By Dignity Ekop.

In a matter of days, Nigerian lawyers will head to the polls to select a new set of leaders for the NBA, which is arguably one the most important professional bodies in Nigeria. With an estimated one hundred and fifty thousand strong membership, the NBA is by default a strategic stakeholder in the Nigerian project and a key player in influencing the fortunes of Nigerian lawyers. There is a consensus of opinion that the NBA has consistently failed to deliver hope to its members especially young lawyers. A significant number of Nigerian lawyers have questioned the utility of the NBA. A larger number have expressed a feeling of indifference about NBA elections partly because they have in the past years witnessed many Candidates for the office of President campaign so vigorously with enchanting poetry but lead so abysmally with leadened prose. Many would argue that the NBA is now a shadow of itself and miles apart from what it should be.

Three distinguished senior members of the Bar have been cleared to contest for the office of NBA President. Truth be told, the three candidates running are men whose profiles individually speak to the dreams and aspirations of many people but Olumide Akpata’s candidacy is the NBA’s moment of epiphany. Akpata is largely viewed as the much needed disruption of the status quo given the profound significance of this year’s elections. Expectedly, his candidacy has rattled the establishment and has been met with fierce mudslinging but the indomitable spirit and unbending will of the vast majority of Nigerian lawyers to change the Bar for good and bring redemptive leadership to the NBA has never been this steadfast. With Akpata, a historic NBA renaissance has never been this imminent.

The establishment has stirred the hornets’ nest and have sought without success to stultify the renaissance and terminate the realization of a truly transformed Bar. Akpata’s candidacy enjoys broad support from the oldest of legal practitioners in Nigeria; men and women who have seen the Bar succeed in their life time and have equally seen a Bar without direction. They have from the abundance of their experience placed implicit faith in Akpata as NBA’s most promising path to glory. Olumide Akpata equally enjoys overwhelming support from young lawyers. Our support for Akpata is compelled by the destiny of a generation. We have collectively placed our faith in the redemptive leadership of the Akpata phenomenon.

Nigerian lawyers have a clear choice to make on 29 July 2020. It is beyond argument that the NBA suffers strategic dysfunction and is therefore unable to effectively service the needs of its members and also respond to the demands of its prime position as the conscience of the society. The many challenges facing the NBA today require solutions that are bold and pragmatic. Beyond his turning point blueprint for the NBA, Olu’s visible and undeniable track record of transformational service to the Bar is an eloquent testimony to his capacity to bring sweeping leadership and reforms to the NBA. His manifesto is the most pragmatic road map to a Bar that works for everyone, everywhere and every time and with Olu’s remarkable discipline of execution, the NBA under him is bound to experience a paradigm shift.

More than any other candidate for the office of NBA President, Olumide Akpata brings an expansionary vision of creating and executing policies that will equip young lawyers with the most modern tools and skills to improve their competence and deepen their relevance for the knowledge economy. Beyond his stellar credentials, a large number of lawyers share the opinion that no other candidate is more thoroughly prepared, vastly experienced and sophisticatedly equipped for the job of NBA President at this time than Olumide Akpata.

It would be safe to say here that the NBA is under huge pressure to reclaim its glory days. The reality is that the NBA needs an urgent makeover and Olumide Akpata is the most suitable man to make that happen. His candidacy is not personal but patriotic so regardless of where you stand or who you plan to vote, if you feel history calling, if you feel the burden of freedom, if you imagine the promise of a generation and feel that hallowed sense of duty, then let’s rise to the occasion and ride the wave of this moment of epiphany and accomplish the goal of transforming the Nigerian Bar Association for our generation and for generations yet unborn. The search has taken so long but the NBA renaissance is now closer than we could have ever imagined.


Dignity Ekop, a lawyer writes from Lagos.

Practical Considerations to Negotiate an Enforceable Joint Operating Agreement in Civil Law Jurisdictions (Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2020) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, LL. B (1st Class), BL (1st Class), LL.M (Calgary), LL.M (Harvard), DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, & Professor Eduardo G. Pereira, LL. B (Brazil), LL.M (Aberdeen), PhD (Aberdeen),   

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