Saturday, February 28, 2015


On Saturday 21st February 2015, Squib correspondent, Kunle Smith interviewed Adesina Ogunlana Esq., the national co-ordinator for Lawyers4Change on the emergence and activities of the group. Please read on.


OGUNLANA: My name is Adesina Ogunlana. I am a legal practitioner and was from 2012 – 2014 the 1st Vice Chairman Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja Branch. Presently I am the National Co-ordinator Lawyers4Change


OGUNLANA: L4C is an association of legal practitioners who are concerned about the current political situation in our country. We identify participating individuals in the coming elections, whom we consider credible, who can add value to governance and then support them to win and after they have won monitor their activities in office so as to encourage their performance. L4C is specially identifying with Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN who is the vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The professor is well known to us as a decent, knowledgeable, industrious system builder and we witnessed his great achievements in the office of Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Lagos State between 1999 and 2007 and we believe he can deliver even at a higher level. That is why we are supporting him. He is our specific person of interest and because we are supporting him we are supporting the Buhari presidential ticket of cause we admire General Buhari too but we know Osinbajo better. The Professor is a gem.  However we are not APC members. We are just an interest group. Our group is not an organ of the APC, so while we are political, we are not into party politics.


OGUNLANA: The group actually started as a reaction to a particular development in the body politic of the country. You know the APC became the major opposition party in Nigeria upon the merger of the Congress for Progressive Change and the Action Congress of Nigeria. When this merger happened, the new born baby proved to be a behemoth. It was very large indeed and it became more formidable because for one reason or the other, big wigs who were disgruntled or dissatisfied with the ruling party the Peoples Democratic Party, started leaving that party for the APC. When the APC later held her primaries in December 2014, General Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential ticket and some days later the news came that a fairly unlikely choice in the person of Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN had been picked as running mate to General Muhammadu Buhari. When we learnt of the selection of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as the vice presidential candidate of the APC we became elated. The first thing I did was to put a call across to Prof who is very well known to me.

I have known him now for upwards 23 years now, I first knew him as a teacher, he taught me Law of evidence in the year 1992 at the Lagos State University (LASU). I was the captain of the class and interacted with him a little more than most other class members because of my position. He struck me then as exceptionally cerebral, highly organized, gentle, accommodating, polished and humble. So humble indeed that he never called me Sina for many years but always 'Mr.Ogunlana' to the extent some of his staff in his Chambers thought I was a friend to him!

So when I put a call across to him and it was to pull his legs, I said something like, “you have to go out now oga and buy more agbadas because you will be needing them now” and he just laughed. Then I teased him further saying “but oga why were you wearing that child looks on the podium when your hands was raised up on the podium as the running mate to General Buhari”? Then he laughed again and said “Sina you know I am not used to that kind of a thing but went on to say something that touched me. He said “Shina I need your help, this is a very big opportunity for those of us who consider ourselves serious minded to work for the betterment of this country and do our best”. That really touched me because I know that he was stepping out of his comfort zone, he was stepping out of his safety zone. As we all know, politics in our country is played roughly, crudely, even violently. I remember that M.K.O. Abiola also stepped out of his comfort zone to play leadership politics in Nigeria but perished along the way. Professor Yemi Osinbajo is a successful and highly respected legal practitioner. He is comfortable, he may not be fabulously rich like the Dangotes, the Otedolas and the Adenugas but he is very far away from poverty.

I later put calls across to two of my friends Dare Akande and Dave Ajetomobi who are my longtime political associates in the Bar and discussed with them on the necessity for us and all those who believe in Professor Osinbajo to rally round him. My friends agreed with me and after three brainstorming sessions, we went to meet Professor Yemi Osinbajo and presented to him a position paper. The professor liked it.

After the meeting we invited three other lawyers to join us at the formative stage. They are Isa Mohammed Buhari, SOK Shillings and Yinka Farounbi. The six of us brainstormed more and together we agreed to have a meeting of the association of our contemplation. We invited 30 people to a meeting. The meeting held on January 2nd, 2015. Out of the 30 people invited, 26 people turned up and the rest is history.


