Osibanjo, Solanke, Kolade Charges SANs on Exemplary Leadership

L-R: Chief Femi Falana, SAN; Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN; Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN; Special guest at the occasion, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, SAN; Chief Fagbohungbe, SAN; Damian Dodo, SAN

Senior Advocates of Nigeria have been urged to use their leadership position to empower others, encourage the young ones, to be an example and show the way to those who follow them. The above charge was made by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN, Chief Mrs Sola Solanke SAN and Amb. Christopher Kolade during the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) Dinner held at the grand hall of the Intercontinental hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The event which was the first ever social gathering of Senior Advocates of Nigeria was a platform for achieving greater synergy among the Senior Advocates in Nigeria. The Dinner being the first of its kind was for many Senior Advocates an opportunity to unwind with their spouses and get to know each other better outside the courtroom.

In his opening remark, the Vice Chair of the Dinner Committee, Paul Usoro SAN gave a brief background on why BOSAN is coming out to the public at this time. He said that BOSAN is looking at engaging in the legal profession in 3 ways: 1. Continuing legal Education; 2. Scholarships and 3. An Annual Dinner to welcome new silks. He called out all the new silks and presented them before the guest. About 18 of the new silks were present.

Chief (Mrs.) Solanke SAN was also called upon to briefly address the SANs and in her remark she decried the fallen standards of legal ethics and respect within the profession. She noted regrettably that lawyers are not properly addressing the judges and each other with respect and challenged the SANs to help restore respect within the profession by teaching the younger lawyers proper courtroom ethics.

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One of the early highlights of the evening was the formal welcome extended by the body towards newly preferred SANs – a task performed admirably by Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN.

Hon. Justice Onnoghen, CJN, whose remarks were read on his behalf by Justice Okoro, urged Nigeria’s body of learned silk to shed their reputation (in the eyes of the public, at least) as arrogant, stuffy and out of touch, and their gatherings as mere old boys’ networks.

While maintaining that senior advocates must balance the privileges inherent in their enviable status with the weight of expectations on the part of those who use their services, and the society at large, Justice Onnoghen called for the institution of a pre-conferment induction programme for newly-preferred with a view to inculcating the needed values in them.

In his dinner lecture, Dr. Christopher Kolade CON talked about leadership in Nigeria. He noted that needed skills such as interpersonal skills, communication skills, an ability to listen and to respect his followers. He said a leader must have courage and strength, he must stand firm, ready to admit his faults, must be humbly yet use his power and authority wisely. He encouraged the SANs as leaders to empower others, encourage the young ones, to be an example and show the way to those who follow them.

Lamenting what he called ‘the yawning gap between expectations and performance’ in Nigeria’s leadership challenge, Dr. Kolade reminded his audience that leadership was not about title, status or money, but about a leader’s ability to keep faith with the legitimate expectations of his/her people by focusing on results.

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Following Dr. Kolade’s well-received speech, a series of toasts were proposed to BOSAN; to the Nigerian Bar Association; and to the Nigerian nation, after which the special guest at the occasion, Vice-President Osinbajo took the podium to laud the aims and objectives of BOSAN.

The nation’s number two citizen made a passionate call on the elite in Nigerian society – including  the learned silk and other leaders – to constrain in themselves the inherent human tendency toward selfishness, as well as sacrifice parochial loyalties in pursuit of the greater good.

President of the Nigerian Bar Association also lauded the idea which was also welcomed by many Senior Advocates of Nigeria present who noted that it was time for the SANs to come out and officially play their part in the development of the BAR and the nation as a whole.

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