NBA Election 2018: How Obi-Okafor, Usoro Snubbed Us, Ojukwu Answered Us – University of Uyo Law Student writes NBA
Open Letter to NBA
It seems everyone has been talking about what their candidate has done for them, mine is not about the elections, it’s about Law Students Chambers, the Justice Udo Udoma Chambers of the Faculty of Law, University of Uyo.
My exposition here today is not intended to hurt anyone or any candidate, I will just give the raw facts of my the incidents that led to my encounter with Prof Ernest Ojukwu and why I believe he is that Messiah the Bar cannot afford to miss at this critical time.
I have never met Prof Ojukwu in person, but through his Clinical Education Project, NULAI, we have heard so much about him as law students. In spite of that towering integrity coupled with unassailable reputation for professional excellence as a lawyer, we were made even more humbled by the respect that our Harvard trained Legal Clinic Expert, Dr. Idorenyin Eyo, has for Professor Ernest Ojukwu. It is worthy to note that Dr. Idorenyin Eyo is also one of the Federal High Court Judges designate. The only female among the appointees and the only one from AKwa Ibom State.
The Chambers was at a crossroads when the idea of Launching a Law Journal was introduced to us by Barr. Fidel Albert, a Lagos based Rights Lawyer and Anti Corruption Crusader from AKwa Ibom State (apologies Sir). There was need to collate articles from Senior Lawyers and invite them as Special Guests to the event. We were furnished with some of their contacts and we were so happy for the first time, to have had such a privilege.
We launched ourselves into the task of calling the Senior Lawyers in our bid to get them contribute to our Journal. The first person I called was Paul Usoro SAN, but his line could not be answered, so I put a call to Arthur Obi SAN, Arthur did not also respond to our series of calls, the person we feared will not pick our was Ernest Ojukwu SAN, but surprisingly, he picked the call and put me at ease in the course of our conversation. Professor Ojukwu, after such an encouraging words, asked me for my email address which I sent, he forwarded a well scripted original article to us with the title “The Fight Against Judicial Corruption : The Role of Lawyers And The Courts “. Our joy was intense. He also accepted thereafter, to be our Keynote Speaker. A gesture, we will not forget in a hurry.
Paul Usoro SAN eventually picked my call, but ask to know about the identity of the other invitees and contributors, to which I answered by mentioning the names to include Professor Ojukwu and Fidel Albert Esq. He later questioned me why I did not contact him first, to which I explained that I gave him barrages of calls first but the calls were left unanswered each time I tried. Since that last colloquy with him, subsequent calls were never answered till today. I stumbled on Arthur Obi online on Whatsapp chat, I quickly sent a message of introduction, telling him about the plans and trying hard to convince him to at least looked my way, this was not to be. The What’s App notification marker ticked twice, indicating that all my messages were seen, but never was there any acknowledgement. We eventually launched the Law Journal and had contributions from:
Professor Ernest Ojukwu SAN
Chief Okoi Obono Obla, SA to PMB on Prosecution
Barr Ime Aquaowo Essien availed us Dr. Aquaowo Essien’s article on Restructuring,
Dr. Kubi Udofia, Corporate law Expert,
Dr. Enoh Uso-essien, of Faculty of Law, University of Uyo,
I have learnt so much from that experience. These are men that I never met, but Professor Ernest Ojukwu never was the only one in the lot who did not look down on me. He gave me advice, had patience with me, corrected me and stood with me till the end. I am sure that is the kind of man that suits the Bar right now. A man of knowledge, a man of courage and conscience, a man of honour, a man of integrity, a listening man and an unassuming achiever. His many profundities is something that the NBA needs right now.
I may not be a member of the Eastern or Western Bar, but I do know that, if assuming, I am a Chairman of any of these forum, and I have financial challenges, may be on payment of children fees or fixing my bills, in my confusion, someone walks up to me, and solicit my support to become the next NBA President and promises an amount of money that I know can surmount all my challenges , if my moral convictions are not strong enough, I will call lawyers who share my sentiments and adopt a candidate using the name of the forum, even without consulting with the rank and file of those who make up the Eastern Bar or Western Bar, as the case may be.
As a person, I do not always sacrifice the common good on the alter of self. The NBA now needs to consider the interest of this noble profession, bearing in mind the recent happenings in Nigeria ranging from, harrasment of lawyers, pupillage, ethical standards, dwindling standards of the legal education, judicial corruption, poor image of the judiciary and lots more. It is the interest of the NBA that must be paramount in all these adoptions and confusions.
Prof Ernest Ojukwu stands out as the best for the job. Think NBA think the future.
Faculty of Law
University of Uyo.