OGUNLANA: That may not be for me to say. I would rather want to comment on our efforts, it is for people to say what we have achieved. Our efforts are targeted at achieving our goal and our goal is to promote the Buhari/Osinbajo Presidential ticket in the public. Our method is to enlighten our people via direct social interactions while we work with the press to ensure maximum publicity of our efforts. That we have been doing. We have done about three press conferences, we have addressed lawyers’ gatherings, and we have been doing what we called Walk4Change at first, which has now become March4Change. On our campaigns we have distributed thousands of leaflets to members of the public in the natural habitat of streets, markets, shops, motor parks, homes, fields, yards, etc and in the process walking several kilometers. Thus we bring the gown to the town so to say, we bring our intellect to the grassroots and our people do give us respect saying “for lawyers to be doing this, to be out on the streets, they must know what they are doing”. We have campaigned in Lagos, Ibadan, Oshogbo, Ilorin, Abeokuta, Abuja and Ikorodu and we are still going to many other places in South West Nigeria. There is no place we have been that we met hostile reception. Generally, our message has been well received by people although there are some reservations on the part of a few.  See; 


OGUNLANA: As a group, the first challenge is the challenge of suspicion of our motive. Our critics claim without any proof that L4C was formed for pecuniary gains. They say, “you cannot be so organized and active except that politicians have given you a lot of money”. You know in this country, our successive rulers have corrupted the psyche of our people so badly, they don’t believe again that somebody can do something noble or patriotic without expecting a gain. When we go out canvassing and are distributing our pamphlets, you hear some people say “add money to the paper, after all you have been well paid to do this.”

Another challenge is the claim that we are working for the APC while masquerading as neutrals. They say our nomenclature tallies with the APCS’s slogan of “change” and so therefore we must be APC funded but this is not true. We are not members of the APC. I am the coordinator of L4C but I am not a member of the APC, likewise so many other members of L4C. I see propaganda at work but we are not deterred. Another challenge, and this is funny is the claim that L4C dragging the Nigerian Bar Association into partisan politics. How that is possible am yet to understand. The NBA is the umbrella body for all lawyers at the professional level. L4C is just a group with particular political orientation and beliefs and membership is free for those who share its beliefs. The focus and agenda of the two groups are clearly different. Instead of raising this type of curious allegations against us our friends who do not believe in our political agenda should go ahead and form their own groupings. For example they can set up 'Lawyers4Continuity' or 'Lawyers4Peace&Continuity' or even 'Lawyers4Nothing!'


OGUNLANA: What we have done is to provide leadership to our colleagues, to galvanize them to action. You cannot force a lawyer to do anything. Lawyers are perhaps the most difficult people in the world over to force to do anything. We first spoke to them about our ideas and programmes and they were persuaded. Our members have been working ardently with us showing great commitment. They are learning that there is much joy and sense of fulfillment in been interested in lawful efforts to make Nigeria a better place. At any rate it is the interest of legal practitioners as a class of professionals to ensure that democracy does not fail in Nigeria.


OGUNLANA: It is financed by donations, from people of goodwill. Some of them are not members of Lawyers4Change but they are lawyers. They give their widows mite and we have been carrying on with the little we have because our passion to succeed is so hot.


OGUNLANA: Let’s say about three hundred lawyers.


OGUNLANA: We shall turn into a watchdog, of our elected officials and their activities in government







Thursday, May 3, 2012


On Saturday the Squib held an interview with Yinka Farounbi esq., the 1st Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja branch. Farounbi is a candidate for the post of chairman in the forthcoming elections of the branch which will take place on the 7th May 2012.

He spoke about his aspiration and the Ikeja Bar among other things. Please read on.


ANSWER: My name is Olayinka Oyeniyi Farounbi. I am from Ora-Igbomina Osun State. After my secondary school education, I worked for about five years as a factory operator with Poly Ventures Nig. Ltd. Lagos from where I gained admission to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife to read law. I graduated in 1992 and was called to the Bar in 1993. I did my National Youth Service with Fola Ajijola & Co at 5, Adesina Street, Ikeja, Lagos. I thereafter joined the chambers of Olubunmi Oyewole & Co (now Hon. Justice Olubunmi Oyewole) from 1995 to 1999 before I became the Principal Partner of Messrs. Yinka Oyeniyi Farounbi & Co of 114, Ikorodu Road, Fadeyi, Lagos. I am the legal secretary to Osun North East of the Anglican Diocese. Ever since I was called, I have been in active private legal practice and I have handled cases in all our courts.

