Good day dear learned seniors and colleagues,
My name is Akorede Habeeb Lawal. As stated in my profile, I have been serving for about a year and a half as the National Assistant Publicity Secretary of the NBA.
I ran for this office because I noticed a lacuna – a certain disconnect between the NBA and her members. I realized that amongst other reasons for this disconnect is the lack of feedback and paucity of necessary information.
I’ve dedicated myself to mending this bridge, ensuring that information is properly disseminated and waiting to take feedback message back from the members to the Bar leadership.
Social media has helped me greatly in doing this and I have “cornered’ the information technology department of the NBA. I am making it more responsive to members’ needs and inquiries.
Taking charge of this department is one indication of my personality. No one delegated me to do this – bearing in mind the very limited functions of an Assistant Publicity Secretary, but I made myself useful and I’ve carried on diligently in this assignment that I found for myself.
What this has done is that, despite the fact that I am the youngest of all National officers and my office is seemingly the “smallest” in the scheme of things, I have made myself useful – all to the benefits of our Association.
I do all of these not for any personal recognition, but because of my conviction that if NBA is paying staff from our funds (some of whom are even non-lawyers), those staff must be responsible and responsive to the needs of the members.
As a lawyer, I know the importance of information and I know that members must be properly served same.
As a practising counsel, I also know perception matters alot. And an average Nigerian out there feels lawyers are one of the national problems. The challenge starts from the cradle where all lawyers are always said to be said liars.
Therefore I became deliberate about the need for us to maintain a positive public perception of the Bar. In this regard, I’ve been with the Publicity Secretary at the frontline of image making and laundering of the Bar and the Judiciary (which of course is an arm of government populated by lawyers). I’ve appeared on TVs and I’ve been using the social media to correct the wrong perceptions about lawyers and the judiciary.
Talking of social media as a tool of engagement with the public, the feelers have been good. Upon assumption to office in 2018, the NBA twitter account (@NigbarAssoc) which was opened in 2010 had 10k followers and it’s hardly engaging. Today as I type this, the Twitter account has 16,300 followers and it’s still growing. This is because I have made it responsive.
I have to concede that we are not yet where we ought to be but we aren’t where we used to be. And it can actually get better.
We do not just drop information and go away, we wait and stay back to engage members and offer perspectives from this end.
As a person, I do not come across as faultless, but everywhere I go and in all that I do, I’m intentional about helping others, growing together and having a listening ear. I’m a “well groomed child” and in my practice and service to the bar, the main commodity I sell is Integrity.
As an aside, I do understand that as a team we do drop a lot of documents on members like periodic financial accounts and other necessary documents to keep members abreast of happenings within the NBA, I have taken it as a responsibility to always provide cover notes to all these documents – giving the gist and purports of those documents. My boss @Kunle Edun and I are on a lot of WhatsApp groups to receive feedbacks from members.
Thank you for your time and attention. God bless you. I do hope someday I’m able to put a face to this engagement. Best wishes.