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I must emphasize that it was the 2017’s NBA Annual General Conference held in Lagos that had afforded me the rare opportunity to have networked with and/or be a friend to Mr. Olumide Akpata. Since that time, I must also stress that my friendship with the humble legal giant, Mr. Akpata has been in the best spirit.
It is actually both inspiring and mindbogglingly surprising for a respected senior Bar Man such as Mr. Akpata to be a friend with someone both young and neophyte at the Bar like me. Does that not depict the greatness of such a mighty personality of Olumide Akpata who made it a business for himself to put both young lawyers and their interest in his heart? I talk of the man who became a wall by himself for the most vulnerable members of the lawyering association to lean on. Even though I talk of the man that I personally admire, I must equally talk of the fact that Mr Akpata had over many years shown genuine interests to uplift fellow young lawyers without any political ambition by way of boosting and developing their skills acquisition through his sponsored law related programs. Is it not mattering for me to say: this should profusely be connected with his belief that: ‘’The joy of a dying father is the presence of worthy successor?” Thus, by his leadership wisdom, to relate well with the young lawyers through his uncompromising humility, mentoring scheme, and capacity building is the easiest way to have them explored their potentials for that will bring the best out of them as young Lawyers
It is undoubtedly a settled and experienced fact that Mr. Olu had and has been supporting different sorts of functional legal practitioners in Nigeria and in view of his burning passion to spawn a vibrant legal profession, he came up to grab the opportunities in 21st century through organized capacity building programs which he sponsored for the young lawyers.
Interestingly, to meet OluAkpata will leave you in awe of how down to earth the natural Bar leader is!
I do believe that the foregoing points are some of the skeletal aspects of his contributions to the legal profession in Nigeria.
Moreover, it goes far beyond description of how he had grown through the ranks from being a young lawyer and a partner to an amazing and most outstanding partner at Templars. I am sure he will have no fear to prove to all and sundry that he is a transformational leader who is naturally born to lead.
It will delight you also to know the story of how he kick-started a small partnership with his cousin brother to what ‘’Templars’’ has turned today.
Templars is now ranked as one of the best law firm in Africa and one of the most successful business partnership in the world.That should be quite encouraging and captivating to not only new wigs but to every man in the business of lawyering in Nigeria. And that could just be represented by a wise saying that: ‘’Where there is a will, there is a hope!’’ I do believe that consistency, determination, perseverance, mission, exemplary leadership and team work have contributed in transforming the then small partnership to 150 lawyers at the firm in particular and this is highly and actually development driven.
Similarly,I must confess that l got to know Templars when I was at the Nigerian law school, Lagos Campus, because of how NYSC corps members and externs were well looked after at the Templars. It will also be important to aver that the monthly emoluments for their counsel are indeed juicy and equally very attractive to the extent of being like an invitation to treat. Cheers!!!
Besides my being one of his acquaintances, I have always thought that he has a lot of things to offer to the NBA because of his active participation in the activities of the NBA particularly during each annual conference.
It indeed interested me the most when I took note of the fact that he has been an active Bar Man right from the grass roots and one might wish to verify same from his track records of active participation in various capacities and committees of the NBA. Mr. Olu has truly proven to be a burning light in the development of legal profession.
Note also the various roles he played in different capacities especially at African Bar Association, International Bar Association and other different fellowships at international communities. I have no doubt that that made him a truly unique vibrant Bar Man.
Now, what is needed at the NBA is the synergy with international bodies and other jurisdictions to just meet the demands of the 21st century law practice in Nigeria.
Of all the candidates vying for the office of president of the NBA, Olumide Akpata has distinguished himself as both digital, IT, or just an ideal 21st century lawyer.
In the same vain, when he was a chairman of the NBA section on business law, some revolutionary changes were brought to the NBA generally and he was able to have achieved a lot at that material time.
Remarkably, over 70 young lawyers across Nigeria were sponsored to attend the 2017’s Annual Business Law Conference held at Eko Hotel, in Lagos State by him.
Also, Mr. Akpata had sponsored over 100 young lawyers to go for an international Bar Association’s free training on the fundamentals of International Legal Business Practice.
Still in the year 2018, Mr. Akpata’s chairmanship of the NBA-SBL had awarded a scholarship to over 50 young lawyers to enable them participate in the Healthcare Management Conference 2018, themed: “Medicine, Accountability and Law.”
Furthermore, it will be of paramount important to say that Mr. Akpata has been an example of a man of integrity and honesty when he returned hundreds of millions of Naira being a surplus at the end of organized legal program.
These are just to mention but very few on the revolutionary changes brought by Olumide Akpata. The question now is, what do you expect of him when he climbs the mantle of NBA’s leadership? Needless of repeating that every project will be excellent, Mr. Olu is a quintessential of a transformational leader. His actions speak lauder than his words and he earnestly often talks his mind.
This is now to say Leadership quality like wisdom is not a prerogative of an SAN, old or young because it is a divine gift and I am glad to know Mr. Olu who has possessed whatever it takes to be an excellent leader.
Well, Mr. Olumide Akpata’s Four-Pronged Approach to Transformational Leadership has hit the nail on its head. This is simply because the key issues as articulated in his manifesto, centred around almost all the lingering problems of Nigerian lawyers and the legal profession at large.
Finally, making the best choice of NBA president at this time is indeed pivot, especially when legal profession is badly needed to be shifted and lifted to the next stage. Therefore, the above submission is hoped to be a parameter of selecting who is to lead the largest Bar in Africa, our dear Bar.
I hereby wish to further submit that, Mr. Olu is the ideal NBA presidential candidate and he is my choice and he earned all my supports, and I therefore endorse him with all sense of good expectations and hope. He’s the good lawyers’ choice and he is highly the developmental driven choice of everybody.
In conclusion, against the above backdrop and my little understanding of what Mr. Olumide Akpata stands for, I wish to present to you my candidate vying for the NBA president and solicit for your unreserved support and your massive vote on the 24th of July, 2020.
By: Muhammad Nazir Faruk Esq APD, and a legal practitioner based in Kano.
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