I am married to Biodun Farounbi, a caterer of exceptional quality. To the glory of God we have children of both sexes. I am the incumbent 1st Vice Chairman of NBA Ikeja Branch. Before this, I was the Auditor of the branch between 2000/2002. Again I was the Assistant General Secretary between 2002/2004 and between 2006/2008 I was the Financial Secretary of the branch. I joined and was actively involved in the activities of the branch since 1998; that was about five years after my call to the Bar. Ever since then I have been attending the national NBA meetings and the NEC (National Executive Committee) meetings also.


ANSWER: Someone that is not just a legal practitioner and merely a financial member of the N.B.A. he is someone who participates in what can be termed the day to day affairs of the organization. He is someone who cannot be regarded as a stranger to the affairs of the organization. As I said earlier, I have been participating fully in the affairs of the NBA Ikeja since 1998 though prior to 1998 I have been attending most of the meetings of the branch but I became very actively involved in 1998. Since 1998 till date the number of meetings of our branch that I did not attend can be counted on the fingers of one hand ditto the conferences and NEC meetings. It is only a “Bar Man” to the core who is dedicated to the affairs of the organization that can go through the things myself and my colleagues go through in the service of the NBA. For the sake of the Bar we have had cause to leave our homes for days on end in the service of the Bar.


ANSWER: The Bar is very relevant indeed to the development of the nation. By our training, lawyers are natural leaders are operators of the political system of democracy that we practice.

You will note that a third of government, that is, the judiciary, is exclusively manned and maintained by members of the Bar, legal practitioners. Even in the executive arm of government, the very important post of Attorney General and Minister of Justice is exclusively reserved for legal practitioners.

In short in a society of laws, the Bar must be very relevant. We are the enlightened ones and we are the wise men of our community. And you will also note that there is very high ethical content in our legal training and if we would not encourage mismanagement, corruption and other vices in our leaders and society, our country will be much better for it.


ANSWER: This question is a little difficult for me to answer not because I do not know what to say but because my answer could be regarded as self serving. However which all due respect, Ikeja is first among equals among the 96 branches of the NBA. Ikeja stands like a colossus. Locally, nationally and internationally, Ikeja is known for its objectivity, activism, courage and welfarism. But for the Ikeja Bar, there would not have been NBA today. In 1992, in the aftermath of the disrupted Port Harcourt conference, the NBA went into limbo and it was the Ikeja Bar that provided the leadership for the restoration of the Bar. It is on record that Ikeja again provided leadership and even the muscle at the 2011 Annual Conference to frustrate the plans of the current national leadership of the NBA to impose unpopular policies like the creation of State Bar on Nigerian lawyers.

Our Bar is one of the biggest branches and we are not big for nothing. We take care of our members during conferences and NEC meetings and we have successfully built an attractive and imposing secretariat, which even now not fully developed is already the envy of others.

Our voice in and outside the legal profession is highly respected and in fact to so many members of the public the only NBA they know and care for is NBA Ikeja Branch.


ANSWER: Thank you very much for this question. Candidly NBA Ikeja Branch at this period of time needs a dedicated and experienced “Bar Man” to lead it and I have got the qualification. I have worked successfully with no less than four administrations an during this period I have not only understudied them I have equally cut my teeth as an administrator within these periods. The NBA assignment is not one to be taken up over night otherwise no success will ever be recorded, it is not at five minutes to twelve midnight that you can adjust to the demands of that office if you are not hitherto used to the system as a “Bar Man” it will be impossible to make any meaningful impact in that office, you will just be “A stranger in the Bar.” It has happened before at the national level and we all paid dearly for it. No matter what detractors may say, our Branch, the Ikeja Bar is already a success story.

The reality of this success story is evident to all except those who out of malice, ignorance or mischief choose to close their eyes to it.

Internally and externally, for reasons I have enumerated earlier in this interview, the Ikeja Bar is a force to be reckoned with in the NBA and in the country. I wish to say with due modesty, that I am one of the architects of the success story of the Ikeja Bar. I have the requisite standing, experience and knowledge not only to maintain and sustain the present standards but to excel them.

I am not a newcomer to the affairs of our dear Branch. I am not going to be an experimenter or somebody learning on the job, using “try and miss” tactics. Remember I have been part and parcel of four different administrations in the past ten years and I have understudied all of them, in fact it will be a waste of my years of tutelage if someone like me chooses not to offer myself to the extremely tasking service of Chairman of the Ikeja Bar.

