Between Teacher and Mazi: The Less You Look; The More You See…

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Afam Osigwe/Prof Ernest Ojukwu SAN

This is 2018, the year Leadership of the Bar would change. At the moment, there are several individuals who have been penciled as potential aspirants to the post of the President of the NBA. In no particular order, I have noted Chief Arthur Obi Okafor (SAN), Paul Usoro (SAN), Professor Ernest Ojukwu (SAN) and Mazi Afam Osigwe.

As it is customary in politics, aspirants to a particular position would before the official announcement that campaigns are allowed  by utterances, conducts and body languages sell themselves to the electorates. The identified NBA Presidential hopefuls have attempted in their own ways to engage in what I prefer to call “early bird unofficial campaigns”, but how have they fared?

Chief Arthur Obi Okafor (SAN) has been very invisible. The few times I have met Chief, he has been very calm. He appears to be very reserved and shy. Contrary to his imposing physique and gait.  I am not sure Chief really intends to contest in this election. Could it be that he is being encouraged to do so by some acquaintances? This is my perception and I hope I am allowed to be entitled to it. Till this moment, I am not able to put my finger on what Chief may stand for as a leader of the Bar. Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking for his campaign manifesto I am just not feeling him. At a point, I was hearing more from his acclaimed supporters who were doing more damages to his humble personality than selling him but now, everyone has gone quiet. In all, I like Chief’s personality. Many call him the gentle giant. I quite agree with that.

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Paul Usoro (SAN) was the last suspected aspirant to the position of the President of the NBA. He came with some very powerful force. The learned silk opened accounts in all social media platforms. The first launch of the Social Media platforms was the Paul Usoro Challenge. Young Lawyers of call age between 1 – 5 years were expected to send in video presentation of their Pro Bono case and 6 winners would win N100,000 each. I guess the first shocker that would have greeted PAU is that only 9 young lawyers submitted entries. What is more discouraging is that just one out of the 9 entries met the guidelines for entries. This indeed is a discouraging encounter. After the Challenge, the Social Media Platforms created by Paul Usoro SAN went quiet. Learned Silk himself became a little bit invisible in the “political atmosphere”. If you have met PAU, he has this air of friendliness around him. A plus I must say to an ambition to serve the public. I am not sure PAU has always been like this, since my encounter has been very recent.

Teacher and Mazi are two Bar men I see to be serious about what is at hand. I know as of fact that these two men would see each other as the real contenders in their coming quest. Teacher and Mazi are grassroot NBA politicians. Both men have been to as much NBA Branch as the other, not to go and campaign but to go and talk about either “the Future of the Bar” or “how the Bar has to be salvaged”. These two men have been very critical of Bar issues and they have made their voice known in very clear terms. There is hardly any core issue affecting the bar that you are amiss as to where Mazi or Teacher stands.

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In the realm of Social Media (which I have predicted would be the major factor that would influence votes in the coming elections), Mazi and Teacher are well positioned. They are very visible. These two fine men also, in almost equal proportion, share the support of young lawyers. They are the only ones that have in clear terms checked the seeming excesses of the present administration. These men are the ones I see presently.

I am unaware of the Ecclesiastes 9:11 which says “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all”.

I am a student of “time” and “chance”, I would continue to observe and learn.

Writer’s note: Teachers of English leave my heading for me like that!

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