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This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series NBA
  • NBA 2020 excos: Profiles of the national leaders, from Akpata to Afam

Read the profiles of the new national excos of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which changed hands with the election of Olumide Akpata et al

The national body of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conducted an e-election for the change of baton for the new set leaders that will steer its affairs from 11am Wednesday, July 29, which ended at 11 pm on Thursday, July 30, 2020. At the end of polling and result collations, the returning officer Mr Tawo Tawo (SAN) declared Olumide Akpata as the newly minted president of the association.

Others returned as fellow executives of the body are John O Aikpokpo-Martins (First Vice President), Adeyemo Kazeem Debo (Second Vice President), Oduah Joyce (General Secretary), Nwadialo Esther Uchenna (Assistant Secretary), Mercy Ijato Agada (Treasurer) and Edun Olukunle (Welfare Secretary).

Anagor Raphael Nnamdi, the new Financial Secretary; Nduka Rapuluchukwu Ernest (PhD), Publicity Secretary; and Naza Ferdinand Afam as Assistant Publicity Secretary filled up the remaining slots.

In his reaction after being declared as the winner if the election, Olu Akapata declared, “I want to thank each and everyone of you who supported me and who was part of this process. I want to salute my entire team who worked tirelessly to make this a reality, sacrificing precious time to deliver our mandate.”

He added that: “The Nigerian Bar Association will work for each and every one of its members and will work for the society too. Indeed, we will make the Bar work for all!”

NBA 2020 national leaders: L-R, Akpata, Edun, Uchenna , Afam and Joyce

Meanwhile the Senate President Ahmad Lawan had congratulated the newly elected executive members of the Bar, saying “The need for cooperation between the National Assembly and the NBA is even more cogent now in the light of the impending process of constitutional amendment on which the designated parliamentary committee is poised to go full blast as soon as parliament resumes from the current recess. We at the National Assembly will count on the inputs of members of the public and in particular the respected members of the bar in the efforts to finetune our constitution.”

Profiles of the new NBA executives

Olumide Akpata, president NBA

Olumide Akpata: president of the NBA

Olumide Akpata had his early education in Warri, Delta State, and thereafter attended King’s College, Lagos from where he proceeded to study Law at the University of Benin (UNIBEN) and graduated in 1992. He was called to the Nigerian Bar on 15 December 1993.

Having served the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Kano State, he joined the firm of Dr. Mudiaga  Odje  & Co. in Warri, Delta State where he cut his teeth under the tutelage of the late sage Dr. Mudiaga Odje, SAN, OFR, who was one of the most seasoned litigators of his time.

In 1996, Akpata relocated to Lagos and teamed up with his cousin, Oghogho Akpata, who had just set up the law firm, Templars. Together they built a world-class, multi-sectoral and full-service law firm which is now in the 25th year of its existence and consists of over 100 fee-earners, including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

Akpata began participating in the activities of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), as soon as he joined the law firm of Dr. Mudiaga Odje & Co., as a member of the NBA Warri Branch. Upon relocating to Lagos in 1996, he joined the NBA Lagos Branch.

A foundation member of the NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) in 2004, Akpata worked closely with the pioneer Chairman of the section, Mr. George   Etomi and his team, to operationalise the section after its inauguration in December 2004, by the then President of the NBA, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN.

His active participation in the NBA-SBL led to his election, in January 2012, as Secretary of the NBA-SBL Council, in August 2014 as Vice-Chairman and then in August 2016 as Chairman.

Akpata had been an active member of the NBA Lagos Branch from 2005 till date where he served on various Committees of the Branch, including as two-time Secretary of the Building Committee – under the chairmanship of Alhaji Femi Okunnu, SAN and Dr. Wale Babalakin, SAN in 2012 and 2016 respectively;

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Akpata sits, in non-executive capacity, on the boards of a number of private companies, some of which he also chair and is a member of several think-tanks, including the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the United Nations Nigerian Humanitarian Fund (UN-NHF).

Olumide Akpata loves travelling and reading the biographies of distinguished personalities.

John O Aikpokpo-Martins, First Vice President

John Aikpokpo-Martins is the 1st vice president

John Aikpokpo-Martins, an indigene of Edo State, practices law as a full time private legal practitioner in Warri, Delta State

Mr Aikpokpo-Martins graduated from Bendel State University, Ekpoma in 1989, and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1990. He is the Principal Partner of Aikpokpo, Okeregha & Co.

Mr Aikpokpo-Martins has served the NBA in many capacities. Of recent, he was the Chairman, Warri Branch (2014 – 2016) and was the NEC Rep from 2016-2018. He has delivered papers at several NBA events including the 2015 conference in Abuja.

As the Chairman of Warri Branch, his administration built a multi-million naira bar centre at Effurun High Court premises which comprises a 300-persons sitting capacity, offices, cloak rooms for male and female, etc.

Aikpokpo-Martins had also served as the chairman of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Delta State Chapter (APBN) from 2017 to 2019, and as a lover of football, he participated in the football competitions for branches at the annual NBA conferences from 2005 to 2016.

He is married to a fellow Lawyer.

