Barely six months to the end of the tenure of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud (SAN), the issue of his successor is now on the front burner.
This time around, the position of NBA President has been zoned to the Eastern Bar Forum (EBF) of the association in accordance with the internal zoning convention arrangement of the NBA. To this end the EBF met on February 3, to deliberate on the candidates.
Some of the contenders who have expressed their ambition to occupy the seat of the NBA President are Paul Usoro (SAN), Chief Authur Obi Okafor (SAN), Mazi Afam Osigwe, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu (SAN) and Ikpeazor Akaraiwe.
We take a look at the five potential aspirants:
Paul Usoro (SAN)
Paul was born in Ukana Ikot Ntuen town in Essien Udim LGA of Akwa Ibom State on September 7, 1958. He studied Law at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Osun State, where he obtained his Bachelor of Law degree (with Honours) in 1981. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1982.
During his compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) he had a stint with the Benue State House of Assembly and thereafter served at George Uloko & Co in Makurdi where he cut his teeth in advocacy practice. In 1983, he joined Sani Mohammed Kuso & Co in Kaduna.
In 1985, Paul founded his law firm- Paul Usoro & Co (PUC) in Kaduna. In 1992, the headquarters of PUC was established in Lagos with the Kaduna office still operational until 2003 when the northern operations were consolidated into a new branch office in Abuja.
Chief Arthur Obi-Okafor (SAN)
He was born into the family of Chief Humphrey Okafor in Abatete, Idemmili Local Government Area of Anambra State.
His desire to become a lawyer took him to the University of Calabar where he obtained his Bachelors of Laws (LL. B) Hons. in 1990 and from there he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos where he qualified as Barrister and Solicitor at Law (BL) in 1991. In 1992, he joined the law firm of Late Dr. Chimezie Ikeazor (SAN).
He established his current law office at God is Great Arena, Asaba in 2009 and was later conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 2010.
He has been a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of NBA since 2012. He is a Member of the NBA Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee which was inaugurated by the President of Nigerian Bar Association to proffer better regulation for the profession.
Mazi Afam Osigwe
He is the immediate past General Secretary of NBA and a household name within the NBA political circle.
Mazi Afam Osigwe was born on the 25th of October 1972. He graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu State in 1997 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1999. He started legal practice with Chike Chigbue and Co, Abuja Office in 1999 and left in 2002 to start his own firm, the LAW FORTE.
In 2006 he became a Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. In 2010, he concluded a face-to-face tutorial at Keble College, Oxford, and obtained a Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration. He became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) in 2011.
Professor Ernest Maduabuchi Ojukwu (SAN)
Professor Ernest Maduabuchi Ojukwu was born September 23, 1960. He is the immediate past Deputy Director-General and Head of Campus of the Nigerian Law School, Augustine Nnamani Campus, Agbani Enugu. Before his appointment, he was Associate Professor and Dean Faculty of Law, Abia State University, Uturu from 1995-2001. He is also the President of the Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI Nigeria), the platform through which he has continued to achieve his dreams of promoting clinical legal & justice education and reform of legal education in Nigeria.
Ikeazor Akaraiwe Esq.
He is the incumbent Chief Rapporteur of the NBA and was the first Vice President of the Association from 2008-2010.
Mr. Ikeazor Akaraiwe Esq., was the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Enugu Branch from 2001 to 2008. He was also Vice-Chairman, and once Financial Secretary.