure financial autonomy for the judiciary.

In a press statement personally signed by the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, the association asked all NBA branches “to effectively mobilize their members and pay visits to their respective State Governors at the Government Houses on Monday, 19th April 2021 to press home the demand for implementation of financial autonomy for the Judiciary. At the visit, NBA Branches in each State are to present a joint written demand to their State Governor requesting full compliance with existing legislative instruments and court judgments on the financial autonomy of the Judiciary.”

Noting that the demand for financial autonomy “is legitimate, constitutional and is in the best interest of the Judiciary as it is one of the key parameters for enthroning independence of the Judiciary and fostering democracy,” the NBA also directed the branch chairmen “to ensure that these visits are embarked upon, every subsequent Monday, until there is full compliance with this demand that is aimed at strengthening our democracy and the dispensation of justice. We trust that our members will give the leadership of their respective branches all the support that they require to achieve this much needed victory for our justice system.”

The move is coming on the heels of stalled efforts to amicably resolve the impasse, a situation bemoaned by the lawyers’ association which stated that “With these developments and the recent actions and utterances of officials of some of the State Governments, it has become apparent that most of the State Governments are not ready or willing to implement the constitutional provisions which grant financial autonomy to the Judiciary.”

Below is the full text of the statement.

JUSUN Strike – NBA Directive to Branches

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‘NO HERO HAS EVER EMERGED FROM TREACHERY,’ ADESINA WARNS

BY EMEKA NWADIOKE

Erstwhile Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Mr. Dele Adesina has said that it was the association and not him or his supporters that lost the recently concluded election.

In a statement dripping with passion, Adesina also warned that NBA may have “lost the last opportunity to re-invent itself,” adding that “time will tell.”

He described the poll as “electronic fraud,” saying: “However, please remember that for those who masterminded, planned and executed the NBA election electronic fraud, no hero has ever emerged out of treachery no matter how noble he thinks his cause is.”

The full text of his speech is below:

THANK YOU ALL FROM DELE ADESINA, SAN, FCIArb.

To all my dear Supporters and Colleagues, particularly my Friends and Co-workers on various social media platforms, DASAN Committees, NBA Forums and Platforms, l once again wish to express my heartfelt gratitude and profound appreciation to each and everyone of you for the wonderful role you played in our attempt to re-create our Association by making it a positive catalyst for the Legal Profession and our Nation. We thought they would respect the very wide acceptability level we enjoyed through-out the Nation and different blocks and allow a fair, free and transparent election. Unfortunately, we never knew that the degree of audacity will be this brazen. We were going there to change the ways and show the path to follow, to demonstrate the meaning of true leadership in purity, honesty of purpose and integrity. Regrettably, those who hold the NBA in suffocating throat know the reason for doing what they did.

One clear thing from these past weeks is that we have built a strong bond of friendship and brotherhood thereby creating connections across the Nation. To all our partners, I urge you all to continue in this spirit of fellowship and keep our connections active as we are all together in this journey of life and career fulfilment in the true spirit of being “our brother’s keeper”. Please, do not exit the Forums and Platforms as it is my desire that we stay together, look after each other’s welfare and mutual progress. The NBA Presidency for me was not an end in itself but really a means to an end. The difference only is that the focus may now be shifted from that of institution to the individuals and that is you.

My believe and that of many, both within and outside of the Bar is that the election of yesterday July 30, 2020 was lost by the Nigerian Bar Association not me or you who worked tirelessly for the repositioning of our Association, the restoration of its honour, glory, integrity and the security of the future of our beloved Profession. Whether or not NBA has not lost the last opportunity to re-invent itself, time will tell. However, please remember that for those who masterminded, planned and executed the NBA election electronic fraud, no hero has ever emerged out of treachery no matter how noble he thinks his cause is.

Once again, I thank you all for your support. God bless you and bless the works of your hands.

Dele Adesina, SAN, FCIArb.

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.

What Usoro Told Obi Okafor, Ojukwu

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President-elect, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN had written to his co-contestants for NBA Presidency, seeking their cooperation towards a successful tenure.

