NBA: My victory for young lawyers, says Akpata

The President-elect of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, has described his election as a victory for young lawyers.

Akpata emerged winner of the NBA presidential poll conducted electronically between 11pm on Wednesday and 11pm on Thursday.

With 9, 891 votes, Akpata defeated two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Dr Babatunde Ajibade and Mr Dele Adesina, who polled 4,328 and 3,982 votes respectively.

In his acceptance speech on Friday, titled, ‘Let us secure the future through a united Bar that works for all,’ Akpata said his victory was for young lawyers and lawyers who felt marginalised in the NBA affairs.

He said, “The victory of last night is for our young lawyers who have become disillusioned with the way the NBA had been run over the years and how the profession appears to be disconnected from the challenges that face them and their future.

Akpata, however, said there was a need for improvement in the NBA electoral process, promising to see to such improvement during his two-year tenure.

The NBA switched from manual to electronic election in 2018 and this year’s was its second experience.

Though a total of 29,636 lawyers were accredited to vote in this year’s e-election, only 18,256 succeeded in casting their ballots.

Few hours to the end of the poll on Thursday, Adesina had called for its cancellation, describing the exercise as a sham.

He called on Ajibade and Adesina to join him to “achieve our common goal of revitalising the Bar and ensuring that our voice is firm and unshaken when we speak.”

Meanwhile, A former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof Chidi Odinkalu, on Friday, described the election of the NBA as a deeply flawed exercise.

He said it “would be worthwhile for the new leadership of the NBA to consider instituting a root and branch internal inquiry into leadership elections in the NBA and begin from its first day in office to prepare something seminally different and better in 2022.”