Adeyemo Kazeem Debo, Second Vice President

Chief Debo Adeyemo: 2nd vice president

Having attended the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1998) and the Nigerian Law School, Bwari-Abuja (1999-2000), Chief Debo Adeyemo was called to the Nigerian Bar in October 2000.

His law office attachment was with PAO Olorunnishola (SAN) where he started learning the rope. He was also with AO Mohammed (SAN) from 2000-2001, before moving to Deji Gbadeyan (Mni) in 2001 where he met the footprints of Chief Hakeem Afolabi (SAN). He became the deputy head of chambers there, before setting up his law practice Debo Adeyemo & Co in Offa on 3rd August 2003.

Adeyemo’s movement to Offa from Ilorin coincided with the inauguration of the NBA Offa Branch which was made possible by the efforts of Chief R A Lawal Rabana (SAN) and others.

Adeyemo had become active in the Bar activities when he was in Ilorin. He became the acting Secretary of the Offa Branch when the then Secretary, Sarafdeen Olajide Ibrahim Esq relocated to Ilorin to take up appointment and then became the substantive Secretary of the Branch from 2006-2011. He was also the Chairman of the Branch from 2011-2016, and from 2016 till date, became the NEC Representative.

In 2015, he was bestowed with the Baamofin of Agbamu Kingdom and in November 2015, was honoured as the Otunba Atayese of Orun-Ekiti in Ekiti State.

He is married with children.

Oduah Joyce, General Secretary

Oduah Joyce, general secretary

Joyce Oduah (Mrs.) is the Managing Partner of Joyce Oduah & Co., a law firm situated in Festac Town, Lagos. An Associate Certified Fraud Examiner, Joyce attended the University of Lagos where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Law in 1990. She was duly called to the Bar on the 10th of December 1991.

Having worked with the Ministry of Justice, Ogun State from 1991 to 1992 during her National Youth Service, she was employed by General Oil Ltd as a Legal Officer in 1992. She was promoted in 1994 to the position of Legal Coordinator of the company and became the first lawyer in the history of the company to attend the company’s board meetings.

Due to her cravings and desire for legal practice, she voluntarily relinquished her position in the corporate world in 1996 to join the law firm of Steve Nwagbo & Co. where she sharpened her edge in litigation practice before she proceeded to set up her law firm, Joyce Oduah & co., after she successfully completed her Master’s Degree programme in 1997.

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Since 2000 to date, Joyce had held various positions from her local branch to the national executive member. Among them: 1st Assistant Secretary 2000-2002, Publicity Secretary 2007-2009 and Social Secretary 2009-2011 all at Lagos Branch

She is also a member of the Federation of International Women Lawyer (FIDA), National Treasurer, NBA (2012-2014) and had been a member of the National Executive Committee of NBA from 2008 to date.

She was also a member of the Law Reform and Administration of Justice Reform Committee, Akwa Ibom State (2007-2009), board member, Gurara Water Management Authority (2009) and member, Blueprint Implementation Committee on Administration of Justice, Lagos State.

Nwadialo Esther Uchenna, Assistant Secretary

Uchenna Nwadialo, assistant secretary

Uchenna Esther Nwadialo, a Senior Associate in the law firm of Emeka Ngige & Co., holds a bachelor of law degree LL.B [Hons] from Madonna University, B.L [Hons] from the Nigerian Law School (Lagos Campus) and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2008.

She is a passionate member of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, and a financial member of the Lagos branch of the association where her organizational skills and efficiency have received positive reviews and commendations.

Between 2015 -2017, Uchenna held the position of Assistant Secretary, NBA Lagos branch, and was elected as Social Secretary of the branch in 2017.

Uchenna is also a member of several professional and non-professional bodies; she is a member of the International Bar Association [IBA], International Federation of Women Lawyers [FIDA], African Women Lawyers Association [AWLA], Nigerian Bar Association Women Lawyers [NBAWF], Lions Club International and is the Welfare Secretary of Surulere Lawyers Forum [SLF].

Uche’s hobbies include travelling, events management and graphic designs.

Mercy Ijato Agada, Treasurer

Mercy Ijato Agada, treasurer

Mercy Ijato Agada, a native of Idoma in Benue State, began her primary and secondary schools education in the state. Afterward, she proceeded to Kogi State University where she bagged an LL.B and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2007. She has been in active private practice since her call till date. She works with Onche Adakole & Co.

She is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association Otukpo Branch wherein she served the Branch as a treasurer and then chairman. She has attended several NEC meetings as a NEC member and several Annual General Conferences of the Nigerian Bar Association.

She has the passion for widows, orphans and less privileged and has done both civil and criminal cases pro-bono for them.

She has served the Bar at the branch, state, and national levels at various times and held the following positions, amongst others:  treasurer, Nigerian Bar Association Otukpo Branch (2014-2016); delegate, Nigerian Bar Association National Delegate Conference Abuja (2014); member, Nigerian Bar Association Otukpo Branch Human Rights Committee (2012-2014); member Justice Sector Reform Committee, Benue State (2016-2018), and chairman, Nigerian Bar Association Otukpo Branch (2016-2018)

In her manifesto, she pledged that if elected as the NBA National Treasurer, she will “Facilitate the increment of Branches’ 10% to 25% in order to assist Branches especially those that are not financially buoyant; which is to be paid within the second quarter of every year,” and “Ensure that monies due to the Association will be spent prudently for the benefits of the Association and for the welfare of all members.”