It is now that Ikeja Bar is admired all over the world that some people want to join the train, thinking only of the glamour of the office of Chairman. I have been tested and tried. This is the time to serve the Ikeja Bar at its highest level.


ANSWER: My chances are very bright. Our colleagues know their true leaders, they know those who have been serving them with dedication, industry, integrity an intelligence. They have accepted our candidacy and bought into our programme.

We don’t need to tell them lies or exaggerate on our strengths and capacities. I am very sure of the wide acceptability of the Omole Regime in which in which I now serve as the immediate Deputy and I am sure that the electorate will not ignore or disregard our record of service. By the grace of God on May 7th 2012, we shall be elected into office as Chairman to continue the good work. Remember, nobody changes a winning team.         

Saturday, November 29, 2008


On Wednesday the 12th November 2008, the Squib spoke with pretty Barrister Amina Imana an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja Branch and the Secretary of the Junior Lawyers Forum of the Ikeja Bar on a few issues including the forthcoming December 2008 Excursion of the Branch to Accra Ghana. Amina is the co-ordinator of the Trip to Ghana. Please read on.

Squib: Our readers will like to meet Barrister Amina Imana.
Imana: My name is Amina Ohiovoluwa Imana. I was called to the Bar in November 2006 after graduating from the Lagos State University (LASU) Ojo Lagos. I am presently an associate in Adekunle Ojo & Co. Legal Practitioners. Before now I was with Olatunji Sofowora & Co. I did a stint with the U.N Information Technology Services (UNITES). After freelancing with UNITES them I joined Adekunle Ojo & Associates.

Squib: Can you tell us a little about the Junior Lawyers Forum (JLF) of the Ikeja Bar since you are the secretary?
Imana: I am the Publicity Secretary of the JLF of the Ikeja Bar. The JLF is a platform for the new-wigs to get to know what it entails to be a lawyer. In short getting to know the ropes of being a very good lawyer. Our chairman is Olawunmi Oluwaseyi. We meet every last Friday of the month to discuss issues, relevant to junior lawyers; issues like how to handle briefs well, how to over come court room fright. It is also a forum for young lawyers to ventilate their grievances in the profession and make known their observations. The JLF also presents the opportunity for young lawyers to embrace continuous legal education

Squib: We understand the NBA Ikeja is planning to take interested member on a one week visit to Ghana in December?
Imana: Yes that is true. In fact I was directed by Mr. Dave Ajetomobi the chairman of the branch to co-ordinate the plans to take our members to Ghana. The branch wants to use this travel programme to bring her members together in a serene and relaxed atmosphere whereby the seniors and juniors can mix freely. We want to create a situation where lawyers will for a little while abandon the normal high pressure life style of their work. To that end the leadership intend to take interested members to a seven day visit to Accra the capital of Ghana. We intend to visit the Ghana Parliament and the Supreme Court. We shall also visit the Elmina Castle, Kakun Park, (a game reserve) and the famous Mokola Market.

Squib: What's the cost implication of the trip?
Imana: It is not expensive. For only N50,000.00 participants will, for 7 days be transported, accommodated and secured in and about Accra, Ghana. You will agree with me that the fee of N50,000.00 is very reasonable. I hope none of our members will missed out of this wonderful opportunity.

Monday, November 17, 2008


On Friday, the 7th November 2008, the Squib had a short but very interesting interview with Stephen Afolabi Babalola Oteju, Esq. a member of the 1968 graduate set of the Nigerian Law School in his expansive Palmgrove Estate Lagos home. Now about 74 years old, Mr. Oteju a widely traveled and successful businessman was the best over all student at the Law School (Bar Part 1) but practiced law for only a few months after qualifying as a solicitor and barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Mr. Oteju hails from Ikorodu, Lagos State.

SQUIB: In your time how was the legal profession regarded?
OTEJU: The law profession as at that time, just like now was highly regarded. Most people who went into law did so because we realised it is a field where you can be many things at a time. As a lawyer, you can also be a businessman. A lawyer can really be anything he wants. The very nature of law and the training make this so. I read law, I wanted to be lawyer all my life. At the same time, even when I was in London I was doing business. When I came back and qualified I practiced for some months before going back to business. But even as a businessman, I am very much interested in the law profession. The knowledge of law has been very useful to me in my life as a businessman. Two of my children are lawyers. This is a field that I very much admire. To me law is a wonderful profession. I was in London between 1961-1966 for my legal studies, I studied law at the Holborn College of Law. You must have the University degree of that College before coming back to Nigeria to qualify from the Nigerian Law School. We are the first set to do nine months of training at the Law School but usually it was three months. We are the 1967-1968 set.

