Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
Leaders of lawyers from the northern part of the country on Wednesday met with the new President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Olumide Akpata, and other national officers over the threat by some lawyers from the region to secede from the association to form the New NBA.
At the end of the meeting which lasted about three hours at the national secretariat of the association in Abuja, the participants from about 40 branches of the association in the northern region rejected the splinter group.
The acting Chairman of the Arewa Lawyers’ Forum, a socio-ethnic platform of lawyers from the northern region, Mr Elisha Kaura, also called on all lawyers in the country to support the new NBA President.
He said, “We the undersigned individuals, who are Chairmen of the various branches of the Nigerian Bar Association that make up the Northern Geopolitical Zone as defined in the NBA Constitution 2015, and other senior members of the Bar have today Wednesday, September, 2, 2020 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, met with the NBA President, Mr Olumide Akpata, and the National Officers of the NBA. We have unanimously agreed to support his leadership of the NBA, and we hereby restate our true allegiance to the NBA and disassociate ourselves from the “New NBA” or any splitter group whatsoever making the waves in recent weeks as a new association/body of lawyers in Nigeria.
“We understand that the NBA has historically and in recent times been fraught with several challenges but we are indeed assured that the NBA under the leadership of Mr. Olumide Akpata will surmount these challenges and birth an all-inclusive Bar that will work for all Lawyers in Nigeria regardless of any part of the divide one may belong.”
Kaura urged all lawyers in the country to support Mr Olumide Akpata and the new national officers to ensure that they deliver on all their core mandates.
The division within the association was escalated following the decision of its National Executive Committee to dis-invite the Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir el-Rufai, to speak at its just-concluded Annual General Conference which culminated in the inauguration of Olumide Akpata as the NBA President on August 29, 2020.
Speaking earlier, Akpata said leaders of about 40 branches of the NBA and about the same number of other leaders of the association from the northern region attended the Wednesday’s “stakeholders’ meeting”.
“We remain one bar, one NBA,” he said.