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Elected President of NBA, Akpata, dedicates victory to young lawyers

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The newly elected President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Akpata has appreciated and thanked vast majority of young lawyers who made his victory possible.

While thanking them, Akpata dedicated his victory to “our young lawyers who have become disillusioned with the way the NBA has been run over the years and how the profession appears to be disconnected from the challenges that face them and their future.”

Newsmen learnt that Akpata polled 9,891 votes to defeat two senior advocates — Mr Dele Adesina and Dr Babatunde Ajibad — in the election which closed at 11 pm on Thursday.

Ajibade polled 4,328 votes, Adesina 3,982 votes and a total of 18,256 ballots were cast.

He also acknowledged the support of “the progressive senior lawyer who refused to accept the status quo and took firm steps to ensure that things are done better.

The results of the elections were announced by the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) Mr. Tawo. E. Tawo.

Other elected officers for the various offices include Mr John Aikpokpo-Martins as NBA First Vice President with a total of 6,010 votes.

Mr Adeyemo Kazeem emerged NBA Second Vice President with 8,794 votes. Mrs Joyce Oduah was elected NBA General Secretary with 8, 979 votes while Mrs Uchenna Nwadialo polled 7,314 votes to emerge NBA’s Assistant General Secretary.

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Mrs Mercy Agada was elected NBA Treasurer unopposed, Mr Nnamdi Anagor emerged the financial secretary unopposed while Mr Olukunle Edun was elected NBA Welfare Secretary with 9,001 votes.

Dr Rapulu Nduka emerged the NBA Publicity Secretary with 11,964 votes while Mr Naza Afam polled 6,490 votes to emerge NBA Assistant Publicity Secretary.

In his victory speech, Akpata said:

“It (his victory) is for the corporate counsel, law officers, law teachers, the police and military lawyers, and lawyers in all components of the profession who for long have been treated as unequal members of an Association that ought to be the umbrella body for all legal practitioners.

“The victory of last night is for the lawyer with a disability who has long suffered neglect and indignity by the profession.

Above all, our victory is for non-lawyers and the general populace who took an unusual but a special interest in the conduct of our elections, thus,  lending credence to my long-held belief that the Nigerian society has always yearned for a legal profession and indeed a Bar that stands tall as an unwavering bastion of the rule of law, an advocate for the sanctity and independence of the judiciary, and a bulwark against tyranny and oppression.”

Speaking on the NBA election, Ajibade said in a statement:

“I have called Mr. Olumide Akpata and congratulated him on his election as the 30th President of our great association, the Nigerian Bar Association, in the elections held on 29th-30th July, 2020.

“As a co-contestant in the elections, I am proud of the level of the debate and the quality of the ideas that were brought forth, for the improvement of our association, the welfare of its members and the good of our society.

“It is unfortunate that the process leading up to and during the election itself has, once again, not been devoid of controversy.

“It is my fervent hope that we will get over these repeated challenges with conducting objectively free and fair elections into the leadership positions in the association.

“I remain resolute in my belief that we cannot succeed in addressing the challenges confronting our profession unless we unite and I urge the incoming President and his executive to take deliberate and proactive steps to unite the Bar.”

The election was by electronic voting and held for 24 hours from 11 pm on Wednesday.

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It was a significant victory in the association’s history as it signalled a shift from the hold SANs had on the Bar leadership.

It represents a revolutionary break from the status quo, partly made possible by the introduction of universal suffrage in which young lawyers made their number count, as against the electoral college system.

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Akpata, a non-SAN and commercial/transactional lawyer who rarely makes court appearances, is the first non-SAN to be elected President of the Bar since 1989 when the late Alao Aka-Bashorun was at the helm.

The task of managing the association’s image falls on Dr Rapuluchukwu Ernest Nduka, who was elected the National Publicity Secretary.

In a message to lawyers, he said:

“It was tasking and I would not have gotten this far without your support, prayers and sacrifices. You gave everything to this project and the result was a product of your overwhelming effort.

“A new chapter begins. Your ideas and input will assist in fulfilling my manifesto.

“My opponent has graciously agreed to work with me, so we can have a ReBranded Bar. I strongly believe that we can achieve the goal as I promised in the campaigns with your assistance.”

Adesina had faulted the electoral process and called for the cancellation of an exercise he called “a sham”.

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FG raises penalty for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, reviewed the penalty for hate speech in Nigeria.

Mohammed disclosed the increment in penalty for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.

The Minister disclosed this at the unveiling ceremony of the reviewed Nigeria Broadcasting Code organized by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Lagos.

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A statement signed and issued by Mohammed’s spokesman, Segun Adeyemi said the reviewed code contained the Antitrust provision aimed at boosting local content and encouraging the growth of the local industry, among other provisions.

The statement reads partly:

“The amended Code also includes the provision raising the fine for hate speech from 500,000 Naira to 5 million Naira.

“Alhaji Mohammed clarified that the amendments were necessitated by a Presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019 general elections, for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the NBC with a view to repositioning the regulator for optimum performance.

“He said despite the attacks by some vested interests, who believe that their singular business interest is superior to national interest, over the provisions of the amended Code, the Federal Government remains unperturbed.”

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1.5m students to sit for 2020 WAEC exams

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WAEC

The 2020 West African School Certificate Examination is to be taken by 1,549,463 candidates in 19,129 centres nationwide.

The participants comprise 786,421 males, while the balance 763,402 are females.

The Head of Nigeria National Office (HNO) of the organisation, Patrick Areghan, made the disclosure yesterday in Lagos.

He added that the test, which holds between August 4 and September 5, would run daily from Monday to Saturday.

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In deference to existing COVID-19 protocols, the HNO said:

“Schools must provide wash-hand buckets with running water, soaps, hand sanitisers and thermometer hand-gun to check the temperature of all concerned.”

He continued:

“All examination functionaries, including the council’s staff on distribution, supervisors, invigilators, inspectors, candidates and school officials will be required to wear face masks, wash and sanitise their hands daily, and throughout the duration of the examination.”

Areghan asserted that the council would adhere strictly to physical distancing in the examination halls by ensuring that candidates sit two metres apart.

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UPDATED: WAEC releases 2020 WASSCE timetable

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WAEC Candidates

The West African Examinations Council has released the timetable for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination.

The Federal Government had announced the resumption of graduating pupils beginning August 4, noting that WASSCE would begin effective August 17, 2020 through September 12, 2020.

WAEC Nigeria in a statement on Tuesday signed by its Head of Public Affairs, Demianus Ojijeogu, advised candidates to disregard other versions of the examination timetable in circulation.

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The statement was titled, ‘WAEC Releases Timetable For The Conduct Of West African Senior School Certificate Examination For School Candidates, 2020’.

The statement read,

“The West African Examinations Council, Nigeria wishes to inform its stakeholders-schools, parents and candidate-that the Final International Timetable for the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2020 has been released.

“The Council notes that several versions of the examination timetable have been in circulation and enjoins the general public to disregard them as they did not emanate from it.

“The examination which has been slated to begin on Monday, August 17, 2020 will end on Saturday, September 12, 2020.

“The Council hereby urges the candidates to abide by the rules and regulations guiding the conduct of the examination by shunning all acts of malpractice and obeying all Covid-19 protocols that have been put in place at the examination centres.

“This is wishing the candidates success in the examination.”

 

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