SQUIB: What is your memory of the Nigerian Law School?
OTEJU: The Law School then was very strict, and we were very careful. Those of us who came from outside Lagos were accommodated in the legislative quarters at Victoria Island. Most of us were using one bedroom flat apartment. Dr. Orojo, was the Director of the Law School then. It was a beautiful arrangement.
The training then, was very good. People like Ogendegbe, Ibironke our lecturers.The lecturers were very dedicated. G.O.K Ajayi was also one of them though he was a part time lecturer. I remember that we were just a little above 100 students in our class but have lost 34 of us over the years.
If you don't pass Bar part one, you can not go to Bar part 2 then. Lawyers have always been looked up to, the society respects lawyers. Some people believe they are clever, intelligent. In our time many parents prefered their children to become either lawyers or doctors.
Dr. Elias the Attorney-General of Federation then, was a pillar of Nigerian Law School, I had the privilege of coming first in our Bar part one examination and I got a prize from Elias.
The Director of the Law School then Dr. Orojo was so pleased with me, after we qualified that he advised me and introduced me to Gani Fawehinmi (three years my senior) to practice with him. Gani and I were to form a partnership but the arrangement did not work out. After about six months of practice, I left to join my family in the U.K. I love law but my inclination has always been business. But I make sure that two of my children became lawyers.

SQUIB: Can you remember some of your Law School mates?
OTEJU: Some of my classmates, for instance are Kolapo Gambari (now Emir of Ilorin). I remember James Ogebe and Umaru Abdulilah (they are the one who organized this great occasion.) Goodie Ibru, James Ademiluyi and his wife (they met at the Law School). Moshood Olugbani, Mustapha the Court of Appeal. Are also my mates at the Law school
Of course when we met in Abuja, November 1, 2008 after 40 years of leaving the Law School, we were all happy to see one another. It was our first re-union. We all have changed. Our hairs are now white, but we related as if we were still students. it was a great occasion. We were so happy meeting ourselves. I really appreciate the organisers of the 40th anniversary celebration for our set, James Ogebe and Umaru Abdullahi. I told our people that we must continue this re-union and make it biennial. We must also do something for the Law School, and for the Nigerian Bar Association. We must improve the practice of law. We must make our mark in that area. Those of us at the bar and on the bench, must not abuse our powers. Law is a wonderful profession. I must not forget to appreciate Goodie Ibru too. He gave us free dinner at the Sheraton Hotel.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008



* To effectively coordinate with every sense of responsibility and commitment the branches assigned to me as the 3rd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association.

*To impact positively on these branches for growth, efficiency and development.

* To support the incoming President in all his programmes and efforts to build a greater Bar and a better society.

* In paying periodic visits to branches assigned to me, I shall encourage the branches to support the President thereby ensuring an effective delivery or execution of the programmes of the incoming administration to the overall benefits of members in the branches.


1. Call to the Bar in November 1990

2. Happily married with two children

3. Social Secretary NBA Yola Branch 1992

4. Publicity Secretary NBA Yola Branch 1994

5. Secretary NBA Yola Branch 2003 to 2005

6. Member Conference Planning Committee NBA Annual General Conference Jos 2005

7. Member Council of Legal Education 2004 to 2006

8. National Financial Secretary NBA 2006 to 2008

9. NBA NEC member 2003 to date

10. Member Nigerian Bar Association Election Working Group

11. Founder Action for Justice and Human Rights, a non governmental organisation (NGO)

12. Has attended nearly all NEC meetings and Bar Conferences of the NBA since 1992 to date.


Who is G.C. Igbokwe?
I am a Benin City based legal practitioner, called to Bar in 1985 and have been in serious active practice since then with a bias for litigation. I am from Anambra State, born on the 17th day of June 1962 and married to Mrs. A.S Igbokwe, a Magistrate, with 5 kids. I got my LL.B Hons. from University of London and did my postgraduate course in University of Ekpoma. I am a Notary Public.

