- July 12, 2022
- Posted by: Stephen Azubuike
- Categories: NBA, Opinions
In the coming days, members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) will elect their next leaders to serve from August 2022 to August 2024. One of the aspirants to the office of the President of the NBA is Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, FCIMC (popularly known as “Y. C. Maikyau” or simply “YC”).
Y. C. Maikyau SAN is one of the leading lights of the legal profession in Nigeria. For many who know him and are familiar with his personality and love for the Bar, they will have no difficulty in preferring him to other candidates, though of worthy recognition. Notwithstanding, YC has sterling capabilities which make him outstanding. In several fora, and as contained in his detailed manifesto, he talks about what we summarised below as his Triple “R” project for the future of the Bar.
The Triple R Project
YC’s Triple “R” project is compelling. According to him, he has a mission to “recover, reform and reposition the Bar to work for all her members.
YC understands the present needs of the Bar and where the Bar is headed. He represents more of the generation of “young progressives” and has demonstrated the required know-how and passion to lead the Bar. As a member of the NBA, YC has served and continue to serve the Bar in many capacities. He was a Member of the NBA Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee (LPRRC), which made far-reaching recommendations for the reform of the Profession culminating in the Legal Profession Regulation Bill. He chaired the North Disciplinary Committee from 2012 to 2014. He was the immediate past Chairman, Law and Individual Rights Committee of the Section on Legal Practice (NBA-SLP) and had also served as a member of the ad hoc Welfare Committee set up by the NBA to alleviate the hardship occasioned on members of the Bar by the COVID–19 pandemic. YC was the pioneer and current Chairman of the NBA Welfare Committee and have been a member of the NBA National Executive Council (NEC) since 2018.
Therefore, beyond being a member of the Inner Bar in his privileged capacity as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, YC’s contributions and service to the Bar thus far speak volume.
Considering his pedigree and philosophy, most objective members of the Bar regard YC as a bridge between the young and the old. To them, looking at the achievements of the outgoing NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, no one would sincerely wish that we return to the old ways. YC will have no difficulty propelling the lofty ideas of the present administration which will guarantee continuity in pursuing the actualisation of the prime objectives of the NBA.
In order to recover the crown of excellence and professional fulfilment for many members of the Bar, YC comes up with a laudable initiative – He promises to:
Establish an NBA Employment Bureau that will be saddled with the responsibility of interacting/interfacing with Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) both at the Federal, State and Local Government levels, including the Armed Forces, Police and other paramilitary organisations, to seek placements for our members.
Aside this, YC promises that his administration will treat with utmost priority the issue of enhancement of earning capacity of lawyers, especially young lawyers, and the general welfare of lawyers through the NBA Medical & Health Insurance Scheme, free medical outreaches, life assurance policy, access to credit, among others.
In specifically addressing the need to look after young lawyers, it is easy for others to simply identify this need. However, YC made a fundamental remark that confirms the depth of his understanding of the situation and the solution desperately needed. According to him, we need “to invest sacrificially and strategically in the great potentials and resourcefulness of our younger colleagues.” The Learned Silk gave a background to this. He recounts that his journey into the law profession and where he stands today is a function of providence and the privileges/opportunities he was given as a young lawyer. This means that no other candidate is better positioned to understand and address the concerns of young lawyers than him.
To reposition the Bar, the NBA needs a leader who is conversant with global trends and competitiveness within our legal space. YC demonstrates this. He observes that if voted,
Our administration will leverage on the extensive work carried out by the Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) on the workability of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), and opportunities provided by social media, new technology, blockchain and artificial intelligence and ensure that members of the NBA are equipped to keep in step with and stay ahead of the curve in the digital economy.
YC’s mission acknowledges the duty of the NBA to Nigeria as a nation. His Triple “R” project is quite extensive. This accounts for the reason the Learned Senior Advocate explained in his manifesto that he longs to lead a Bar Association that will “champion the course for the recovery, reformation and repositioning our nation yearns for.” For instance, on the issue of national insecurity, YC recognises that many Nigerians, including lawyers, have lost their lives, practice and means of livelihood as a result of the activities of criminal elements and promises that if voted, his administration “will be in the vanguard of the call on Government to pay critical attention to the security of lives and properties of Nigerians.” Regarding the forthcoming 2023 general elections, he promises that his administration “will ensure robust engagement with the relevant agencies and stakeholders; closely monitor and carefully report election activities, in order to guarantee that the will of Nigerians is respected and fully implemented.” These are huge tasks and the Bar needs a vibrant leader of the Bar who will fearlessly deliver on these assignments.
YC promises that if voted, his administration will cooperate, support and defend the Judiciary in the discharge of its judicial duties and to propose worthy reforms in the administration of justice.
Still on reform, YC is determined to work with the Council of Legal Education, the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Faculties of Law in various Universities to pursue necessary legal education reform. To achieve this, YC hopes to draw from the 2007 Funke Adekoya SAN Report on the Reform of Legal Education in Nigeria (commissioned by the NBA) and the 2008 Funke Adekoya SAN report on the reform of Legal Education in Nigeria (Commissioned by the Council of Legal Education).
In pursuing the recovery, reforming and repositioning of the Bar, YC notes that we must look around the world for inspiration, collaboration and work to attract mutually beneficial partnerships. As a member of the International Bar Association (IBA), he hopes to engage the IBA and other Bar Associations in the world in the interest of members of the NBA.
Undoubtedly, YC appears more positioned to lead the Bar at this critical period. The project of recovering, reforming and repositioning the Bar is for a man like YC who has the proven capacity and youthful energy to fulfil the all-important duty to work tirelessly in the interest of the entire members of the Bar.