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Maikyau and the NBA’s nebulous mist

By Kene Obiezu
10 August 2022   |   3:38 am
Sir: As an administration that has constantly had lawyers in its crosshairs prepares to take a bow, it is good that Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, was on Saturday July 16, 2022 elected as the 31st president of the Nigeria Bar Association which is the umbrella association of lawyers in Nigeria.

Maikyau

Sir: As an administration that has constantly had lawyers in its crosshairs prepares to take a bow, it is good that Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, was on Saturday July 16, 2022 elected as the 31st president of the Nigeria Bar Association which is the umbrella association of lawyers in Nigeria.

Lawyers have not been left out of the increasingly difficult situation of the country. Together with the judiciary, lawyers are critical stakeholders in justice delivery. Whether the efforts at fighting corruption in the judiciary by the executive have been genuine all along, lawyers have been deliberately targeted by the present administration.

In 2016, under President Muhammadu Buhari`s watch, personnel of the Department of State Services stormed the residences of some judges in the dead of night, armed with a long list of alleged misdemeanours and even longer weapons. Thus, when in 2019, a campaign as comical as it was chaotic was sustained to remove the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Samuel Onnoghen, Nigerians could clearly read the writing on the wall. Different events have forced a twisted conclusion that judiciary is the ‘lost hope’ of the common man, rather than the ‘last hope’. The judiciary has struggled mightily to assert itself from institutional problems from within it as well as from external pressures.

For outgoing NBA president, Olumide Akpata, his ascent to the exalted position was not an easy one even if he came from one of Nigeria`s more prestigious law firms.

When he assumed the mantle, beating a couple of Senior Advocates of Nigeria to clinch the ticket, the grumble from some members of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria rose to the highest heavens. But he has done his bit. Under his watch, the Association has found its voice on burning issues in the country like the burning of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto and the invasion of the home of Mary Odili, a now retired Justice of the Supreme Court. Akpata`s parting shot in taking on Wole Olanipekun &  Co whose partner has been accused of misconduct may yet be his most interesting attempt in repositioning the NBA.

As president, Maikyau would have to confront the bar pressures. Including that of the welfare of lawyers which continues to be a burning issue. Many young lawyers are overworked and so pitifully remunerated at the beginning of their professional journeys that they soon become the lawyers who put coins before their clients.

For Maikyau, the mission is clear and the clock has started to tick. It remains to be seen whether he will take the Association back to the days when the entitlement syndrome of a few crippled it or further along the new path it has embarked upon under Akpata.

Kene Obiezu, keneobiezu@gmail.com