Agada also promised to “Work with the President and the General Secretary to facilitate that credit facilities are made available on time to young Lawyers who intend to carry out partnership.”

Edun Olukunle, Welfare Secretary

Kunle Edun, welfare secretary

Kunle Edun had his senior secondary certificate from Rev. Kuti Memorial Grammar School, Abeokuta (1990), read law at the then Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye (1997), and then proceeded to Nigerian Law School, Abuja (1998). He was called to the bar in September, 1999. He also had his LL.M at the University of Benin in 2006.

Kunle Edun served at the Law Firm of A.K. Osawota & Co, Warri (NYSC scheme) and was retained after the service year. He eventually rose through the ranks to become the Head of Chambers within five years of post-call.

Kunle Edun became the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser of Lonestar Drilling Nigeria Ltd, Nigeria’s first indigenous oil drilling company headquartered in Port Harcourt. After five years of service, Kunle Edun resigned from the company to co-found Tri-Lex Partners LP in Warri.

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Mr. Edun had served the bar in various capacities. He is the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, had been a member of the national executive committee of the NBA since 2016, was a past vice chairman, NBA Warri (2016-2018), and past chairman, NBA Warri Human Right Committee (2016-2018).

He had held numerous positions most especially at the NBA Warri level and litigated many cases which are in public interest, for example, the Suit No. UHC/186/2014: Olukunle Edun vs. Gov. Delta State & Ors., which successfully obtained judgment that restrained VIOs from stopping private vehicles on the road and declared the issuance of Road Worthiness Certificate to private vehicle owners as unlawful.

Kunle Edun is married to Ngozi Edun and they are blessed with four children, three girls and a son.

Anagor Raphael Nnamdi, Financial Secretary

Nnamdi Anagor Esq., financial secretary

Anagor Raphael Nnamdi had a Bachelor of law (BL) degree from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (2009), LL.B (Hons) from Nigeria Law School Abuja (Enugu Campus) – 2010, in addition to his OND (1992) and HND (1996) in Accounting; Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) – 2005; Post Graduate Diploma (2000) and Masters (2004) of Business Administration.

Since 2010 he had been the Associate Senior Partner of Ifeanyichukwu Obiakor & Co. (Ezeamal Chambers) situated at Awka, Anambra State. But before then, he had worked as auditor and accountant for various firms.

He has equally played many roles in advancing the welfare of the Nigerian Bar Association. From 2013 – 2015 he served as Publicity Secretary, NBA Awka Branch; 2015 – 2017, Secretary NBA Awka Branch and currently, he is the Publicity Secretary of Eastern Bar Forum of the NBA.

Moreover, he has served in numerous committees including Chairman, NBA Awka Branch Young Lawyers Estate (2013); Chairman 2014 End of year party, NBA Awka branch; Chairman, NBA Awka Branch Bar Dinner committee 2015 and Chairman, NBA Awka Branch End of year party 2016.

Nduka Rapuluchukwu Ernest (PhD), Publicity Secretary

Rapulu-Ernest-Nduka, publicity secretary

Rapuluchukwu Ernest Nduka was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2005. He currently holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B) from Abia State University, Master of Laws degree (LL.M) in Information Technology & Telecommunications Law from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Cyber Law from the University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.

In his manifesto, Dr. Nduka stated that, the attendant skills he garnered from his various studies “are well suited for the office of the Publicity Secretary especially in a technologically-driven society.”

Thus, he stated he will put together “a Publicity Team that will not just comprise of the National Publicity Secretary and the Assistant Publicity Secretary. The team will bring together and liaise with all the Publicity Secretaries of all the branches of the NBA.”

Naza Ferdinand Afam, Assistant Publicity Secretary

Nasa Afam, assistant publicity secretary

Ferdinand Afam Naza Esq. bagged his LL.B from Ebonyi State University (2009), had his BL from Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus and was called to the Bar on 30th November, 2010.

He is an active member of the NBA, Onitsha Branch; member, African Bar Association; member NBA Section on Legal Practice; and member, NBA Section on Business Law.

Till date, he had served the Bar in various capacities including Assistant Publicity Secretary, NBA Onitsha Branch (2014 – 2016); Alternate Chairman, NBA Onitsha Branch, Young Lawyers Forum (YLF) from 2016– 2017; Chairman, NBA Onitsha Branch, Young Lawyers Forum (YLF) 2017 – 2018; Secretary, NBA Onitsha Branch, Committee on Continuing Legal Education, 2018 – 2020 and Secretary, NBA Onitsha Branch Conference Planning Committee 2019.


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By Faruk Ahmed

Faruk Ahmed cut his teeth at National Review, a Kano-based magazine now rested, where he rose to become Operations Manager and then Business Developer and Strategist. He is a keen watcher of political events.

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