Olumide A. Akpata

5th Floor, The Octagon, 13A, A.J. Marinho Drive, Victoria Island, Lagos.
E-mail:[email protected]
31 July 2020

To: All Nigerian Lawyers


Distinguished Learned Colleagues and Friends,
On Wednesday 27 May 2020, I submitted my nomination form to signify the
formal expression of my intent to contest for the office of the President of the
Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the foremost and oldest professional
membership association in Nigeria and the most influential network of legal
practitioners in Africa.

Alongside the nomination form, I submitted a document
embodying my Leadership Programme of Action for the NBA, if elected President.

In that document, I pledged to use what I consider as my greatest personal
attribute: discipline of execution, in carrying out the undertakings that I had given
to the members; and I also promised to lay the foundation for the future profession
that we all desire.

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

Last night, you answered that call in an overwhelming and unequivocal
manner when, at the end of a long and intriguing process, you made me the
President-elect of the NBA (2020 to 2022).

I write to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let me assure you that I do
not take for granted the hard work, passion and commitment that you all invested
into the process that has now culminated in my emergence as President-elect.

When I decided to throw my hat in the ring, I was certain that the election was
really not about me.

I 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.

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.

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 nonlawyer
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.

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 a
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.
Regarding the electoral process, I am not unaware of the complaints by at least one
of the Presidential candidates about the administrative issues surrounding the
elections. 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.

I strongly believe that there is plenty room for improvement in our electoral process,
and I commit to making this possible.

In closing, I congratulate all the contestants for the various offices in the  Association for the hardwork that they put in, and for the successful outing that
they had.

The expectations are high and together we have a duty to devise measures
to tackle the problems of our noble Association. We need to hit the ground running.

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.

I thank you, once again, for the confidence that you have reposed in me, and reassure you that I shall do my best to deliver on your mandate.

 May God bless you all.

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