Mr. Adeyemi Abijo spoke to DNL Legal & Style on what he would do for the Tiger Bar if elected the Secretary of the Branch at its Branch Election scheduled to hold on Tuesday, 26th June, 2018.
DNL L&S: May we meet you sir?
Mr. Abijo: I am Abdul Fatai Adeyemi Abijo. I was born in Lagos State, Nigeria. I am from Ogbomosho Town in Oyo State, Nigeria. My parents Mr. & Mrs. J.K Abijo are blessed with five children (Mother side) and I am the fourth.
DNL L&S: You have featured prominently in the affairs of NBA Ikeja Branch and have always been in the front on issues affecting the branch, what are the motivating factors for these selfless contributions?
Mr. Abijo: My motivation amongst other factors include the fact that in any organisation or society where progress is yearned for by all, one must not exist without contributing to the said progress. On the other hand, I am endowed with a natural passion to make positive impact anywhere I find myself. Another motivating factor for me is that of being a member of the Rotary Club. I belong to the Rotary International, Ogba District 9110 were I have served as the Club Secretary & Vice President-Elect respectively. These positions in the club would expose you to various aspect of service to humanity. I believe selfless service is the best work any individual or group can render in life.
DNL L&S: How are you able to cope with your busy practice schedules and your services to NBA Ikeja Branch?
Mr. Abijo: Coping with practice is normal because what I do in the NBA like other organisations I belong, is what I am quite passionate about. In fact, it confirms the saying that one can only get better in life if you discover what you are passionate about & create time for it. It will not only help you to get by in life but will help you lead a happy life. More so, my practice is a partnership of very upward looking and vibrant professionals. I have people who are capable of doing exactly what I would do in situations in the office and I am never worried about leaving things with my partners. So, combining practice with service to the Bar comes naturally and without stress at all.
DNL L&S: NBA Ikeja Branch has been adjudged by Legal Practitioners as the most active Branch of the NBA. Do you agree with this and if yes, how did NBA Ikeja Branch attain this status?
Mr. Abijo: I cannot agree less. NBA, Ikeja is undoubtedly the most vibrant, most progressive & most dynamic of the 126 branches of the NBA. In fact, it is a tradition in Ikeja Bar to be progressive-minded as a member. Greatness reside in Ikeja Bar. Greatness that was built over the years through successive coaching. The Branch is the only Branch that engages in activities expected of Bar Association anywhere in the world; protection of citizens’ rights, standing up against the tyranny and obnoxious policies & tendencies of government at all time & so much more. It is only in Ikeja Bar that you have the Annual Gani Fawehinmi Lecture (FAWEHIMIISM), Annual Alao-Aka Bashorun Lecture in honour of the best President of the NBA who is now late & just recently, Annual Prof. Akin Oyebode Moot Competition. You will agree with me that celebrating personalities who have made sterling marks in the noble profession is in itself a sort of greatness on the part of Ikeja Bar. It should be noted that Ikeja Bar is the only NBA branch that featured as beneficiary under the late Human Rights Crusader, Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s Will. It is indeed evidence of greatness that has been set by past leaders of the Branch.
DNL L&S: NBA Ikeja Branch is also known as the Tiger Branch, how did the Branch come about that alias?
Mr. Abijo: The name Tiger is simply symbolic of a no-nonsense attitude which the Branch has been known for. The Branch has always been known to be forthright in her fight against oppression of the less privileged in the society and does not fear any government of the day. This dates back even to the military regime when people were afraid to speak out for fear of harassment. Only Tiger Branch could have stormed the House of Assembly in Lagos State to protect people’s rights against the obnoxious Land Use Charge regime earlier this year. And so many other people friendly things that the branch continuously do. This also buttresses the point I was making on successively being coached to become great. When a seed of greatness is sown and then nurtured, it continues to grow and blossom. That is what you have in NBA Ikeja Branch.
