Olanipekun SAN, O.C.J. Okocha SAN And Bayo Ojo, SAN Congratulate NBA President Elect, Paul Usoro, Urges Him To Resolve All Crisis As A Divided House Can Achieve Nothing


The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2018 elections have come and gone with winners emerging for the various elective offices.
While the elections, particularly the Presidential election, have been greeted by complaints from several quarters, three stakeholders in the legal profession and previous Presidents of the NBA, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Mr Bayo Ojo SAN and Mr O.C.J. Okocha SAN, have adviced the incoming President to work in unity with his co-contestants for the common good of the Bar.
The former Presidents made this known in their respective goodwill messages sent to the NBA President-elect, Mr Paul Usoro.
In this message Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN Wrote:
My dear Paul, permit me to acknowledge receipt of your endorsed mail to Ernest and Arthur, both of who contested the last NBA presidential election with you, you being the declared winner. Congratulations.  May I commend the wisdom and thoughtfulness behind your mails, both to your illustrious co- contestants, as well as the past Presidents of our great and noble Association.
That’s how it should be; and that was how it had always been until we started losing or feigning ignorance or forgetfulness of what NBA used to be and represent. Truth be told, each of the three of you is well qualified, equipped and experienced to become our President; but there can only be one President at a time.
Having won the election, you’ve become our leader and a leader. It’s your duty to assuage feelings and ensure the emergence of a United Bar. More than ever before, both our nation and profession need a strong, virile and formidable Bar, to speak both for the profession – the Bar and the Bench, as well as for the generality of our citizens.
A divided house cannot achieve this; a harassed or distracted leadership cannot face the mounting and daunting challenges facing our profession and nation.  While I will submit that you’ve started and done well by your afore- mentioned mails, you have and need to do more, and very urgently too. Put behind you the soap box rhetorics and take the bull by the horns.
Kickstart the process of healing and reconciliation within the NBA and unite all the diverse factions and interests. Put in place a transparent system that will ensure all and sundry that the NBA presidency is for service, rather than self-aggrandizement. Like the late President Umoru Yar’adua, be humble and manly enough to admit that the system that brought you to office was/ is faulty, and say it loud and clear that through you, our Association will never pass through that way or path again.
Please don’t mount any high horse!  Very important. For the past three elections or so of NBA Presidents, similar allegations as are now being made and repeated against you had dominated the Bar landscape and hemisphere. Presently, the case challenging the election of the outgoing President by Chief JK Gadzama SAN is still in court! For God and goodness sake, put a halt to this mess!  As for Ernest and Arthur, each of you is a gentleman of the highest order. You’ve carried out your respective campaigns with maturity, poise, style and much elegance.
But there cannot be three Presidents of the Bar at the same time. Since the Lord lives forever, there’s a better tomorrow for each of you, both at the Bar and the larger society. Without adjudging your complaints as frivolous or unmeritorious, I plead , with all sense of responsibility that let us forget the past ; let’s forgive ourselves ; let’s join hands with Paul to rediscover and re- situate the Bar ; let’s now resolve that never again shall any presidential candidate of the Bar embark on the type of hazardous trips you all underwent in the past twelve months or indulge in the humongous expenses you all incurred.
As for me, my loyalty and fidelity are always to our noble profession, and I believe I owe a duty to plead with all our colleagues, across the length and breadth of Nigeria who have some grievances and complaints against the last election to bury their hatchets; and come together as a united body to chart a glorious way forward for the profession.  My respect to you Paul,  as the in- coming President ; my high regards to Ernest  and Arthur as my worthy  Colleagues ; my love to all.
-Wole Olanipekun OFR , SAN  President , NBA , 2002-2004
Mr Bayo Ojo SAN wrote:
Dear Paul,   Congratulations on your success at the poll. I wish you a successful tenure. Thank you for letting me into the content of your draft letter to your co-contestants. I believe it is a good idea as the Bar must always be one.
Please ensure you carry Prof. Ernest Ojukwu, SAN and Arthur Obi Okafor SAN along at all times. I would also advice that you see the entire Bar as your constituency.
In other words, those who did not support you should not be discriminated against.
This, unfortunately, has been the norm in the past and it has not augured well for the Bar.   I wish you God’s speed.   Best wishes
-Bayo Ojo, SAN CON
Mr , O.C.J. Okocha, MFR, SAN in his own message wrote:
Dear Obong Paul, Greetings, and many thanks for forwarding to me and several others your communication to Professor Ernest Ojukwu SAN and Arthur Obi-Okafor SAN.   May I congratulate you once again for you victory in the contest for election as President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
I pray that the Almighty and Eternal God may grant you wisdom, health and strength to enable you discharge the duties of your high office.   May I also commend you for being magnanimous in your victory.
This is what we all expect, and I hope you will carry on with the same spirit of magnanimity when you assume office as President of our once and for ever great Association.
I have taken due notice of your invitation to your co-contestants to join hands with you in the well running of the NBA.
I will do my best to convince them to heed your very timely call.   Best wishes for every success during your tenure of office, and God bless.
Yours ever sincerely,