“By A Click We Shall Know a Lawyer:” The Find-A-Lawyer Portal & Usoro’s Leadership Challenge for the Next Bar President – Udemezue

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Earlier today, I had read a news feature on some media platforms in Nigeria THENIGERIALAWYER’s version came under the head, “Dead-end For Charlatans As NBA Features ‘Find A Lawyer’ Portal On NBA Website”

A fair summary of the Breaking News report, to cut long story short, is that “The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has launched a “find a lawyer” feature on the NBA website, aimed at weeding out charlatans from legal practice,” in Nigeria

The first thing I did , after reading the news, was to search for my name (charity begins at home; but is not charity if it stops at home), and those of some of my friends, acquaintances, and some colleagues I usually read in the news. I even tried to check if some of the judges I know their names are lawyers; guess who was first on the list. And my search was positive, in favour of my lords. It was indeed fantastic.

The era of fake lawyers is over! Even if the fake lawyer forges the NBA seal, we can now catch him from the other room, using the Find-A-Lawyer portal. Fantastic! Check it out: https://nigerianbar.org.ng/find-lawyer

Commenting on this encouraging development, a former NBA Branch Chairman, Levi Adikwaone, described it as a “Laudable Initative, long overdue.” On his part, a social media active player and unrelenting legal commentator, Ike Augustine, was full of applause for the NBA: “Well done to the NBA. This is the kind of innovations we want. We look forward to seeing more.”

I completely agree that “this is the kind of innovations we want,” which means that the PUSAN TEAM knows how to give NBA members what they want. I am not saying that Mr Usoro’s team would give us everything we want; can one ever get all one wants? But, a laudable initiative, long overdue, has now been fully realized, all thanks to the PUSAN-led Pragmatic Leadership Team.

Aren’t Positive achievers worth celebrating? Aren’t what is good worth commending? Why is it then, that, in Nigeria, sometimes, when one states the obvious by acknowledging or applauding genuine giant strides on the part of leaders, some people just think that “sycophancy” is the game? An applause is not just a mere recognition of good performance; it’s proof of being different from the crowd; some fail to realize this. Look for instance at what genuine applause can do, as outlined in the words of Amit Kalantri: “as a spectator, I witnessed the applause given to the performer, so I decided to be the performer.”

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Accordingly, when we commend our leaders, other people with genuine leadership traits are encouraged to step out to serve. If all we do is to vilify and pummel leaders, we discourage upcoming true leaders. Therefore, followership shouldn’t be all about criticisms and passing opprobrium. No. ”Good followers support and aid their leader when he or she is doing the right thing, and stand up to the leader–having the courage to let the leader know when he or she is doing something wrong or headed in the wrong direction,” says Ronald E. Riggio (Ph.D.), associate dean of the faculty at the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California.

According to Barbara Kellerman, a leadership lecturer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, there’s a lot you can learn about being a good leader by learning to be a good follower. Besides, she adds, “being a good follower doesn’t make you a ‘sheep.’ Being a good follower means being engaged. It means paying attention. It means having the courage to speak up when something’s wrong and it means having the energy and activism to support [and applaud] a leader or manager who’s doing things wisely and well.”Thank God, we all are now living witnesses to unfolding events, indubitably testifying to the earlier-said, about the PUSAN team’s resolve to reposition the NBA for a greater, more glorious future. See “31 Prominent Reasons the Paul Usoro NBA National Leadership Stands Out! – (Compiled by Udemezue)” (www.dnllegalandstyle.com).

And that brings me to this: it’s now obvious that Mr Usoro’s leadership is setting a high standard that any incoming NBA President can only work very hard to sustain and surpass. Mr Paul Usoro’s leadership has set the NBA on the path of faster progress and speedier advancement. It’s now forward ever and backward never. This serves as an advance notice to all and each of the current Aspirants to the NBA Presidency in 2020. If you know you don’t have what it takes to sustain the standard already set, and legacies already put in place by PUSAN’s team, and to continue therefrom towards making the NBA only greater, and its members better, please withdraw from this race. In my opinion, the factors that would determine who eventually gets elected as the NBA President would be different from what obtained in the past.

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Although all the aspirants I know are quite well-to-do, money would be out of the question this time. Nigerian lawyers would look at your pedigree, your true intentions, your past record, and your wider acceptability among lawyers, etc. Performance is key. Your ability to easily organize and galvanize your team towards innovation and greatness. Your ability to assemble bright brains to make things happen. Your ability to accept corrections without bitterness, and to move ahead happily and courageously even against the most severe of criticisms. ▪️Your humble disposition toward members of the leadership team Nigerian lawyers need a true leader at this critical time; only a true leader can sustain what a true-leader predecessor (like Paul Usoro, SAN) has put in place. One who is not a true leader would mount the saddle only to drag us back to Egypt from where we are coming. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say that the PUSAN leadership has taken the NBA to the promised land; but it would take only an unthinking, undiscerning and unreasonable mind to argue that the NBA is still where it was in 2018.

Although the two years given to his team is too short , but a great deal of positives has happened within the same two years, so much so that we have since left Egypt and now headed for the promised land. We have made serious progress; so, we must not go back to Egypt. To our NBA 2020 presidential aspirants, each and everyone of you should examine yourselves, put your ego, the self and sectional or personal interests aside, and ask yourself, “Do I have what it takes to continue on this journey to the promised land? Or, would my leadership keep NBA stagnant or lead it back to Egypt?” If your answer is in your favour, then ride on; if not, ride back and away from this race, because I think Nigerian lawyers won’t accept any less. Time for business as usual is gone and forgotten. ▪️Time for a clique holding the NBA to ransom won’t resurface. Time for pure prudence, unblended accountability, undiluted pragmatism, unswerving innovativeness, and selfless leadership, is here.

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The Paul Usoro Leadership has made all these positives a part of the NBA; and we cannot afford to continue, after his tenure, without them. Thank you, Mr Paul Usoro, SAN (PUSAN) and many thanks to your entire team for making it easier for Nigerian lawyers and non lawyers to be in a position to separate imposters (fake lawyers) from lawyers duly called to the Nigerian Bar. The days are therefore gone when one would get deceived by a fake lawyer, parading himself or herself as a qualified practitioner. Just a click on your browser and you shall know who is who. ▪️Let it therefore be known that it was during the Paul Usoro NBA National leadeship era that the slogan, “By A Click, We Shall Know True Lawyers” was introduced.

This was not introduced by mere words of mouth; action speaks louder than voice. Mr Paul Usoro, SAN has proven Steve Covey right: “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” The Usoro team has blended efficiency with effectiveness, and NBA is feeling the positive vibes▪️Peter Drucker said, “Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.” But Mr Usoro’s greatest leadership asset is his ability to carry along all members of his team for effective delivery. It is said that leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work, and, according to Warren Bennis, “the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Even in the face of unprecedented horde of stern criticism, has the Paul Usoro team not done well? I ask again, is this team not worthy of our applause? While I await your answer, may God bless and promote the NBA.

Respectfully,
Sylvester Udemezue
(UDEMS)
(09/05/2020)

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