A total of 9 entries were received from lawyers between 1 to 5 years at the Bar practicing in Benue, Ebonyi, Kwara, Lagos, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Delta States. 4 geopolitical zones – North Central, South West, South South and South Eastern regions participated.
A three-person Evaluation Committee, comprising of Prof. Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, Mrs. Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN and Mr. Essien Udom, was constituted to appraise and evaluate the entries and select the winners.
In evaluating the entries and ultimately determining the winners of the Challenge, the Committee considered the publicized criteria and guidelines for the Challenge, viz:
a) the participant must be between 1-10 years at the bar;
b) the participant must create a short video explaining his/her pro bono case;
c) the participant must forward supporting documents to designated email address;
d) the pro bono case must be at the trial stage; and
e) gender related cases, child abuse and humanitarian matters were to attract extra points.
Guided by the PU Challenge Criteria and Guidelines, the Evaluation Committee scored participants on:
• Entry inspires others or offers an opportunity that is appealing to other pro bono volunteers,
• Entry meets existing or emerging legal needs of low-income or less privileged,
• Displayed good advocacy skills,
• stood for a worthy cause; and
• audio-visual presentation of the pro bono matter.
Result of the Evaluation: Only one entry satisfied all the criteria for the Challenge. A good number of entries received did not meet the critical qualification criteria that the case must be at trial stage. Some participants did not provide sufficient documentary evidence in support of their entries.
Other entries showed the applicants’ role in the matters was either very minimal, or merely a pro bono case handled by the law Firm but not the participant. Consequently, 8 entries were adjudged not compelling enough to win the Challenge.
The Evaluation Committee therefore announced Abasiodiong Ekpeyong, Esq as the winner of the first edition of the Paul Usoro Challenge.
To ensure full transparency and independence of the process, PUC staff were not involved in the collation and evaluation process nor did they have visibility on the content or identity of participants.
The entire process was conducted and facilitated by DKK, an independent & leading Public Relations consultancy agency.
All the entrants namely Ogechukwu Mary Ulasi; Emmanuel Nnamdi Offiah; Iniobong Sunday Udoh; Adam Muhammed Ndakudu, Dayo Majeed, Kelvin Lorzenda, Yusuf Olarewaju Afeez & Ogonnaya Ukachukwu were encouraged with consolation prizes of N50,000.00 each for efforts.