The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has said that the new leadership of its Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) was carefully chosen to ensure that the section does not become comatose again.
Speaking during the Annual General Meeting of the section held at the Aare Afe Babalola Bar Centre, NBA Ibadan Branch, NBA First Vice President and Chairman of the SPIDEL Electoral Committee, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins said that he was mandated by NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata “to ensure that those that will lead SPIDEL will be able to lead it from where we are now to greater heights and to ensure that SPIDEL does not fall into the doldrums again.”
Aside from fiery human rights activist, Mr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani, who was elected as the Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL Council, others are; Mr. Steve Abah, Vice Chairman; Dr. Princess Frank-Chukwuani, Secretary; Funmilola Adeogun, Treasurer and Godfrey Echeho, Publicity Secretary.
Council members include; Prof. Paul Ananaba (SAN); Mr. Kunle Adegoke SAN; Mr. Kola Omotinugbon; Mr. Emeka Nwadioke, Mr. Kunle Edun, Dr. Paul Ebiala, Anne Uruegi Agi, Igbeaku Ukwueso Evulukwu, and Mr. Abdullahi Karaye.
Aikpokpo-Martins said that the newly elected Council was not only in compliance with the NBA Constitution but that the members are the best.
“The list that we present to the AGM is the best possible team. By the grace of God, SPIDEL has been revived. What is left is to build on it,” he said.
He emphasized the critical role of SPIDEL in safeguarding the public interest.
He said: “Personally, I believe that SPIDEL is the flagship of NBA; once SPIDEL is working, NBA is working. It is the major section that interfaces with the public and we cannot shirk our responsibilities.
“The special thing about SPIDEL is that apart from intellect, it is the only section that needs passion to drive it. If there is no passion, it cannot be driven.”
Dissecting the challenges that hobbled SPIDEL before its revival by the Prof. Paul Ananaba leadership, the NBA chieftain said: “The mistake that I believe that was made in the past was that those who had passion were not in the driver’s seat of SPIDEL.
“Having identified that issue therefore and the onerous task given to us to ensure that there is a new election in the tradition of sections of the Nigerian Bar, passion became the major factor; in fact, it became the distinguishing factor when all other equities were equal. I thank the immediate past EXCO for appointing us to superintend the election.”
On his part, the pioneer Chairman of SPIDEL, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN said: “I have enjoyed the conference; I have enjoyed the comradeship. I have reunited with colleagues and made new friends. Ibadan is a nice place. I am happy for the success of the outgoing leadership. I am also praying for victory for MOU and the new council.
Gadzama traced the emergence of SPIDEL to 2006 when he served a four-year term.