It is not without meaning that the judiciary is often referred to as the last hope of the common man especially here in Nigeria where the rights of citizens are trampled upon almost on a daily basis. This presupposes that the judiciary is the only place the common, uncommon and any other aggrieved person can get justice. Where and when disputes arise, and parties can not settle as between themselves, their families or mediators, no other place comes to mind except the courts.
However, the ability of the courts to perform their constitutionally assigned roles as expected is dependent upon several factors. One of these is the leadership, structure and philosophy of the umbrella body of lawyers in Nigeria, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The NBA as the foremost body of legal practitioners in the country is saddled with the primary responsibility of promoting and protecting human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria. The centrality of the body to the coordination and discharge of justice, equity, and fairness at all times without fear or favour in the Nigerian context can not be overemphasized. Beyond catering for its primary constituency, it also has a significant role to play in ensuring a united and lawful Nigeria. Therefore, the question of who occupies the number one seat of the association is a serious matter to both the NBA and non-NBA audience without exempting Youths Advancement Initiative (YAI National). Like every other professional association in Nigeria, the choice of leadership for a given tenure is most times a litmus test for the association, its immediate members and by extension, the general public.
As an already made public, the 2020 presidential slot of the NBA is zoned to the West. The region like every other region in Nigeria possesses vast, seasoned and first-class lawyers who are all eminently qualified to lead the association for the next two years. Already, four of such lawyers (two of whom are senior advocates) have indicated an interest in running for the office. The one who name rings a bell and resonates with both young and old in the law profession, is Babatunde Ajibade (PhD), SAN.
Today YOUTH’S ADVANCEMENT INITIATIVE (YAI NATIONAL) pass a vote of confidence on Dr. Ajibade’s aspiration saying he is independent, passionate and has sincere intentions to reposition the legal profession in Nigeria.
Through a statement released by YAI National President, I know Dr. Ajibade and I have had a course to know him in the past two years or so. I have no doubt in my mind that he is a hard-working, knowledgeable and intelligent lawyer. I do wholeheartedly support his aspiration to contest for president of the NBA. He had intimated me with his resolve to contest for the office about a year ago, and I gave him my support without any reservation. He is eminently qualified to lead the bar.
Dr. Ajibade is a man of integrity who understands what we need to do to fix justice delivery and the legal profession in Nigeria. He can be trusted to start the change that this profession so urgently needs. I can never support a selection process which disenfranchises the generality of members of a society, be it professional, cultural, national or whatsoever. What right does any sub-group have to determine for the wider group what is good for them? It is entirely undemocratic and happily, I have not been a part of it.
In Comrade Yusuf Tunde Olanrewaju (Uselaw) statement, who is a Student of Law and the Director of Media (YAI OSUN STATE) said: “Dr. Ajibade SAN has always been an agent of change and a consummate optimist about a strong, disciplined and virile legal profession being an instrument of change of the wider polity. He is deeply ingrained in the values of honor and integrity. I have no doubt that if elected, the legal profession in Nigeria would be better for it. Without a shadow of doubt, I fully support his aspiration to become NBA president, a very young, intelligent, vibrant, most resourceful attorney. He is integrity personified. He is of exemplary character and humble to a fault. He is a go-getter, amiable and an embodiment of intellectualism. I support his aspiration to lead the NBA. One thing that will interest you is that I have never i participated in a ZOOM Meeting *THE CONVERSATION 1.0 – A One Day Mentorship Session with Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN, FCIArb Confirmation* Organized by NIGERIA LAW SCHOOL STUDENT’S last week and i get know much about his intention to contest.
We have to leapfrog to be up to date with the current bar practices, and for me, the new leadership needs, apart from brilliance, experience and passion, which both candidates possess, to also be abreast of and embrace, the opportunities presented by technology and innovation. In this arena there is an advantage to youthful verve and capacity to embrace change and this really underscores my support for Dr Babatunde Ajibade SAN.”
So much support for a lawyer whose achievements tower above mediocrity and whose name is well adorned with excellence, hard work, integrity and character. Whether these values and his past achievements as a member of the bar and bench would matter in the leadership of the NBA would depend on the outcome of the election.
We Youth’s Advancement Initiative (YAI) drum support for Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN as the Next NBA President in the forthcoming election.