Good day dear learned Seniors and Colleagues,
Following my declaration to run for the office of Chairman of our great Branch which was well and enthusiastically received last week I now wish to briefly intimate you with further details.
I am Adebola Olarotimi Lema. I am the Managing Partner of Fountain Court Partners, a position my Partners have continued to trust me with since 2006. Prior to this, I worked briefly with the law firm of T.B. Akinyeye & Co. from 2003 to 2006.
I hold a law degree from the University of Benin and an LLM degree from the University of Lagos. I am admitted to the Nigerian Bar. I am a member of the African Consortium of Law & Religious Studies; West African Association of Law & Religious Studies; Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; Section on Business Law; Section on Legal Practice and the Legal Torchbearers. I joined the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Branch in 2004. I have served the NBA in various capacities as the Branch Secretary (2014-2015), member of the National Executive Committee of the NBA (2014-15) and a member of the NBA Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP), 2017 amongst others.
I offer myself as a candidate for the office of Chairman of NBA, Lagos Branch in the forthcoming elections of the Branch and I state that my offer to serve as the Chairman of the branch is not a decision I took lightly. It took me several months of deep introspection from which my aspiration was born. I am able and willing to make the inevitable sacrifice necessary to steer the affairs of the Premier Bar. I will efficiently discharge the responsibilities of the office of the Chairman of the NBA, Lagos branch if elected into the exalted office.
The past leaders of this great Premier branch since the pioneering efforts of Chief Oyero in 1969 to this day have made laudable reforms and great efforts at charting a positive path for our dear Branch, the NBA and the Legal Profession in Nigeria. If given the mandate, I undertake to consolidate and improve on all the good initiatives of past administrations to deliver a Branch of our dreams.
Our Record of Service and Fidelity to the Branch and the NBA:
I joined the NBA, Lagos Branch in 2004 as soon as I started work at the Law offices of T.B Akinyeye & Co. My then Principal under whom I cut my teeth, Timothy Boluwaji Akinyeye was himself a former Secretary of the Lagos Branch. So from day one I immersed myself in the activities of the Bar.
I have actively participated in all the Branch Law Weeks and Annual Bar Dinners since I joined the Branch and my Law Firm, Fountain Court Partners, where I am Managing Partner has sponsored the activities/programs of the branch in times past.
Upon the unfortunate death of our former Secretary, Babatola Akpata (May God Bless his Soul) in 2014, I contested the Bye Election to fill the vacant office of Secretary and you gave me your mandate by electing me to serve you then, a privilege for which I remain grateful.
In the year 2015, at the inception of the Uche Ekwueme (Mrs.) led Human Rights Committee, I voluntarily joined the Committee in order to continue to serve the Branch and impact Society where it matters.
Sometimes in the year 2017, the then President of the NBA, A.B. Mahmoud, SAN found me worthy and appointed me into the Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP). Apart from the regular tedious work of the Committee led by Professor Konyin Ajayi, SAN and travel commitments involved I took on the extra job of helping to register over 250 members of our Branch who had issues with the Conference portal for the 2017 Annual General Conference (AGC).
I have attended all the General Conferences of the Nigeria Bar Association since the year 2009 when the Conference was held in Lagos. I have similarly attended all NEC meetings since I was elected Secretary in 2014 bar one or two meetings.
In a personal leadership capacity I set up the Legal Touchbearers, a forum for Lawyers from across the country which the erudite and elite speaker and leading Lawyer, Professor Chidi Odinkalu described as a body of young activists at the bar. In a break from tradition, the Legal Touchbearers honored that iconoclast of the Lagos Bar, Pa Tunji Gomez when he turned 90 in 2018 with a wonderful lecture and sundry activities attended by de creme dela crème of the legal profession in Lagos and beyond for which we were commended by members of the bar and the honoree who died the following year before the anniversary of his birth.
What We Would Do With Your Mandate
In light of what we have done before and the above solemn consideration I have given to the needs of the Branch and what is achievable I briefly outline my agenda for the Branch if elected Chairman of the Branch.
This is only in brief, the way and manner of achieving this has already been considered in more details and will also be brought to your attention in the coming days and weeks so in the end you can make an informed choice at the elections.
a. The Branch Insurance Scheme
b. The Welfare Committee
c. Robing Rooms
d. Discounted Rates
e. Members with Physical Disability
f. Automating the Branch
2. *Continuing Legal Education (CLE):*
a. Capacity Building/Development
b. Ethics and Discipline
3. *Public Interest and Protection of Human Rights;*
a. Rights of Members of the NBA
b. Rights of Members of the Public at large
c. Pro Bono Services
d. Protection of Human Rights
e. Synergy Between the Branch and other Legal Associations
f. Collaboration with other Bars in West Africa and Beyond.
4. *Bar, Bench and Legislature’s Relationships:*
a. The Relationship Between the Bar and the Bench
b. The Relationship Between the Bar and the Legislature
5. *Bridging the Gulf in the Relationship Between the National and the Branch:*
a. Due recognition of the Branch as the leading Branch of the NBA.
b. Better deal for the Branch from NEC and the National Secretariat of the NBA.
6. *Young Lawyers Forum (YLF):*
a. A democratized Young Lawyers’ Forum.
b. Welfare and acquisition of knowledge and expertise.
7. *NBA Lagos Bar Centre:*
a. Prioritizing the Bar Center.
b. Building on what has already been achieved.
I believe in YOU and your capacity to work with me to deliver on the above stated agenda. I ask you to also please believe in me and the promise that I WILL deliver on my commitments, by electing me as the next Chairman of the Branch for the years 2019-2021 tenure.
Thank you as we do this together.
It is a new era and a new paradigm.
*Adebola Olarotimi Lema*