Olamide Akpata emerges new NBA president, dedicates victory to young lawyers/ Olamide Akpata

Olamide Akpata has emerged the newly elected President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

Akpata polled 9,891 votes to defeat his closest rival, Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) who had 4,328 votes as well as Dele Adesina (SAN) with 3,982 votes. 

The exercise, which started on Wednesday night ended at 11pm on Thursday, after which Akpata was declared winner by Chairman of the NBA election committee, Tawo Taw.

Taw, while announcing the winner, said: “I Tawo Eja Taw, the chairman electoral committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), as the electoral officer for the 2020 national officers election hereby declare that Akpata Olumide Anthony, having scored the highest number of votes cast and satisfying the provisions of the constitution of the NBA 2015 as amended, as the winner of the election into the office of president of the NBA." 

His victory had come amid calls for cancellation of the election over allegations of irregularities in the process. 

Meanwhile, Akpata has dedicated his victory to young lawyers still trying to find their feet in the profession.

In his acceptance speech on Friday, titled, “Let secure the future through a united Bar that works for all,” Akpata said, “The victory of last night is for our young lawyers who have become disillusioned with the way the NBA has been run over the years and how the profession appears to be disconnected from the challenges that face them and their future.

“It is for the progressive senior lawyer who refused to accept the status quo and took firm steps to ensure that things are done better.

“It is for the corporate counsel, law officers, law teachers, the police and military lawyers, and lawyers in all components of the profession who for long have been treated as unequal members of an Association that ought to be the umbrella body for all legal practitioners.

“The victory of last night is for the lawyer with disability who has long suffered neglect and indignity by the profession. Above all, our victory is for non-lawyers and the general populace who took an unusual, but a special, interest in the conduct of our elections, thus,  lending credence to my long-held belief that the Nigerian society has always yearned for a legal profession and indeed a Bar that stands tall as an unwavering bastion of the rule of law, an advocate for the sanctity and independence of the judiciary, and a bulwark against tyranny and oppression.”

He said the concerns raised over the election process would be improved upon. He also called on  Ajibade and Adesina to work with him so as to “achieve our common goal of revitalising the Bar and ensuring that our voice is firm and unshaken when we speak.”

He added: “I strongly believe that there is plenty room for improvement in our electoral process, and I commit to making this possible.”