*Akpata pledges to promote unity in NBA
Leaders and branch chairmen of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in the northern geo-political zone have dissociated themselves from any splinter group of the association, including the New Nigeria Bar Association (NNBA) and resolved to work with the new leadership of the NBA led by Olumide Akpata.
They gave this assurance after a meeting in Abuja on Wednesday with the national leaders of the NBA during which Akpata pledged to work for the unity and progress of the association.
Akpata, after the meeting attended by over 40 branch Chairmen and leaders of the NBA from the northern geopolitical zone, told journalist that “the message we want you to help us put out there is that, at the NBA, we are one. We are not divided.”
He said it was wrong for lawyers, who ought to lead on the right way to go and promote national unity, to be associated with disunity.
Akpata said as lawyers, “we should learn to disagree to agree. We have spoken unequivocally today that we are one association, and by extension one country.”
The Acting Chairman of Arewa Lawyers Forum (ALF), Elisha Yakubu Kura (SAN), later read the resolutions reached at the meeting tagged: “Meeting between the NBA President, national leaders and branch Chairmen and leaders of the northern geopolitical zone of the NBA.”
Kura said part of the resolutions was that: “At the meeting today, Mr. Akpata reassured us that his administration is very keen on ensuring that we did not have only a united Bar, but also an indivisible one, and we verily believe in him.
“We have unanimously agreed to support his (Akpata’s) leadership of the NBA, and we hereby restate our true allegiance to the NBA and disassociate ourselves from the “New NBA” or any splinter group whatsoever making the waves in recent weeks as a new association/body of lawyers in Nigeria.
“We therefore urge all lawyers not only of the Northern Geopolitical Zone, including those behind the establishment of the NNBA but indeed all legal practitioners in Nigeria to please come together to support Olumide Akpata and the new national officers to ensure that they deliver on all their core mandates whilst indeed putting the rule of law, the welfare and capacity development of our members at the fore front.”
The statement, endorsed by the Northern Bar leaders, reads in part: “We the undersigned individuals, who are Chairmen of the various branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that make up the Northern Geopolitical Zone as defined in the NBA Constitution 2015, and other senior members of the Bar have today Wednesday 2nd September 2020 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, met with the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata and the National Officers of the NBA.
“We have unanimously agreed to support his leadership of the NBA, and we hereby restate our true allegiance to the NBA and disassociate ourselves from the “New NBA” or any splitter group whatsoever making the waves in recent weeks as a new association/body of lawyers in Nigeria.
“We understand that the NBA has historically and in recent times been fraught with several challenges but we are indeed assured that the NBA under the leadership of Mr. Olumide Akpata will surmount these challenges and birth an all-inclusive Bar that will work for all lawyers in Nigeria regardless of any part of the divide one may belong.
“We were gratified to hear the NBA President during his inaugural address restate that the Bar that he wants to lead henceforth is one that is united on all fronts and which recognises that our diversity is our greatest strength.”