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Ubani, Adegoke, Nwadioke now NBA-SPIDEL council members

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Onyekachi Monday Ubani

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has noted that the new leadership of its Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) was carefully chosen to ensure that the section does not become comatose again.

Speaking during the Annual General Meeting of the section held at the Aare Afe Babalola Bar Centre, NBA Ibadan Branch, NBA First Vice President and Chairman of the SPIDEL Electoral Committee, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins said he was mandated by NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata “to ensure that those that will lead SPIDEL will be able to lead it from where we are now to greater heights and to ensure that SPIDEL does not fall into the doldrums again.”

Aside from human rights activist, Mr. Monday Ubani who was elected as the Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL Council, others are Mr. Steve Abah, Vice Chairman; Dr. Princess Frank-Chukwuani, Secretary; Funmilola Adeogun, Treasurer and Godfrey Echeho, Publicity Secretary. Council members include Prof. Paul Ananaba (SAN); Mr. Kunle Adegoke SAN; Mr. Kola Omotinugbon; Mr. Emeka Nwadioke, Mr. Kunle Edun, Dr. Paul Ebiala, Anne Uruegi Agi, Igbeaku Ukwueso Evulukwu, and Mr. Abdullahi Karaye.

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Saying that the newly elected Council was not only in compliance with the NBA Constitution but that “the list that we present to the AGM is the best possible team,” the NBA stalwart assured that “by the grace of God, SPIDEL has been revived. What is left is to build on it.”

He emphasised the critical role of SPIDEL in safeguarding the public interest, saying: “Personally, I believe that SPIDEL is the flagship of NBA; once SPIDEL is working, NBA is working. It is the major section that interfaces with the public and we cannot shirk our responsibilities. The special thing about SPIDEL is that apart from intellect, it is the only section that needs passion to drive it. If there is no passion, it cannot be driven.”

Dissecting the challenges that hobbled SPIDEL before its revival by the Prof. Ananaba (SAN) leadership, the NBA chieftain said: “The mistake that I believe that was made in the past was that those who had passion were not in the driver’s seat of SPIDEL. Having identified that issue therefore and the onerous task given to us to ensure that there is a new election in the tradition of sections of the Nigerian Bar, passion became the major factor; in fact, it became the distinguishing factor when all other equities were equal. I thank the immediate past EXCO for appointing us to superintend the election.”

On his part, the pioneer Chairman of SPIDEL, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN) said: “I have enjoyed the conference; I have enjoyed the comradeship. I have reunited with colleagues and made new friends. Ibadan is a nice place. I am happy for the success of the outgoing leadership. I am also praying for victory for Ubani and the new council.

Gadzama traced the emergence of SPIDEL to 2006 when he served a four-year term, saying: “We must stay connected. Like I said at the Annual Conference, if there is one acronym that can replace the acronym ‘NBA,’ it is ‘SPIDEL.’ SPIDEL is the way to go. And I’m saying this from my heart of hearts, from my experiences. For those who don’t know, I was a Council Member of the Section on Business Law, which was the first in the series to be created. I also became a Vice Chairman in the Section on Legal Practice. Then as God will have it, I became the pioneer Chairman of SPIDEL. You can see the trajectory; so I am talking from experience.

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“SPIDEL is a kind of reconnection, a kind of covenant with the public because it is the nexus between the Bar and the people. Prof. Ananaba, we appreciate you on your very successful tenure. Ubani, we congratulate you on your assumption of office. We are there for you. We were in the doldrums for almost 10 years but we are back. Without challenges, you cannot celebrate victory. Challenges make life more meaningful.”

Speaking at the AGM, former NBA First Vice President, Mr. Ikeazor Akaraiwe (SAN) said: “I want to congratulate Ananaba for an excellent job. I am not being sycophantic. Ananaba has written his name into the annals of the Bar in Nigeria. I hope that when we are talking of election at the national level, that you will be interested. If you are able to revive SPIDEL, I think that you can be able to do a lot. And I am speaking very honestly.

Ubani is already a public interest man; he is already going to court to challenge everything challengeable. So, what will happen now that he is the Chair of SPIDEL? We have a good team here, good men and women.”

In his remarks, Ananaba said: “The bible says there is a time for everything. There was a time for SPIDEL to go down and go to the wilderness; there was also a time for SPIDEL to come alive and do what it ought to do.

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