In what ways are your antecedents in the bar relevant to your present aspiration?
My antecedents in the NBA constitute what I call relevant experience. They stand me out in the field of contestants. I started my NBA activities with my branch Benin where I served as the Social Secretary form 1989-1990 and later as Secretary from 1996-1998.
At the national level I was elected the 1st Assistant Secretary in 1990 and served in that position till 1992. In that office I was privileged to serve under two very vibrant and respectable General Secretaries in the persons of Obafemi Adewale Esq. and now Hon. Justice Suji Olateru-Olagbegi. In that same office I also served under three very divergent but principled and committed leaders of the bar as presidents namely Charles Idehen, Sir Clement Akpangbo SAN (of blessed memory) and the indomitable Chief (Mrs) Pricilla Kuye SAN. Again in the year 1998, I was elected as the national publicity secretary. These positions give me an edge over other candidates for this position who cannot boast of equivalent exposure. The Association places very high premium on experience and cannot mortgage it for any other consideration. With this background and history of service, I understand the running of the Secretariat and the ideology of the leaders past and present.

If the office of the General Secretary of the bar is the engine room of the association, what special qualities are you bringing to that office?
If elected, I will bring my entire experience to bear on the affairs of the Secretariat. I am mature, dedicated, committed, resolute, realistic, competent, dependable and accountable. I have been tried, tested and trusted in my past activities and offices. I’ll run the Secretariat with so much candour and objectivity that members will be amazed at the level of inattention they had received in the past.

Can you expatiate here on your key programmes and how you intend to achieve them?
My major programme will be to take the Association back to the members who are its primary constituency and have been alienated from it for a long time. I will give them value for their membership by giving them what I term freedom of information on all NBA activities including publication of a comprehensive list of our representatives in corporate bodies including their branches and rationale for appointment so that they can personally aspire to equally be appointed to represent the Association. I will establish and sustain a newsletter that will publicise all the activities of the NBA. I will create periodic fora for interactions with members through their branches for questions and answers on NBA affairs, policies and activities. I will create an avenue for recognizing, honouring and acknowledging members both old and new who have rendered invaluable and selfless service to this Association. In fact, in all ramifications, my regime will be members oriented without losing sight of the secretariats oversight functions.

In your view, how can legal education be strengthened in Nigeria and how can the practice of law be made more lucrative for legal practitioners?
Legal education can be strengthened in Nigeria with a strict control and monitoring of law faculties of our universities. Admission quota must be respected and strictly adhered to while accreditation must be reviewed periodically with a direct involvement of the NBA and other professional organs like the council of Legal education and the disciplinary committees.
As to making legal practice more lucrative, it is high time legislation come in to restrain the encroachment of other professions into areas of practice of lawyers. Accountants and other professions are seriously encroaching into the areas of practice of lawyers with impunity. This has to be stopped. The Legal Practitioners (Documentary Service) Remuneration Act has to be strictly enforced and then the courts must be prepared to assist whenever a lawyer approaches them for relief. Besides, this, the rule of law, sustained democracy and strong judiciary when firmly in place will increase the confidence of the public in adjudication and need for lawyers. These we must fight for with all our strength and with all arsenal at our disposal. We must be courageous in the struggle for enthronement of constitutionality and respect for rule of law in all aspects of life.

You are contesting the office for the third time; why the insistence?
This is my 3rd attempt at this office and this is my golden opportunity. I have not seen any improvements in the service I wish to offer the Bar as General Secretary. Deacon Dele Adesina SAN became secretary on his 3rd attempt and is arguably the best secretary in recent history. I am encouraged because the loss in the last two attempts was not because of incompetence or rejection but as a result of political alignments and realignments bordering on zoning. Now the coast is clear and there is no impediment for my victory.

As a Benin based lawyer, how do you hope to effectively discharge the heavy burdens of the office of the General Secretary of the NBA?
The Association has grown beyond fixed secretariat or restricted operations. With IT era, the whole world is a global village and Nigeria is certainly one. Since we won, the battle to make the position of General Secretary open, the Association has not been disappointed. And don’t forget that for all service practitioners, the whole federation is their constituency.

Again, I am equipped with enough information technology to operate a network of services. I have a staff strength of Ten lawyers and associates to manage my chambers. Besides, I perfectly understand that I am offering selfless service to the Association that will cause some inconveniences in my legal practice. Again, the immediate past and last General Secretaries come from Port Harcourt and Ilorin respectively. They have done well from branches that are further to Lagos than Benin. Sincerely, expect to do as well if not better than them in the service of the Association.

