It was a memorable night filled with happiness as over five hundred (500) lawyers gathered at Hotel Seventeen in Kaduna, on Sunday, 24 June 2018, to declare and reaffirm their support for leading NBA Presidential hopeful, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN.
The event was attended by eminent Legal Practitioners and Bar Leaders with the likes of Mallam Sani Garun-Gabbas, SAN (Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Jigawa State), Abdulahi Haruna (Former Attorney General of Kogi State), Alhaji Tajudeen Oladoja (Life Bencher), Ogbeni Biola, Esq., Mr. Wole Agunbiade, Haliyu Amina Halilu (Former Group Company Secretary of NNPC), Emeka Ogbonaya, Esq., Sanusi Shehu Sanusi, Esq, Zainab Atoba, Amina Audi Mohammed (Vice Chair, FIDA) and many more.
At the Dinner, several comments and goodwill messages were showered on the personality and candidacy of Paul Usoro. Alhaji Tajudeen Oladoja who opened the floor gave a brief introduction of Paul Usoro describing him as the man needed to lead the NBA.
In the euphoria of the evening, Mr. Abdulahi Haruna, the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Kogi State, had this to say about the Learned Silk, “Everything that I have done in the legal profession, I owe it to Paul. This is because I did not intend to practice law but Paul encouraged me to practice. Paul and I had worked together in the same firm, but later in 1985, we decided to start our practice and we established ‘Usoro, Haruna & Co’. My first brief was drafted by Paul and I learnt a lot from him. Today, I trust Paul and I encourage you all to trust him because my trust in Paul has brought me thus far and done me well. Paul has been my very good friend and I know him well. If you give him your votes, he will never disappoint you”
Lending his voice on the personality of Paul Usoro, Mallam Sani Garun-Gabbas, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Jigawa State had this to say; “I know Mr. Usoro and I can say that he is very humble. He has the competence to lead the bar. He has the connection to take the bar to a greater height. The bar needs a President that will bring transparency and I believe that Paul Usoro will bring transparency to the NBA. We have decided to support Paul because we believe he has what it takes to lead the bar. We have been threatened several times for supporting him, but we will continue to support him because we know that with Paul Usoro, the NBA will be a better association of lawyers”.
“I have known Paul Usoro for many years. We were together at the Faculty of Law, University of Ife where he was the President of Law Students Society. He has always had the zeal in him to serve; he was equally the President of the West African Law Society. He is a humble fellow who detests corruption. Paul stood firm and appeared before the Senate and of course the Court to stand against examination malpractice in the University of Ife. When you are looking for a leader that is simple and accessible, I can vouch for Paul who has sat on the boards of several blue chip companies, which depicts that he is financially independent. This means that he will not serve us in a way that our money will be misused”, Mr. Biola Oyebanji, a senior member of the Bar said.
Mr. Wole Agunbiade on his part added that he joined Paul Usoro & Co in 1991 and worked for four years, during which he learnt a lot of things from Mr. Usoro. He stated thus – “I have learnt a lot from my boss, Paul Usoro. If you work in my office, you won’t pay practice fees, branch dues and conference fees because I will pay for you. Also, I operate an open door policy, which I also learnt from him. I keep my cheque with my juniors and I usually sign open cheques for them. I learnt this from my boss”. He went on to say that Mr. Usoro has set a standard for him which he is following. “I believe that as the President of the NBA, he will be the best and will certainly set a standard for the NBA”.
Speaking on behalf of female lawyers in Kaduna, Hajiya Zainab Atoba said that she has heard and read a lot about Mr. Usoro’s benevolence, particularly in the area of the welfare of young lawyers. She assured Mr. Usoro of the supports of female lawyers and urged him to continue to do those good things when he becomes the NBA President.
In the same vein, Mr. Abbas Yakubu thanked Mr. Usoro, SAN for his tremendous financial assistance to his sick brother in India and stated that the Learned Silk is beyond religious sentiment, tribal divide and geographical delineation.
Speaking on behalf of female lawyers in Kaduna, Amina said that she has heard and read a lot about Mr. Usoro’s benevolence, particularly in the area of the welfare of young lawyers. She assured Mr. Usoro of the supports of female lawyers and urged him to continue to do those good things when he becomes the NBA President.
Responding to all the goodwill messages, Paul Usoro thanked all the lawyers present for their unalloyed support and commitment, and stated that the NBA is a professional association and should have a quality leadership. The NBA, according to him, “is the association of lawyers that has the capability to influence not just its members but the larger society”. He pointed out that “if we put our house together as far as the NBA is concerned, then we will be able to correct certain things in the justice system and even in the larger society”.
The Learned Silk also used the opportunity to enjoin NBA leaders to have proper financial skills and to make it a practice to publish the financial statements of the Association. He advised further that the NBA needs to have professionals to manage its finances and there should be an internal control mechanism for procurement in the NBA.
In his closing remarks, Paul Usoro, SAN urged lawyers to support a candidate who has the practice of putting his money where his mouth is, and a track record of taking care of young lawyers.
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