Mr. Paul Usoro SAN has assured Nigerian Lawyers that he would ensure that he urgently bind the wounds and restore unity in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Mr. Usoro was speaking during his inauguration as the 29th President of the NBA today, 31st August, 2018 at the ICC Abuja.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Usoro, accepted that the task ahead is daunting but promised to first ensure that the cracks in the NBA are sealed and unity restored at the bar.
In his words: “It is critical and urgent that we bind, heal wounds and restore unity in our House of Lawyers.”
“My immediate task would therefore be to heal these wounds, seal the cracks and unite our family of lawyers. I have already started the process of such integration and healing by extending my hands of fellowship and brotherhood to my co-contestants, Prof Ernest Ojukwu, SAN and Chief Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN. But I will go beyond them in the days ahead.”
“I’ll seek to heal the wounds of the 2016 NBA Elections by reaching out to my very good friend and brother, Chief J K Gadzama, SAN and bring him back into the NBA family. I know that he has plenty to offer to our Association. There are also several of our Bar Elders who have stayed outside the NBA fold for several years now for one reason or the other, mostly out of disenchantment; we’ll actively work to bring them back into the fold and in the process harvest from their rich repertoire of intellectual resources, experiences and wisdom,”
Commenting on the electoral process Mr. Usoro stated “I must also thank the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) as well as the outgone Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, SAN’s executive and administration for their conduct of the Elections in a free and fair manner. We truly couldn’t have asked for a better set of men and woman with integrity than the Yadudu-led ECNBA. Yes, the Elections had their fair share of hitches and glitches, but no one can fault the good intentions and character of the ECNBA members.
“In truth, the Elections met the standard of substantial compliance and I must particularly commend the ECNBA for being constantly available at all times to aid and support all the candidates and to address our respective concerns and issues. I must not fail to pay special tribute to my co-contestants for the office of the NBA President, Prof Ernest Ojukwu, SAN and Chief Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN. The participation of the three of us in the race greatly enriched the contest and brought out the best in us. This was a very keenly contested race and any one of us could have
“It is common ground amongst everyone that a review of our electoral systems and values is urgently required. In the coming weeks, I’ll constitute a Committee to review and recommend required reforms for and of our electoral processes. Still on our electoral processes, one significant lacuna that came out from the last elections is our lack of electronic data in respect of our members.
“The most difficult and tortuous of the processes during the elections was the electronic capturing of our members’ data and the verification of same. It is rather unfortunate and regrettable that Africa’s pre-eminent Bar Association underwent such pains and pangs as we suffered in the processes of capturing and verifying our membership data,”
He took time to stress on the promises made during the build up to his election, assuring that they would all be met and surpassed.
Mr. Usoro in a special way appreciated the past President for his passion for the reformation of the bar.
“A.B. Mahmoud SAN has not only been passionate about the required reforms for our Association but also worked assiduously at internationalizing our NBA. I have been privy to his efforts at reforms and these constitute the much-needed resource materials for some of the reform programs that we would effect. We would continue to lean on him and his relationships with our international partners and will count at all times on his support and assistance in the course of our navigation of our Association’s journey towards enhanced greatness.
“In like manner we will continue to lean on and count on the wisdom of all our Past Presidents, Bar Elders and Leaders and indeed, all of you our dear colleagues. We are nothing without you. We can only succeed with your support and assistance. More importantly, we come as your servants; you are our masters and we would at all times listen to and heed your advice. Where or when we think differently, we would patiently explain our viewpoints to you knowing as we do that communication between us clears doubts and pre-empts quarrels and misunderstandings. Transparency and accountability, we assure you, would be our watchwords at all times,”
Mr. Usoro appreciated all those who contributed to his success at the election.