Tuesday, 25 March 2014

NBA Eket branch gets new exco

NBA Eket branch gets new exco

The Nigerian Bar Association, Eket branch last weekend inaugurated her new  Exco with a charge on them to deliver on their mandate for the next two years. The motion for the disolution of the former Exco was moved by Barr Ubong Adiakpan and seconded by Barr Nsima Nsima. The new Chairman is Mr. Akpabiaha Ebitu who in his inaugural address said It is my avowed position that lawyers must be given their due respect in the society. But let me admonish us that flaunting our status as a lawyer in public when you are actually misbehaving cannot earn us the respect we crave for, as we know, nobody is above the law.

I therefore urge members to, at all times, be law abiding so that we can be seen as fit and proper persons which we were at the time we were called to Bar to earn the respect traditionally accorded lawyers.

Finally, learned seniors and colleagues, let me remind all of us that the election is over, we do not have any other Bar save the NBA and we must at all times do, act and behave in a way that will always portray the Bar as a disciplined organization. We must not destroy the Bar no matter the prejudices we may hold against any officer of the Bar. Let us behave like the Japanese who say that “brothers quarrel like thieves inside a house, but outside their swords leap out in each other’s defence”. On my part, like I told my learned and worthy opponent U.D. A. Ime, Esq. being an active Bar man he has always been, that he is a part and parcel of my administration. I promise that I will never betray the Bar.

Today I promise you that I will leave this Bar better than I met it. Let me specially thank my boss, the immediate past chairman, Livinus Udofia, Esq. for giving me a free hand to run the secretariat and I wish him all that he wishes himself in his future endeavour. To you members, let us join hands and uplift the Eket Bar, which in honest assessment by the immediate past chairman of Uyo Branch of the Bar Paul Ubom, Esq. is the flagship of the Bar in Akwa Ibom State.
              Barr Livinus Udofia                                                         Mr. Akpabiaha Ebitu
Let me remind members that payment of practicing fees ends on the 31st of this month and Branches are under very firm instruction from the National that list of those members who have not paid their practicing fees by 31st March, 2014 should be forwarded to the National and they are to face disciplinary action for gross misconduct in compliance with the provisions of the legal practitioners act. Let me also add that we intend to enforce No payment of practicing fees and Bar dues, No right of audience in Court and Bar meetings. Members who have not paid are therefore advised to pay their fees and Bar dues before the end of 31st March, 2014 in their own interest. Part of his inaugural address read. He however inaugurated some committees to help in the smooth running of his administration. The committees were, By law committee, Bar Centre committee, Human Rights/Public Complaints committee, Welfare committee, Control of NBA stickers committee, Annual Lecture in Honour of Bassey Dan Abia, Esq. MD/CEO of NDDC Committee and the Young Lawyers forum Committee.

Earlier the outgoing Chairman Barr Livinus Udofia in his valedictory speech had said, Under my watch all the NEC members of the  branch have attended all the NEC meetings during my tenure. Our visibility and contribution at NEC has attracted appointments to members of this branch. Akpadiaha Ebitu Esq was reappointed to the General Bar Council and my humble self was appointed into the Constitution Review Committee of the NBA. Akpadiaha Ebitu was also appointed into the Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee. He is a bundle of talent and I had no equivocation that he was going to be our collective choice during the election.

Further more, Barr Udofia maintained that “After my inauguration as chairman of the Eket Branch of the NBA I did make a promise to hold Bar Week and Dinner every year. I make bold to say that I delivered on that promise. 2 Bar Weeks. 2 bar Dinners. The last Bar Week and Dinner in February 2014 is a record to be broken. I beg to seize this opportunity to express gratitude to the Bar Week Committee for the yeoman job it did.

I inherited nothing in terms of finance when I came on board. From the little we garnered from Bar dues I managed it to finance the attendance to all NEC meetings held during my tenure, keep the Bar Bus in a serviceable condition. At a point I replaced the engine of the bus, pay the driver, provided money for text messages for meeting to issue, purchase stationeries for the preparation of minutes. On 2 occasions all branch chairmen were summoned to Abuja for meetings with the President and national executives of NBA. Nobody ever question or desire to know how much the branch get as Bar Dues which is paid only once in a year. Nobody insisted on any of my predecessor in office to rending of account before handing over or before conducting election.

The donation to the branch of the sum of N50,000,000.00 hiked the interest of members suddenly in the financial matters of the Branch. The money which was meant for the Bar Centre came with a design already drawn by Government draughtsmen. Again the government was to make land available to us for the project. The government did not eventually make the land available to us and we had to buy the land to build. The drawing did not include sucker way pit which we have constructed. It did not include borehole and tank stand which we have done. We have written to notify the Governor that since the parcel of land promised us was not immediately given us we bought land from the money and we need to be indemnified to be able to complete the project.

The rumour that was deliberately contrived and spurned by some malicious members is that the Bar Center money had been hijacked and that there was no project anywhere. The gullible amongst us cling to it and expressed utter dissatisfaction and disapproval. Few accosted me and were taken to the project site and were amazed and happy with the quality and extent of work they saw. Some attempted to post play cards on the fence of Villa Marina on the days our Bar Week activities were held there asking for the Bar centre money or disruption of the Bar Week activities. Your Bar Centre is now ready for roofing, the block work is fully completed. Some of us were given N50,000,000.00 years back to build a similar structure but were not able to mould a single 4 inches block yet they style themselves activists for the purpose of degrading the clear achievement of others. I repeat that your Bar Centre is situate on a 2200m2 of land along Court Road, Eket. It is ready for roofing. Do not believe what rumour mongers are telling you. Go for an excursion to the site and see things for yourself.

I am happy nobody criticized the electoral process that saw the emergence of Ebitu as the 7th Chairman of the NBA Eket. I was happy to see everyone jubilating with him. The process was transparent and accepted by even the loser. Anytime a free and fair election is conducted there will be no need for election petition. Those who alleged that I was planning to enthrone a successor to cover up my imaginary misdeeds were put to shame.

I was sworn in on 23/3/2012 and I am relinquishing power on 21/3/2014 because 23/4/2014 is a Sunday and instead of taking it forward I am bringing it backward to 21/3/2014 so that I do not stay for a minute longer than my official tenure. This is yet another credit to my administration. We are all witnesses to what use to obtain before now. Some of us wee of the view that the election should be postponed but I stood my ground that election will be conducted and I am happy for my decision”.
He concluded  with a charge to the new chairman saying “To Ebitu Esq., I am saying that while you enjoy the euphoria of your victory and swearing – in I am bequeathing to you a Bar that is highly regarded nationally and locally. Keep the golden flag of Eket Branch of the NBA flying even higher than I did”.

Others elected and sworn in were Barr. Mfon Etukudo as secretary, Richard Iyaha and Barr Peter Ime Akpan also made the Exco amongst others. 

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