New NBA President, Akpata, calls for united Bar

The 30th President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), OLUMIDE AKPATA,  has called for a united NBA to take the legal profession to a greater height.

Akpata, in his inaugural speech on Friday said the mandate he had from Nigerian lawyers is to work for all members of the Bar irrespective of who they voted for, saying that, there is so much work to be done to revitalise the NBA and make it work for everyone without discrimination.

“Ours is a noble profession that prides itself on a high sense of discipline, learning, respect for seniority and character for which its members are reputed. 

“Let us therefore join hands to move the NBA forward. I am also not unaware of very recent events and agitations that have tended to divide our Bar along regional and religious lines. 

“This is rather unfortunate for an egalitarian Association like ours.  The Bar that I want to lead henceforth is one that is united on all fronts and that recognises that our diversity is, perhaps, our greatest strength. 

“I plead with all Nigerian lawyers to bear this philosophy of unity in mind as we commence a new journey together today”, he declared in his inaugural speech. 

According to the new NBA boss, the enormous task cannot be achieved if lawyers continue to fan the embers of division at a time when they desperately need to unite and speak with one firm voice. 

“We must be kind, magnanimous, respectful, and sensitive in our words and actions, as doing otherwise would be a great disservice to our vision of building a stronger and formidable Bar. Now is the time to come together because a divided Bar is a defeated Bar”, he said.

Akpata said the 2020 NBA Election – the voting and result of which were monitored live by a significant proportion of Nigerian lawyers and non-lawyers alike,  was ultimately free and fair, and the result was, by all estimation, truly reflective of the will of Nigerian lawyers and added, “The above notwithstanding, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that there were several glitches in the build up to the Election. 

“As Nigeria’s foremost professional Association, our electoral process ought to be the standard for others to follow and should, to the extent humanly possible, be devoid of the glitches that we witnessed. 

“It was with this in mind that I personally wrote two separate letters to the ECNBA Chairman on 20th July 2020 and 29th July 2020 to highlight the issues that threatened the conduct of a credible election and to recommend measures to immediately address those concerns.

The consensus is that there is need to urgently review the 2020 elections and to institute urgent reforms of our electoral systems.

He constituted constituted a 12 member committee , which he pledged to implement whatever recommendations they come up with well ahead of time to ensure that the 2022 election is devoid of those glitches  noticed in the 2020 election and that  to set a standard that others will aspire to.

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