THE Association of Igbo Lawyers in Lagos, Otuokaiwu, has endorsed Chief Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN, as the flag bearer of the Igbo race in the forthcoming national election of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA. Members of the group gave him the traditional staff called Offor and raised his hand as the ambassador of the Igbo race.
Speaking at its monthly meeting in Lagos, its president, Chief Chuks Ikokwu assured the foremost litigation lawyer that the association would back him during the NBA elections coming up at the end of the month.
Commending Okafor for the “erudite lecture” which he delivered to the law society during the 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.”
He emphasized the need for NBA to establish a “Committee on Partnerships” to promote that practice model, adding that the committee should be empowered to offer loans and technical support to lawyers to enable them set up such partnerships. Okafor said the NBA should partner global training institutions to provide continuing legal education programmes to members, urging lawyers to equip themselves with contemporary skills that would set them apart from the competition.
“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 trades to an expert in certain areas in the legal market.”
On the controversy surrounding the issuance of stamps, the leading NBA presidential aspirant said that there was 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.”