The president-elect of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr Olumide Akpata, who describes himself as ‘a Lagos based, Edo-born, Warri lawyer’, has been receiving congratulatory messages from his opponent at the 29th-30th July NBA Election, Dr Babatunde Ajibade SAN, and many well wishers, among them the renowned human rights lawyer and now Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, and Dr Joe Abah, former head of the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
“Hearty congratulations to my friend, brother and classmate, Mr. Olumide Akpata on your victory as the new President of the NBA. May God give you wisdom and strength to pilot the affairs of the Association.” Keyamo said.
Dr Joe Abah said, “Congratulations, my brother Olumide Akpata, on your election as NBA President. Please celebrate tonight because there’s a lot of work ahead. The noble profession can be a real force for change in this country. You can count on my continuing support.”
The Election, insinuated in some quarters to have been rigged, pitched three candidates to contest for the position of the President of Nigerian Bar Association. Akpata, a partner of Templars Law, an international full-service practice legal firm of wide reach and structure, had said that his more than two decades of heading the administration of a big law firm, and his experience in the affairs of the Association and other notable public organisations will stand him out above the other contestants.
Mr Olumide Akpata said yesterday morning that, “Yesterday, we made history and today, I want to thank each and everyone of you who supported me and who was part of this process.
“I want to salute my entire team who worked tirelessly to make this a reality, sacrificing precious time to deliver our mandate.
“Distinguished Learned Colleagues and Friends, I asked you to give me your mandate and join me in bringing about an Association that works for the majority of its members. Last night, you answered that call in an overwhelming and unequivocal manner. Thank you!”
The Election was not without controversy, as understood from the congratulatory message from Dr Ajibade, thus:
“I have called Mr Olumide Akpata and congratulated him on his election as the 30th President of our great association, the Nigerian Bar Association, in the elections held on 29th – 30th July 2020.
“As a co-contestant in the elections, I am proud of the level of the debate and the quality of the ideas that were brought forth, for the improvement of our association, the welfare of its members and the good of our society.
“It is unfortunate that the process leading up to and during the election itself have, once again, not been devoid of controversy. It is my fervent hope that we will get over these repeated challenges with conducting objectively free and fair elections into the leadership positions in the association.
“I remain resolute in my belief that we cannot succeed in addressing the challenges confronting our profession unless we unite and I urge the incoming President and his executive to take deliberate and proactive steps to unite the Bar.””””