The Igbo Lawyers Association (Otu Oka Iwu) has endorsed Chief Arthur Obi Okafor as its flagbearer in the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) elections.

The association gave him the traditional staff as “Akajiofor Ndigbo” and raised his hands as a mark of the endorsement.

Delivering the verdict of the law society at its monthly meeting at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, its President Chief Chuks Ikokwu assured the foremost litigator that the association would back him during the NBA elections coming up at month end.

Commending Okafor for the “erudite lecture” which he delivered to the law society during the meeting, Ikokwu said the law society “will strongly support your quest to lead the NBA to a better future”.

He said the group had bestowed Okafor with “offor,” the Igbo symbol of authority, adding that he was certain that the presidential aspirant, who is also Chairman of the NBA Criminal Justice Reform Committee, “will make us proud.”

Speaking earlier on the topic: The challenge of unemployment and under-employment in the legal profession, Okafor urged Otu Oka Iwu members to embrace the partnership model in legal practice, warning that “the days of solo practitioners are numbered.”

He emphasised the need for NBA to establish a “committee on partnerships” to promote that practice model, adding that the committee should be empowered to offer loans and technical support to lawyers to enable them set up such partnerships.

Okafor said the NBA should partner with global training institutions to provide continuing legal education programmes to members, urging lawyers to equip themselves with contemporary skills that would make them competitive.

His words: “The time has come to build the Nigerian lawyer as a brand. The Nigerian lawyer must be transformed into a knowledgeable, versatile, courageous brand and with deep insight into global best practices.

“This brand must specialise and dominate the legal market in specialised areas. This brand must transmute from being a jack of all trade to an expert in certain areas in the legal market.”

Turning to the controversy surrounding the issuance of stamps, the leading NBA presidential aspirant said there was the need to “issue stamps to all lawyers who have paid their practising fees for the legal year” .

He added: “The stamps must have expiry dates to check quacks and ensure that only lawyers with current practice licence are issued with the stamps.”

On the need for NBA to foster its role as the mouthpiece of the masses, Okafor noted that “the new NBA president must be ready to speak out on crucial national issues”.

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