The letter, which was copied to all NBA current and past presidents, has generated much furore.

Below is the controversial letter as obtained by CITY LAWYER:

On ‎Friday‎, ‎August‎ ‎24‎, ‎2018‎ ‎02‎:‎33‎:‎36‎ ‎PM‎ ‎WAT, Paul Usoro, SAN <paul@xxxxxx> wrote:

Dear Current and Past Presidents

On second thoughts, I decided I should make you privy to my self-explanatory mail below to my brothers, Ernest and Arthur. It would be my joy to work with both of them for the common good of the NBA and I respectfully and most humbly implore you to join voices with me to intercede and direct the three of us towards that common goal, in the terms of my mail to them. I thank you all and pray for Divine blessings and protection for you and your families.

Best

Paul Usoro, SAN
Senior Partner

From: Paul Usoro <paul@xxxxxx>
Date: Friday, August 24, 2018 at 1:59 PM
To: “Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN” <arthur@xxxxxx>, Ernest Ojukwu <ernestojukwu2@xxxxxx>
Subject: Nigerian Bar Association

My dear brothers Ernest and Arthur

Soon after the NBA Elections last Monday, 20 August 2018 I called both of you (same day in regard to Arthur and on Wednesday, 23 August 2018 in regard to Ernest) but you both must’ve been busy and couldn’t take my calls. I also left WhatsApp messages on your phone but again, your schedules may not have permitted you to revert. I had intended to use my calls to reach both of you and solicit your support for my running of the NBA, post the elections; not having reached you nor heard from you, I thought it wise not to wait any further but to articular my thoughts vide this e-mail.

Let me start by first stating that I fully understand your respective feelings and belief that you and not me should’ve won the NBA Presidential election. I probably would’ve felt the same way, perhaps, not as heated, if I had lost. I’m however reminded of the fact that, win or lose in an NBA election, we, the three of us, remain learned friends, brother Silks and kinsmen from Eastern Nigeria. Those are strong unbreakable bonds that NBA election, win or lose, should not and must not put asunder. Indeed, a win by any of us ought to have been and should be seen as a win for all of us, given those bonds that I’ve listed. It is in that spirit that I’m truly and earnestly extending my hands of brotherhood to both of you and appealing that we sheath swords and join hands in reshaping the NBA into an institution that we all can take pride in.

In truth, beyond the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that I’ve highlighted above, there’s a lot more that binds us together as far as the NBA is concerned. By virtue of our ranks, we’re all leaders of the profession and each of us is eminently qualified to lead the Bar – at least, that’s what I believe in regard to you two. Indeed, our Election Manifestoes shared some common features with the difference being only in the modalities and strategies for achieving those common objectives. Our three Manifestoes, for example, talked about welfare issues for lawyers, not least, the young lawyers, we all talked about an inclusive Bar where there’ll be standing room for all lawyers irrespective of gender, age, ability/disability etc. and we also talked about giving voice to the voiceless and the promotion of the rule of law, amongst others.

These and much more were our common agenda items during the elections and I believe that the Bar will be greatly enriched if we were to join hands to achieve these and several other goals that we so beautifully articulated in our respective Manifestoes. Just think of it: can you imagine what pride we bring to Eastern Nigeria and indeed the profession if we were to work together along these lines, and, God being on our side, we achieve great things for the NBA during my tenure as the President of the NBA? In two years, we’ll jointly be the toast of the Bar and indeed of Nigeria if we seize this moment. I truly request you to think of my proposition even as I look forward to the opportunity of sitting with you, jointly or separately, to advance and flesh out such a course while harmonizing our thoughts in that regard.

I thank you for taking the time to read this “epistle” and look forward to an indication from you on the convenient time that I may call you, respectively, to advance discussions on these matters. Meanwhile, please, feel free to reach me by sms or whatsapp or e-mail. Do have a restful weekend and see you at the AGC.

Best

Paul Usoro, SAN

Senior Partner

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