The Nigerian Bar Association , Lagos Branch is the first and the biggest branch of the Nigerian Bar Association. Last July, after an excruciating long electoral process arising from postponement of elections, Chukwuka (Chuka) Ikwuazom emerged as the Chairman of the branch.
Mr Ikwuazom rose to that position on a number of factors which include his promise to get rid of some institutional practices that militate against the practice of Law by Lawyers.
Mr Ikwuazom, a litigation lawyer himself is familiar with the challenges at the court registry and other institutions that work hand in hand with lawyers in delivering legal services .During his campaign, he has promised to challenge and sanitise those bad practices that constitute a canker worm to the profession.
If Chuka is true to his manifesto, his tenure will then put Nkechi Nnajiofor on the spotlight .In delivering his promises, Mr Ikwuazom will rely heavily on Nkechi Nnajiofor who was elected as the Welfare Secretary of the branch alongside Mr Ikwuazom. She has also served in the Human Rights Committee of the branch.
Nkechi Nnajiofor, a litigation Lawyer too in a well-known Law firm in Lagos whose partner has served as the branch Chair previously, will carry on her shoulders the hopes of thousands of lawyers who practice law in Lagos and who have been subdued by the many dirty practices at the registry and other allied institutions.
The new constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association adopted in August 2015 created the position of the Welfare secretary for the branches and ascribed to it the responsibilities of keeping the branch informed of any threat to the welfare of the Legal Profession and of members and gather data as may be deemed necessary from time to time.
The constitution also expects Mrs Nnajiofor to Safeguard and protect the interest of the Profession in all ramifications, monitor and report all matters affecting the welfare of members and means of enhancing and oversee all matters pertaining to the welfare of Legal practice and practitioners generally in the branch.
The problems Nnajiofor is expected to combat in her position as the Welfare secretary are problems that have been there for a very long time which have also formed the basis of many campaigns previously.
With the election of Ikwuazom ,a young and vibrant lawyer as Chairman and Mrs Nnajiofor, a young and vibrant litigator as Welfare secretary, hopes have never been raised this high that work will begin in dismantling some of these concerns. Fuelling these hopes also is the fact that the executive committee is made up of mostly young and vibrant lawyers like Ikechukwu Uwanna who serves as Secretary, George Ukwuoma as Assistant Secretary, Uche Nwadialor as Social Secretary. Bola Animashaun and Joy Nzube serves as Vice Chair and Treasurer respectively while Carol Obi serves as Financial secretary. Abiola Moshood serves as the Publicity Secretary while Emmanuel Orhoro is the Provost.
On the 11th September, Ikwuazom who celebrates his birthday today will Chair his first meeting of the branch and his regime will begin officially. As Lawyers await to see what unfolds in the next two years, there is no doubt that challenges will be met but how Chuka responds to them and fulfils his election promises will determine his place in the history of the branch.
Anthony Atata is an NBA Analyst