DNL L&S: You were the Secretary of the Planning Committee of the just concluded 2018 Law Week of the Branch, how would you rate the performance?
Mr. Abijo: Though it may be a little out of place for me to be the rate the success of the Law week, being a member of the Committee but I must say this, the success recorded by the just concluded law week taught me that you can only get better in life when faced with challenges. Because, the law week was going to be a total failure but for the dogged and positive spirit of both the Branch Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana and the Law Week Planning Committee Chairman, Mr. Adekunle Ojo. I have learnt a lot working with the duo. In my humble view, the week-long programme was a huge success but I would say it was a collective effort from everybody. The committee worked tirelessly, the support from members of the Branch was overwhelming. It was a law week that had in attendance, the likes of Prof. Itse Sagay SAN as the Honouree of the Bar Dinner alongside Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, the Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University and the revered Hon. Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, JCA. Bringing these calibre of persons together took a lot of effort. The Bar Dinner was held in Sheraton Hotels & Towers, Ikeja on Friday 22nd June, 2018. What I know for sure is that it can only get better in NBA, Ikeja branch.
DNL L&S: Ikeja Branch would be going to the polls in few days to elect new executives, we gathered that you are throwing in your hat for the post of the General Secretary. Do you confirm this?
Mr. Abijo: Yes, I confirm that I am vying for the office of Branch Secretary in the elections scheduled to hold on Tuesday, the 26th June, 2018.
DNL L&S: What prompted you to join the race for the post of General Secretary of the Ikeja Branch?
Mr. Abijo: As I have earlier alluded-to, it is my passion to serve. I am always ready to serve anywhere I find myself. I have taken out time to understudy the Branch for a while now starting from when I served as Secretary & Vice Chairman of the branch’s Young Lawyers Forum and thereafter, as Assistant General Secretary of the Branch Executive between 2014-2016. I have found that there is need to inject new ideas into the administration of a Bar Secretariat as that of a big and vibrant branch like Ikeja Bar. Ikeja Branch is the third largest branch of the NBA after Lagos and Port Harcourt branches.
DNL L&S: In what specific areas do you consider that you would be able to make impacts?
Mr. Abijo: If voted as Secretary of the most Vibrant Branch of the NBA, aside from the statutory responsibility of up-to-date minutes of meeting & more, I have tailored my intervention to upgrade the facilities of the Bar Centre for the enjoyment of our members. I intend to within the first month in office carry out staff audit and retraining in a bid to achieve optimal performance. The Toilets, Library, Power & water supply are areas I have found requires immediate attention. The secretarial administration of Bar Association like ours require a lot of data tracking system (DTS). This is to put together general information of members to ease communication & information management. There will be a sort of automated information dissemination to members using there captured details. Under me as Secretary, there will be free internet service (Wi-Fi) within the secretariat and the ambience will be made more conducive for members. I shall rejig the branch’s website without delay upon resumption in office.
The Secretary’s office will now be open to members for complaints on practice & general issues with prompt attention as may be required. Complaint channels (digital & analogue) to be created for this purpose.
The very important stamp & seal challenges will be met with formidable representation at the NEC meeting whilst the DTS will be used to deliver automated messages (e-mail & SMS) to inform members when their seal is ready for pick instead of repeated visits to the Bar Centre resulting in waste of precious practice time of colleagues. All these and many more will be done working closely with the Branch Chairman and other Executive members.
DNL L&S: What message do you have for your supporters in the coming Branch election?
Mr. Abijo: I enjoin my large supporters to endeavour to attend the manifesto day fixed to hold at 12noon on Monday, 25th June, and make sure they cast their votes early enough on Tuesday, 26th June, 2018.
What I know for sure is that there is no such thing as self-made man; only votes and support can make our dream of a better NBA Secretariat a reality.
Thank you as we head for the polls on Tuesday 26th June, 2018 from 9.00am prompt.
DNL L&S: We hope that when the election is over, we would have time to really speak on other issues and areas of life.
Mr. Abijo: Yes sure.