JUST IN: OLUMIDE AKPATA LAYS OUT HIS 4-WAY APPROACH FOR TRANSFORMING THE BAR
Frontline Presidential Candidate in the NBA national elections, Olumide Akpata, seems to have heralded the new week with a roll-out of his 4-way approach to Transformational Leadership. Transformational Leadership, which is now a household term, is the watchword of the Akpata train and, Olumide Akpata appears to have articulated the categorized and systematic manner in which he plans to deliver on his promise of Transformation Leadership.
From posts seen on various social media platforms, Akpata’s Four Way Approach, succinctly addresses the issues of the Bar through four distinct but all-encompassing mechanisms. In no particular order, we gathered that he intends to approach the issues from the angles of (1) The Bar and Its Members; (2) The Bar and the Society; (3) The Bar as an Institution; and finally (4) The Future of the Bar.
The Bar and its Members
Akpata’s focus on the Bar and its Members intends to address those issues that directly impact lawyers, their welfare, their practice and their income. Key focal areas here for Olumide Akpata include (i) Remuneration of Lawyers; (ii) Standardisation of Fees and Charges; (iii) Expanding and Deepening the Legal Services Market; (iv) Protecting the Business of Lawyers from encroachment; (v) Digitisation of Stamp and Seal; (vi) Health Insurance for Lawyers; Abuse of Lawyers by Security Agencies; (vii) Sexual Harassment; (viii) Access to Finance; (ix) an inclusive Bar for all lawyers no matter their chosen career path; (x) an Education Fund to support post-graduate studies by lawyers; (xi) Capacity Development; (xii) a three-tiered approach to mentoring; (xiii) a Career Development Centre; (xiv) Young Lawyer’s specific issues; and (xv) catering to the needs of aged lawyers and lawyers with disability.
Bar and Society
Here, Akpata seems to be focused on those aspects where the Bar can participate actively on societal matter. His focus here are (i) Administration of Justice; (ii) Defending the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary (iii) Promotion and Protection of the Rule of Law and Human Rights; (iv) Appointment and Remuneration of Judges; (v) Law Reform Initiatives; (v) Public Interest Litigation & Advocacy; and (vi) Criminal Justice Reform Projects.
The Bar as an Institution
On the third approach, Akpata is concerned that without a Bar that is structured as a proper institution, it would be difficult to deliver on most of the other plans that any candidate might have for the NBA. As such, information available to us shows that, with respect to the Bar as an institution, Akpata plans to (i) put in place mechanisms for digitization of the NBA’s processes; (ii) proper record keeping and institutional memory; (iii) streamlining of the administrative structure of the NBA; (iv) carrying out institutional regulatory and governance reforms; (v) ensuring synergy with NBA branches and strengthening the various NBA Sections and Fora; and (vi) introducing a anonymous whistleblowing system for sundry complaints like lawyers whose entitlements are deducted but not remitted by their as required by law, sexual harassment issues, and malpractices and corruption by lawyers and the NBA.
The Future of the Bar
On the final approach, which touches on the Future of the Bar, we understand that Akpata is looking at (i) laying the foundation for globalized law practice; (ii) infusing technology into law practice; (iii) encouraging law firms to operate as sustainable businesses; (vi) amending the RPC and LPA to be wholly in line with modern legal practice; and (vi) providing enlightenment on new practice areas while expanding and deepening the market for legal services; and (vii) building strong international collaborations and relationships that will not only strengthen the Bar but also support the legal profession in Nigeria.
Olumide Akpata’s Four-Pronged Approach to Transformational Leadership is something close to an NBA blueprint that touches on the key issues that have been of concern to lawyers. Upon inquiry, we were informed that the details or the modalities for delivering on each of these are contained in Olumide Akpata’s 43-page manifesto that has been submitted to the ECNBA.