BUILDING CAPACITY, BREAKING NEW FRONTIERS
Distinguished Learned Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Respected Seniors and Dear Colleagues,
It is another time and season for us as members of NBA PH Branch to elect leaders from among us to pilot the affairs of our Branch for the period June, 2020 – June 2022.
With the benefit of hindsight and as a member of NBA PH Branch, I am aware of the many difficulties and challenges confronting us. Some of which are, but not limited to, little or no attention being given to the welfare of our members, hostile work environment, transparency and accountability in the management of Bar affairs and finances.
I am also aware that Senior Colleagues are increasingly becoming uninterested and alienated from Bar activities and meetings owing to the falling ethical standards and the seeming perception that they are no longer needed. A number of Younger Colleagues are getting disillusioned owing to lack of proper mentoring, poor remuneration and unfulfilled expectations. The work environment for the practice of the business of law is hostile and adverse.
Our members yearn and desire leaders that will frontally confront and conquer these difficulties and challenges. Our members need leaders that will make their welfare and the business of the practice of law much better than what is presently obtainable. We need leaders with integrity, capacity and character.
I have carried out the needs assessment of our Association and members. I have given deep thought to the genuine expectations of our members and I am convinced that I possess the needed integrity, capacity and character to achieve our members’ expectations.
INTENTION TO CONTEST ELECTION FOR THE OFFICE OF CHAIRMAN
I have carried out a critical self-evaluation to determine my suitability and ability to meet and satisfy the expectations and yearnings of our members for good leadership. I believe, with every sense of responsibility and humility that I fit the call for the quality of leadership and services our members yearn for and expect at such a time as this. Therefore, I offer myself as a candidate for the office of Chairman, NBA Port Harcourt Branch and most respectfully solicit your support and votes.
I believe that I possess the requisite credentials to lead our great Branch and commit to offering a responsible, responsive and purposeful leadership if elected as Chairman. I therefore pray you all, my learned seniors and colleagues, to support my aspiration and be discerning enough to make the right choice.
EDUCATION/CALL TO BAR
I attended University of Benin and graduated therefrom in 1992 with an LL.B degree. I also hold an LL.M (Technology and Intellectual Property Law) from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. I attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and was called to Bar in December, 1993.
I underwent the compulsory NYSC programme in Kano, Kano State in 1993/94 and had my primary assignment in the law office of Kayode Olatunji & Co. At the completion of my NYSC, I joined the law office of Ibrahim Umar & Co. in Kano State and worked there from November, 1994 to October, 1995. From November, 1995 to March, 2001 I worked in the law office of C.A. Adolor & Co., Kano.
In April, 2001 I relocated to Port Harcourt and joined the law office of Wachuku & Wachuku, Orosi Chambers. I rose to become the Head of Chambers of Wachuku & Wachuku before disengaging therefrom on the 31st December, 2013. In January, 2014 I founded Prince & Empire Law Firm with office at Rebecca House, No. 27 Rumuola Road, Port Harcourt.
BAR MEMBERSHIP, ACTIVITIES/SERVICES
I was a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, Kano Branch from 1994 to 2000. Upon my relocating to Port Harcourt in 2001, I joined the Nigerian Bar Association, Port Harcourt Branch and have remained a member of the Branch to date. I belong to the NBA Section on Business Law and Section on Legal Practice respectively. I am also a member of the International Bar Association.
I have attended and participated in Bar activities and conferences at International, National and Branch levels. I have also been privileged to be appointed and served our Branch in the following capacity:
i. Member, Human Rights Committee – April, 2004-April, 2006
ii. Member, Justice Sector Monitoring Committee – April, 2008-April, 2010
iii. Secretary, Justice Sector Monitoring Committee – April, 2014-April, 2016
iv. Secretary, Continuing Legal Education Committee – June, 2016-June, 2018
v. Chairman, NBA House Management Committee – June, 2018-June, 2020
vi. NEC Rep – June, 2018-June, 2020
vii. Chairman, LOC AGC, Lagos – 2019
PROGRAMME OF ACTION
Sections 2 and 7 of the NBA Uniform Bye-Law for Branches in NBA Constitution 2015 (as amended) provides for the objects of the Branches and functions of the Chairman. The functions of the Chairman in achieving the Branch’s objects cannot be over emphasised. As a Chairman with your support and votes, we shall build capacity, break new frontiers and at the end, bequeath enduring legacies.
