Just like former American President Barrack Obama, Paul Usoro, SAN was elected the 29th president of the Nigerian Bar Association in the early hours of Monday, 20th August 2018 by a united vote against the undemocratically fiendish and none inclusive adoption of the Eastern Bar Forum. Thus, serial occurrence of minorities, like the Akwa-Cross under the EBF, always being told to “wait their turn” ends.
This turn of events represents a catharsis for national NBA politics – for the first time, a lawyer from the unpopular Akwa-Cross minority of the EBF zone, along with the determination of lawyers nationwide broke the stranglehold of the cabal that has always picked NBA presidents. Right up to the end, the campaigns initiated and sustained by other candidates were eclipsed by a man who is nothing short of a gargantuan icon. A man who consistently drew huge crowds as illustrated by the hundreds of lawyers who routinely turned out to hear him speak across the nation.
This wide-ranging sphere of influence Usoro wields has left EBF adoption apologists writhing in public squares, gnashing their teeth and rueing the utter primitiveness of their choices. In stark contrast, the learned silk’s ability to articulate his plans for the Bar as well as exhibit a passion for modern progress ensured a candidate who does not stand for competence was not forced upon Nigerian lawyers.
For most lawyers, especially at voiceless branches like Uyo, Calabar and Ikot Ekpene who were already tasting the aroma of disenfranchisement, keeping watch over the long, dark hours of the night was inevitable. There were frantic calls across the nation to ensure lawyers flexed their franchise muscles, casting votes as was their constitutional right. The eventual news of Usoro’s victory in the early hours of the morning was heralded by the loud sound of rain announcing victory like the town criers of yore.
Mr. President Sir, the writer will not forget in a hurry, the numerous attempts at humiliation and the campaigns of calumny against you in the course of this journey. However, today the fears of those opposed to tangible progress have become a reality – you have become their president and they will see your example of magnanimity and your drive for unity as a man of your pedigree is always bound to push.
They say class cannot be bought but perhaps, your clear intention to carry every one of them along could be the acquisition they so desperately need.
Mr President, congratulations once again. It is time to put your hand on the plough, we hope we do not get carried away by your propensity to pamper us, just like you do with your staff as is evident from your welfare track record, which is second to none.
Adieu Adoption, we love you, but God loves you most!!
God bless the NBA where every lawyer shall be put first.