By Onozure Dania
The Mid-West Bar Forum has issued a 48- hour ultimatum to Chief Gweke Akudihor, Mr Rasaq Isenalume and Mrs. Tessy Eghe-Abe to apologise to the chairman and members of the forum for issuing a false and unauthorised statement calling on the chairman of the forum to resign as chairman. They were also asked to retract the said publication from all social groups/WhatsApp platforms where they had posted the said statement or be suspended from the forum.
The letter by the chairman, Chief Chike Onyemenam, SAN, Publicity Secretary, Prince Alex Obade reads: “Take notice that at the just- concluded Quarterly Meeting of the Mid-West Bar Forum held at Asaba, it was unanimously resolved that you issue within 48 hours from today, a statement apologising to the Chairman and Members of the Mid-West Bar Forum for your false and unauthorised statement calling on the chairman of the forum to resign as chairman, and retract the said publication in all the Social Media/WhatsApp groups where you previously issued same, within 48 hours from today, failing which, you shall stand automatically suspended as members of the Executive Committee of the forum.”
The forum went ahead to make the following resolutions: “That Chief Arthur Obi-Okafor SAN, was unnanimously adopted as the sole candidate of the Midwest Bar Forum, for President. Mr. John Martin’s was adopted as the candidate for the position of 2nd National Vice- President having polled 53 votes against seven votes for Ben Orji.
“The following candidates who are members of the forum were also unnanimously adopted: Akorede Habeeb Lawal for the post of Asst. Pub. Secretary; Kunle Edun for the post of Publicity Secretary and all other sole candidates from the forum who are awaiting clearance by the Electoral Committee of the NBA, ECNBA.
“Twelve out of the 14 branch chairmen informed the meeting in the presence of all that after due consultation with their branches, the branches adopted Chief Okafor as the Presidential candidate for the forthcoming NBA elections of the NBA billed for the 28 of this month
“On the proposed first annual summit of the Midwest Bar Forum, the chairman informed the house that it was postponed because of the Ramadan fasting and paucity of funds, that a new date will be announced soonest. On the proposed Amendment to the Legal Practitioners’ Act, the chairman informed the house that there had been no additional inputs from members since the last meeting. The House therefore, resolved that the recommendations of the Giwa-led committee be adopted and sent to the National Secretariat as the input from the Midwest Bar Forum.”
Meanwhile, the association of Igbo Lawyers, Otu Oka Iwu, has thrown its weight behind Chief Okafor as the choice of Igbos for the Presidency of the NBA in the forthcoming elections.
Its president, Chief Chuks Ikokwu assured Chief Okafor that the association would back him during the NBA elections coming up this month.
Commending Okafor for the “erudite lecture” which he delivered to the law society during their meeting, Ikokwu said that the law society “will strongly support your quest to lead the NBA to a better future.”
He said the group had bestowed Okafor with “offor,” the Igbo symbol of authority, adding that he was certain that the presidential aspirant, who is also chairman of the NBA Criminal Justice Reform Committee, “will make us proud.”
Speaking earlier on the topic: The challenge of unemployment and under-employment in the legal profession, Okafor urged Otu Oka Iwu members to embrace the partnership model in legal practice, warning that “the days of solo practitioners are numbered.”
His words: “The time has come to build the Nigerian lawyer as a brand. The Nigerian lawyer must be transformed into a knowledgeable, versatile, courageous brand and with deep insight into global best practices. This brand must specialise and dominate the legal market in specialised areas. This brand must transmute from being a jack of all trade to an expert in certain areas in the legal market.”
Turning to the controversy surrounding the issuance of stamps, the leading NBA presidential aspirant said that there was the need to “issue stamps to all lawyers who have paid their practising fees for the legal year.” But he added that “the stamps must have expiry dates to check quacks and ensure that only lawyers with current practice licence are issued with the stamps.”
On the need for (NBA) to foster its role as the mouthpiece of the masses, Okafor noted that “the new NBA President must be ready to speak out on crucial national issues.”