As the NBA national election 2020 draws close, the Chairman of the NBA Section on Business Law decided to express his support for the candidacy of the amiable Mr Olumide Akpata. The Learned Silk made it clear that he had no difficulty in his decision to pitch his tent with Mr Akpata. He didn’t just leave it at that, he supplied a robust justification for his decision. See below.

I, Seni Adio SAN unreservedly endorse Olumide Akpata as a very worthy candidate for the Office of President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Whereas, I did not take this decision lightly, a heartfelt endorsement of Olu Akpata was an easy decision. I realize that in certain quarters I may be considered to have committed heresy by endorsing Olumide Akpata, and not following primordial instincts (assuming I have them) to endorse a candidate from the “core” South-Western States.  Mine is not to explain why I did not endorse another candidate, but to say that in elections of this nature, the decision that one makes must be guided more by an objective consideration of the current state of the legal profession in Nigeria and a patriotic view of where and how one wants the Nigerian legal profession to be in this competitive 21st century. This consideration made my choice of Olumide Akpata an easy one.

Amongst his many leadership qualities, here are some reasons why I strongly believe that OLUMIDE AKPATA is the Man for the Job in 2020.

BOLD: Olumide is courteous and knows when to demur. However, he takes a back seat to no one. He will be a bold and fearless President of the NBA in defending the Rule of Law, fighting for and advocating the objectives and ideals of the NBA, including holding government and the influential accountable, whenever necessary.

HARD WORKING AMBASSADOR: Olu is extremely diligent and hardworking. Obviously, his diligence and industry have earned him professional and leadership success. In barely 25 years as a Legal Practitioner, he has been at the core of the exponential growth of Templars as one of the largest and leading law firms in Nigeria. Besides his law practice, his broad international exposure and hard work are aptly demonstrated by, amongst others, his leadership roles at different times at the International Bar Association, Nigerian Bar Association and the Section on Business Law.

RELIABLE: He is reliable, consistent and very dependable. I can attest to this having, amongst other interactions, worked with him in various capacities within the SBL. In each of those roles, I have seen the commitment and passion that he brings to work. His tenacity and single mindedness in getting the work done are infectious. Thus, my endorsing him for President is not sentimental, but based on personal experience and, in particular, as a result of working closely together for close to a decade.

MENTORING OF YOUNG LAWYERS: Olu’s support of young lawyers is legendary. Indeed, the vast majority of young lawyers have eloquently voiced their unalloyed support for Olumide Akpata. This is not surprising because Olu’s life as a lawyer in the many years that I have known him has been about development and empowerment of young lawyers as the future of the profession. I have, indeed, witnessed his enthusiastic support for the professional development and economic empowerment of young lawyers.

BROAD APPEAL: Moreover, based on the “new norms” resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as accelerating the need to innovate in order to survive, Olu’s dynamism and progressive attributes are the exact qualities required of the next leader of the NBA. Furthermore, Olu’s appeal and network transcends virtually all barriers including religion, age, gender, ethnicity, rank or class.

For these and many other reasons, I unreservedly and enthusiastically endorse OLUMIDE AKPATA in his bid to becoming the 30th President of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Quite compelling! 

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has worked with a number of startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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