The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Elections for 2022 is approximately a month away. I particularly want to bid the incumbent president Mr. Olumide Akpata farewell as I attempt an objective review of the growing popularity of the three candidates aspiring to take over the number one seat in the Association.
Without further ado, the time has come to bid farewell to a man who to the best of my assessment is one of the best Presidents to ever lead the NBA. He needs no introduction. Mr. Olumide Akpata is widely known not just to lawyers but to the whole nation. It’s really hard to believe he made this much impact within the shortest period. During his term, whenever lawyers needed a knight, he came with his eyes blazing and his sword drawn. When they needed a voice, he spoke out with a voice as though he could hear their thoughts. And finally, when they needed to groove, with his slick moves on the dance floor, he was the leading example that lawyers are not boring but ballers. Place your ear closely on the floor and you might hear whispers from lawyers wishing he can contest for another tenure. If wishes were horses, right? Well, we move.
The question remains, who will takeover the reins from our loving president? And can we find amongst these aspirants a legal icon who can meet up to the standard set and take us further into the promise land? Let’s examine these legal luminaries.
Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN
Rings a bell, right? Of course, you know him. Chief JK Gadzama SAN is Popular, Sociable and Successful. He has been a foremost Bar Veteran for decades, little wonder it was a shock to thousands of Lawyers when in 2016 elections, AB Mahmoud SAN was announced winner of the NBA top position instead of him who before the vote cast was very popular among lawyers.
So, in terms of experience, popularity and who has been here for the longest of time, Chief JK Gadzama holds the crown.
That said, we can only wait and see if Chief Gadzama still retains not just his popularity but his support base among lawyers as he had in 2016 election.
Called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986 and enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria the same year, Chief J-K Gadzama, SAN was appointed Notary Public in June 1996 and elevated to the worthy rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1998. His professional experience spans a vast area of adjectival/procedural and substantive law.
He has served the NBA in many capacities including as Chairman of the old Abuja Branch of the Association. He is currently a member of NBA Abuja Branch.
I firmly believe that having been here before, Chief Gadzama would be used to the pressure that comes with the aspiration to the position of the NBA President. Even though a lot may have changed and radically too since 2016 in terms of the dynamic process involved in the NBA National elections, one thing that however remains unchanged is the fact that an aspirant’s popularity and antecedents are the most needed tool to securing the majority votes.
Would Chief Gadzama, SAN be the candidate with the greatest advantage in this regard?
We can only wait and see.
Jonathan Gunu Taidi Esq.
The past General Secretary of NBA, Mr Jonathan Gunu Taidi is also an aspirant to the most coveted seat in the NBA. Humble, very approachable, and soft spoken, Mr Taidi is a top Bar Man. Mr JG Taidi started off quite slow, almost playing the role of the underdog in the race. One was at some point wondering whether he was still interested in the race. However, in the past couple of weeks, Mr. Taidi’s fame has risen steadily, positioning him a greater deal as a contender to watch. In terms of popularity, one may say he stands in the middle of the older and the young members of the bar. One thing you cannot take away from Mr. Taidi is his gentle posture. He will unexpectedly sweep you off your feet with his gentle nature.
He became the General Secretary of the NBA in 2018 after surprisingly winning a keenly contested election with wide margin.
He has also served the NBA as Chairman and Secretary of NBA Minna Branch and is a leader of the Branch till date.
Born in 1969 at Kakpi, Baro District of Agaie Local Government Area of Niger State, Mr Taidi was called to Bar in 2001.
This is one to look out for. He is a natural born leader and there’s a reason he keeps being elected into leadership roles. Besides, you know what they say about underdogs? They take you by surprise.
Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN
In my personal view, if there’s anyone who has the ability to take over the likable social aspect of the incumbent president, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN would be it. Popularly known as YC Maikyau SAN and recently YCM, he is the tall, elegant lawyer with style and carriage. He is easily appearing to be the sweetheart of the younger lawyers. I watched him at the recently held Abuja unity Barbecue, the way he danced in, shaking hands and nibbling pieces of suya from people’s plate with that captivating smile of his. I thought to myself that this is a man who knew his way around charming people’s hearts.
This charming outspoken Senior Advocate of Nigeria with an imposing physical frame was called to Bar in 1990 and was conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on 26th August 2011. He is currently a member of NBA Abuja Branch and the Chairman of NBA National Welfare Committee.
He has a very sociable personality, easily accessible, at least from my little observation, at home with the younger members of the bar and generally warm to approach.
If I am to make an honest observation, YC Maikyau SAN has done well warming his way into the hearts of many young lawyers. Would this contribute to giving him an edge over the other contenders?
I guess we just have to find out.
Ifeanyi Clement Nweke is an avid reader and writer, who possesses an innate love for creative writing and a degree in Journalism.
contact: 08121101333. IG: Ifeanyi_clemjay.