“I have, therefore, considered it apposite, at this point of the electioneering campaign, to lend my voice and support to one of the presidential candidates, Paul Usoro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in his own right. The intention here is to give my personal assessment of Paul as a person, in my capacity as his former employee. First, I wish to state that if there is any presidential candidate who would cater for the welfare of (young) Lawyers, Paul Usoro is the man. Believe it or not, the way a man treats issues of his children’s welfare determines how he would treat other people’s welfare when given the responsibility.  Paul Usoro has shown, over the years that he cares about the welfare of other Lawyers. This he has done through a good pay package for his staff.

As a former employee of Paul Usoro & Co. (PUC), located at Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos- Nigeria, I state on my honour that he pays a comparatively good salary. In an era where many Law Firms find it difficult or are simply unwilling to pay their Lawyers salaries that are commensurate with the work done, Paul exemplifies the saying, “Do unto others what you would want them to do unto you”. My research reveals that no other presidential candidate in the NBA election pays as much as Paul Usoro & Co. This juxtaposition becomes relevant against the interesting background that, all the candidates seem to be emphasizing the welfare of members as one of their campaign promises. If a man cannot take good care of less than 100 Lawyers in his office, who toil daily to take his Law Firm to a pride of place, I am not sure that same man would have the moral strength to champion a cause that would lead to the reshaping, retooling and review of the sorry state of package doled out to Learned Colleagues in the name of salaries It is understandable where such Law Firms do not earn much, but it is quite unpardonable for senior Lawyers to earn millions from clients and then tell the junior Lawyers to wait for their time. What time, Sir? That is hocus-pocus!

The NBA needs a de-tribalized man at the helm of affairs and Paul is that man. Apart from the already known fact that he has lived, studied and practiced in virtually all the Geo-Political Zones of Nigeria where he has had cause to interact with Nigerians of multicultural backgrounds, Paul also promotes excellence over and above tribal and other primordial considerations. A case in point is the recruitment process at his Law Firm which is not restricted to any tribe. I have no doubts that excellence, diligence and innovation would be rewarded under Paul’s presidency.

Paul Usoro is fit for the presidential office of the NBA because he possesses the rare attribute of fruitful and engaging human relations. Many employers often allow the fact that others depend on them for family survival to get into their heads. Paul is not like that. He treats every staff with respect. While some Lawyer is calling Police Officers to harass and brutalize his staff for demanding his lawful and just entitlement, Paul on the other hand would listen to you with a fatherly disposition and proffer solution to your yearnings.

As a matter of particular interest, there is one other thing I admire about Paul; he does not believe that you must abandon your aspirations for the purpose of serving him or his Law Firm. He believes in your dreams and helps you with advice and other support to actualize them. Some Firms turned me down because they thought there was no point hiring someone who would not stay long with them. To my amazement, Paul was excited about my dreams. He said he had seen my credentials and that they tended towards my dreams for the academics. Since that very day till now, he calls me “Professor” because I told him I would love to be one. Despite the fact that he knew I was not going to stay long with him, he employed me and encouraged me with all that he could. Paul kept and still keeps in touch, asking pertinent questions about my academic progress. Only a few employers keep the channels of communication open to their ex-employees.

Indeed, the Paul Usoro that I know would be a rare gift to the NBA. A cursory review of his now trending campaign manifesto reveals that he knows what the NBA needs at the moment and how to get it. Overseeing the affairs of NBA has some polycentric implications and it takes a man of Paul’s vast experience, humanness and technical or on-the-spot corporate governance skills to resolve such polycentricism. His humility is another great asset that is worth exploiting. This is a man who submits to superior arguments from the least Lawyer in the Firm. He seeks advice from those below him as he believes that age alone has nothing to do with best decision-making.

My dear colleagues and my dear ex-students, we cannot afford to organize NBA activities in a higgledy-piggledy manner in this 21st Century. I implore you, therefore, to cast your votes for a man that would bring NBA back to its glorious days. His proposed programme of action shows that a lot of positive things would happen to every Lawyer and every Nigerian under his administration. Promotion of the Rule of Law in Nigeria, promotion of welfare programme and the advancement of human capital development of the Nigerian Lawyer would be secured under Paul Usoro, SAN. Paul is known for innovations, and NBA stands a good chance to benefit from this innovation-driven man who practically singlehandedly drafted the Nigerian Communications Act which heralded the GSM revolution that you and I enjoy today. Paul puts others first. Paul would put the interests of Nigerian Lawyers, the NBA and the general public first before his personal interest. Thank God it is an electronic voting process. I have found my name on the list of eligible voters and I shall be casting my vote for Paul right here and I beseech you to do the same. Support PAUL USORO, SAN…he puts you first.”

Philip Oamen is currently a PHD Student at University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

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