In December, 2017, I attended the NBA Dinner of the NBA Lagos Branch (one of the best events I have ever attended till date) at a time when I was disillusioned with the Profession. I was working tirelessly with a law firm in Ikeja earning a remuneration that couldn’t take me home literally. I was seated among my peers but never felt more alone in the world. I was already getting ready to leave when a towering figure sat beside me. He looked at me and said, “Do you care for a drink?”, I replied, “Yes”. He looked so familiar and I kept wondering why, not until he said, “My name is Olumide Akpata. What’s yours, bro?” My blood suddenly ran cold. Is this the same Olumide Akpata? Senior Partner of Templar, one of the largest law firms in Nigeria? I replied, albeit feebly, “My name is Victory”. Then he continued, “How is practice?”. “Not so good. Honestly, I am barely getting by where I am. The pay I’m earning can’t even take care of my transport. The only advantage is that it’s a specialized firm so I am learning a lot”. “How long have you been there?”, he asked. “Two years now”, I said. He was quiet for about 15 seconds and then he continued, “Victory, if you think you have learnt all you need to learn in that firm, then you need to find the courage to leave. You will never discover your true self if you are scared of what tomorrow will bring. You will miss out on the best opportunities life has to offer and trust me, I’m a living witness. Those opportunities are waiting for you”. He gave me a pat on the back and went to exchange pleasantries with other colleagues present.

I thought long and hard about what he said for months and it gave me the courage to leave.

Today, I am the Company Secretary of one of the largest Real Estate Network Marketing companies in Nigeria.

Olumide Akpata is the definition of true mentorship.

He thoroughly understands our problems as lawyers.

He knows where the shoe pinches.

And he is extremely sincere about tackling it head-on.

The Bar might never have the opportunity to finally place a consummate Bar man who really and truly cares about our welfare as lawyers.

The Edo-born-Lagos-based-Warri lawyer desires to inspire real life changing reforms in our Profession.

And I, Ilugo Victory MADU, can personally vouch for his sincerity.

It’s high time we have for ourselves a Bar that truly works for all.

Ilugo Victory Madu.
Member, NBA Lagos Branch. 

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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