It was a great sight to behold as young lawyers, senior lawyers and senior advocates of Nigeria turned out in their numbers for the dinner hosted by Paul Usoro, SAN in Abuja recently. Many pledged their support for the leading presidential candidate of the NBA 2018 General Election. The event took place at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Central Area, Abuja, had the likes of Kanu Agabi, SAN as the guest speaker. Paul Usoro, SAN underscored the paramount importance of the forthcoming election and why he is the right candidate for the NBA Presidential position.
According to the host, what motivated him to run for the post is the welfare of the Bar. The complaint by lawyers on how the standards of the profession has fallen, and how a young lawyer named Justice Chukwuani who is physical disabled told him that listening to him gives him hope as far as the profession is concerned.
“I was in the Assemblage of lawyers and they were discussing how the standards of our profession has fallen, their challenges as far as the profession is concerned, how they don’t have faith as far as the NBA is concerned, and also, how everyone should be switched off from the Association. “I said to myself, if I were to conduct a poll on each of you and have your individual complaints about the Association.
“Most people are complaining why they will have to pay so heavily just to attend the NBA AGC even when they enjoy no benefit from the Association. This is one of the reasons I decided to run for the office of NBA President; to bring hope to every one. To let you know that it is possible as the president of the NBA to put you first,” he said.
Speaking further, he said that his articles on reflections which has been coming out for some weeks, reflect his thought for NBA, his visions and plans for NBA.
“The primary challenge of young lawyers is welfare. They complained about being paid money that cannot take them home. Originally, that was called,”take home pay,” but today the pay cannot take them home.
“The problem is not completely from the senior lawyers, as their sources of income is shrinking because in parts, non-lawyers are taking lawyers’ works. The legal market is shrinking and that is what I think the NBA should focus on. The people who are foreign lawyers are taking over assignments that are meant for Nigerian lawyers and in the process, income is shrinking. The ability of senior lawyers to pay their juniors is shrinking and this is a problem.
“What I intend to do as NBA president is to make sure that the legal market which is shrinking is protected for all of us. It makes a lot of sense to protect the legal market,” he added.
To him, any person who wants to be the president of NBA should have a record not only for the young lawyers but for the seniors as well. He stated that the welfare of lawyers is very paramount but mentorship is an aspect that is very critical and it is more important than welfare, adding that they have the record on mentoring many young lawyers and that the problem of the bar is not only the young people.
In speaking on how the bar is managed, he said that the bar should be run in a transparent manner that will bring confidence to the Association.
“I believe the NBA should be run in a transparent ground, that when you need an information it will be very easy to obtain that through the website. I believe that the financial statement should be prepared and published quarterly. It should not be a matter of speculation. It should be available to all the members of the association. With this, the members can easily say, ”these are the streams of revenue that came in the last quarter, this is what we have in the bank, these are our investments”. We should also have a budget that will be published.
“We need an open system that lets you know, the amount we have, where the money is kept, the plans for the money, amount raised from sponsorship, donations or from the brand marketing. NBA is a big brand and money can be made out from it but we need to be open with what we do with the money,” he said
Speaking on the NBA stamp and seal, he said that questions should be asked on why we have delays in the delivery of stamp and seals even after paying. “Is it the same vendors that we have been using for the past years? If they are, then there’s problem with our procurement method and that needs to be fixed. These are practical issues that I believe the NBA should take care of and I intend to take care of them in the interest of the bar to give every one confidence.
On the video where a young lawyer was manhandled, the learned silk said that he did not want to get into how the police got into the office of the ex-principal, but there’s absolutely no excuse for them to assault the gentle man.
He also said that the bar should focus on speaking for its members as well as the citizens of Nigeria. It is not for nothing that the NBA is known as the voice of the voiceless.
“NBA has the capacity to speak. Invading judges’ homes, harassing lawyers and citizens by security agencies constitute an assault on the rule of law and therefore, NBA needs to stand up for its member judicial officers and the citizens to speak up against it.
Kanu Agabi, SAN, said that Paul is the man that the bar needs to make the different.
“The last time I stood here to speak was for my friend A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, and today, he is NBA president. I pray for you, Paul, that the same grace that was upon A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, when we spoke for him will come upon you.”
He therefore urged all present to support him. The A.G and commissioner for justice, Akwa Ibom State, Uwemedimo Nwoko, assured lawyers that paul Usoro, SAN, is the quality product that the bar needs and that Akwa Ibom is strongly behind his mandate, because they know the product he is made of.
“My boss, the Governor of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel, is very interested to Paul Usoro Presidential Ambition on the platform of the NBA. There is a state commitment to this journey. I appeal to you all to break barriers to go for excellent, quality; a gentle man that will take NBA to the next level. I assure you that with paul as the NBA president, Nigeria will hear your voice. The current president is working, but we need improvement and it is Paul that can deliver this mandate,” he added.
Sen. Ita Solomon Enang, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters, Ag and Commissioner for Justice, Jigawa State, Mallam Sani Hussaini Garun Gabbas, SAN, Taiwo, SAN, Offong Offiong, SAN and Aisha Mohammed were among the dignitaries at the event.
is a legal practitioner, website developer and ICT Consultant.