NBA elections, matters arising
By Chukwudi Iwuchukwu
A historic development took place days ago within the NBA circle which significance and import are not lost on so many people that keenly followed the development.
Olumide Akpata, a dark horse not approved and endorsed by the establishment emerged as the new Nigerian Bar Association President and this is why it is significant.
Candidate Olu Akpata rattled the establishment and the godfathers within the NBA circle with his aspirations.
Olumide was not a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, there is an unwritten rule that NBA president must at least be a SAN and the precedent has been maintained for a long time I could remember.
Also, Olumide did not go to seek for the blessings of the establishment and the godfathers that erroneously believe that the NBA is their birthright and it belongs to them and their children and it is their right to determine who emerges as the new NBA president.
To make matters worse, Candidate Olumide is a chronic bachelor who is not interested to marry any time soon which is a NO-NO for the establishment that are obsessed with marriage.
What Olumide has going for him is the gift of garb, man is eloquent and can convince even the hardest babe to say yes to him.
He also has the charisma, finesse and appealed to younger lawyers who are tired and frustrated of the pay disparity within the profession.
It is no longer a secret that some young lawyers are earning as low as 30k in this Lagos.
Olumude is also a successful lawyer who is a partner with one of the biggest successful law chamber in this part of the world, a law chamber that many young lawyers aspire to work for after Law school because they have the best remuneration package for young lawyers in the profession.
So he is a symbol of aspiration and what young lawyers could be if they dream big dreams and work hard.
Even when the odds are against him, Olumide went to work and appealed to his base” the younger lawyers” with a promise to deliver an inclusive Bar that works for everyone.
A bar that works for Chukwudi whom because he works hard enough, can aspire to earn a decent income from the chamber where he works and not what is obtainable now.
A Bar that it is possible to aspire to the greatest ideal regardless of your circumstance of birth.
His message which was a radical paradigm shift resonated with the younger generation of lawyers who wants to see a new status quo and a new NBA that works.
All my friends who are practising were solidly supporting Olumide even without knowing who he was on a personal level.
They identified with his message and for them, that is all that matters.
It is possible to see a new Bar that works for everybody regardless of who you are or where you come.
Chief Adegbogega Awomolo, SAN one of the NBA godfather wrote a letter which leaked to the public, in the letter, Chief basically said a non-SAN cannot be NBA President.
That letter irked people & made those who would ordinarily have abstained to come out & ensure that Olu won yesterday.
Just like Obama, Olumide had the momentum of young lawyers who are savvy with social media which Olumide leveraged on to campaign and that demographic made sure that they stayed up in the night to vote for him and followed up till Olumide has been declared the winner.
Olumide’s victory is more significant that Olumide Akpata, a senior lawyer who is not an SAN defeated two SAN to clinch the coveted job of NBA President.
With his historic victory, Olumide is reminding all of us what is possible and that we can recreate Nigeria of our dream using his own story as an example and a model.
He is also reminding us that it is possible to elect a president that has common sense, one who understands complex issues and a president that will make Nigeria work in our lifetime.
Im bullish and elated and I hope Nigerians especially the younger Nigerians are paying attention and taking note to the standard already set by younger generation of Nigerian lawyers.
Olumide is also shown us that elections can be fought and won on social media.
We can make Nigeria work in our lifetime, we can also see a Nigeria that works for all of us but for first, we have to elect the right president in 2023 and trust me;
It is possible.
By Chukwudi Iwuchukwu