G.C., can you win this office, this time?
Yes, I can win this office. I am in the race and running to win by the Grace of God and goodwill of all well meaning and objective delegates who believe in history of service, experience and maturity. This is my time and I’ll surely make it.


In a few days Ms Carol Ajie, the Nigerian Bar Association will be electing a new set of officers to run the affairs of NBA for two years. What policy direction would the new EXCO follow; an EXCO that you expect to be a part of, if elected?

As you know the President of NBA is the head of the administration, the General Secretary is there to take instructions from him and the National Executive Committee looking at Article 13(3) of the NBA Constitution 2001, the Chief Scribe is not the boss or power-house but may influence decisions only as long as it does not conflict with the President because the NBA is not like party politics where those who should serve engage in ego war. ln my twenty one years of Bar activism, the General Secretary only had leadership tussle only during the 2004-2006 regime. Those who have been groomed to serve NBA know the limits of the power of the Chief Scribe and would badly avoid a conflict because it has the tendency to de-stabilize the association. Also a General Secretary who is stuck on alcohol or associated with the use of thugs during campaigns, will not be able to serve and the association will be worse for it, whoever their sponsors are. The President will be the one to issue policy direction, not the General Secretary.

How ready are you for service to NBA? What are your credentials? Are you hoping to draw on sentiments to win because you are a woman or the most popular candidate?

Not a stranger to Bar activism, l got appointed into the National Executive Committee at a very young age of 3 or 4 years post-call by dint of hard work. Sir Clement Akpamgbo SAN of blessed memory was the first who recognized my potentials and then Mrs Priscillia Kuye followed, both brought me into NEC at a young age and greatly encouraged me to serve the only association we have. I am profoundly greatful to them and many others who helped me build-up and improve on my abilities. As the Secretary of Lagos premier branch, the most populous branch in NBA, l was the Editor of the maiden edition of the Bar journal Lagos Branch and a member of the
national editorial board. As secretary of Lagos branch, l gave puntuality prizes to the first twenty lawyers who arrived the venue of the meeting to encourage attendance and participation at meetings, at no cost to the branch. l was also good at fund raising and thereby brought us to the million Naira club range which we have maintained to date. My minutes were clear, my reports well articulated and information flow was free because we need a knowledgeable NBA, not one gropping in the dark over simple and unharmful information.

The Chief Scribe should keep an update of record of members and being in the internet age, being internet savvy, being computer literate that l am are great advantages to working an efficient and effective secretariat. in 1994, l joined the lnternational Bar Association and remained thereon till date. I started being rapporteur to conferences of NBA and African Bar Association when l was under ten years post-call. l bagged the distinguished service award of NBA in June 2004. l belong to several service and professional bodies and have traversed the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific Rim and America attending professional events and conferences. The experience and exposure garnered l will put at the doorstep of my colleagues. l have the time to give to NBA the best it deserves.

As the Executive Secretary of Rules Watch 2004 to date, l did organize successful international workshops and brought resource persons from UK and USA to talk about antitrust law, to compare our new court rules with those propounded by Lord Woolf in
England from where the Lagos High Court Rules was modelled. We shall not rest on our oars until we get our National Assembly to enact a legislation on antitrust, the new economic world order.

I am not running this election on sentiments. Women are human beings with right to aspire to be any position in life, so says Hillary Clinton.They say what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. Let us not fight a gender war; women are our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters; men are our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. We are in this world for each other, in the legal profession to recognize and complement one another and create semblances of gender balance following global trends where the merit of the situation allows it. Let us advocate for competence irrespective of sex, let us not see competence and de-recognize it because the cloak is a lady's, that will break the heart. We have elected a male President for NBA free of rancour, giving him a capable woman General Secretary becomes a natural choice. ln Nigeria women head sensitive ministries. A woman is EFCC Chair, women have been Presidents of ICAN, CIBN etc and the NBA is not an exception to empowering women. We had a woman General Secretary of NBA in the person of Hon. Hairat Balogun thirty years ago, great woman, great achiever, competent secretary she earns my profound respect any day any time. Many think it is time to try another woman after thirty years, if they found one that is competent and that squarely rests on me, l have been adjudged a competent secretary, even the lawyers who support other candidates concede that l am the best secretariat material this year.