Therefore, as Chairman, in collaboration with the other members of the Executive Committee, I will focus on three (3) key areas of the Person of the Lawyer, the Practice of the Lawyer and the Public Interest of the Lawyer, the P3 Strategies. I will expatiate what I have otherwise simply called the P3 Strategies.
1. The Person of the Lawyer.
It is only a healthy Lawyer that can effectively engage in the business of the practice of law. Therefore, we shall give priority to the well-being and welfare of our members through the following:
· Introduction of an Insurance Health Scheme for members
· Review of the extant Welfare Policy of the Branch with a view to making it more responsive to the need of members.
· Provision of welfare packages that meet modern day realities.
· Create a credit co-operative society that will provide soft loan to members in deserving financial need.
· Organisation of programmes to sensitise and promote the health and medical wellbeing of members.
· Organisation of keep fit physical and health exercises/activities.
· Secure discounted gyms membership rates for members.
· Organisation of well thought out social events with a view to deepening friendship, cohesion and social integration at the Bar.
2. The Practice of the Lawyer
A Lawyer’s knowledge of the law as well as the work environment impact on his practice of the business of Law. A poor knowledge of the law and unfavourable work environment will negatively affect a Lawyer’s practice of the business of law. Therefore, we shall be decisive in providing requisite training for members and championing a conducive and enabling work environment through:
· Robust continuing legal education with a view to enhancing the professional competencies and expertise of members in the various specialties of law.
· Institute a well-structured mentorship programme for Young Lawyers.
· Upholding and Promoting the protection of members in the course of their practice of the business of law.
· Promote professionalism and international best practices in the practice of the business of law.
· Confront conduct in the justice sector and the practice of the business of law.
· Encourage stakeholders in the administration of justice and the practice of the business of law to be alive to their duties and responsibilities.
· Periodically consult and engage stakeholders in the practice of the business of law with a view to addressing issues that impede it or practice.
· Combat exploitation of lawyers by stakeholders in the administration of justice and the practice of the business of law.
3. The Public Interest of the Lawyer
As Lawyers, we ought to be the conscience of the society and gatekeepers of the fundamental human rights and social justice of our people. This is especially necessary for the poor, vulnerable and less privileged members of the public who may not have the means and financial wherewithal to defend themselves in the event of infraction of their fundamental rights.
Therefore, we shall be deliberate and decisive in giving back to the society. To this end we shall:
· Carry out public enlightenment and sensitisation of members of the public on their rights and duties as citizens.
· Assist in the protection of the fundamental human rights of the poor, vulnerable and less privileged members of the public.
· Establish a functional and responsive Human Rights Desk
· Design and implement a pro bono protocol for our public interest intervention and litigation.
· Engage Government and its departments to live up to their responsibilities and hold them accountable for their actions and inactions.
· Be ready at all times to speak truth to power.
MODUS OPERANDI OF THE P3 STRATEGIES
In carrying out our P3 Strategies programme of action, prudent management processes and procedures shall be our hallmark and watchword. We shall show integrity and be transparent, honest and disciplined in all dealings. To achieve this end, we shall adopt the following management etiquette:
· Create and institutionalise transparent financial management processes and procedures in the Branch.
· Ensure that Committees of the Branch are functional and accountable in all respect.
· Cultivate focused, value driven and accountable leadership.
· Inspire and generate sustained interest of members in Bar and Branch activities.
Periodically engage and get feedback from members with a view to finding solutions to our collective and individual professional work related problems and challenges.
A vote for me is a vote for building capacity, breaking new frontiers for the common good of all of us. Therefore, I respectfully urge you to vote right. Vote me for Chairman of our Branch for the period June, 2020- June, 2022. Vote me to captain our Branch to build capacity and break new frontiers of progress, prosperity and goodwill.
God bless us all.
God bless Nigerian Bar Association, Port Harcourt Branch.
God bless Rivers State.
God bless Nigeria.
Prince Nyekwere, Esq.