The Chairman of the Conference Planning Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL), Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN has resigned from the position.
His resignation is reportedly tied to a face-off between the NBA president, Olumide Akpata and the Body of Benchers’ Chairman, BoB, Wole Olanipekun SAN.
SPIDEL is a section of the NBA committed to promoting the role and application of law to economic development and growth of public interest Law across the nation, with Dr. Monday Ubani as its current chairman.
In his resignation letter to Ubani on Monday, Ikwuazom stated he could not continue in the position because Akpata wanted him to leave office.
He also claimed that his reason for resigning from the office follows a report online (not THE WHISTLER) which had stated that the NBA leadership is unhappy with him and other BoB members for not backing Akpata in his demand that Olanipekun recuse himself from the BoB following allegation of professional misconduct by a partner in the senior lawyer’s law firm.
The letter cited by Barristerng, partly reads, “Shortly after the call, my attention was drawn to a sensational article titled “Olanikpekungate Claims Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN as First Victim” published by one Kubwa Express. I will not bother to go into the rather offensive details of the article. Suffice it to say that it signalled the commencement of an utterly unnecessary and avoidable controversy capable of taking the shine off the hardwork put into the organisation of a memorable conference by the SPIDEL CPC, which it has been my honour to chair until now.
“In light of the needless controversy that has been introduced into an otherwise simple task of working with my colleagues at the CPC to plan a conference for SPIDEL and in the overall interest of the profession and SPIDEL, I hereby tender my resignation as Chairman of the CPC. My resignation is with immediate effect.”
Akpata maintains that the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), which is under the BoB must be allowed to independently probe the firm and the affected partner for soliciting for cases in view of Olanipekun’s favorable disposition towards judges.
Meanwhile, Olanipekun had in a veiled response on July 27 said that “It is important to point out that the LPDC is not an avenue for dealing with perceived enemies or ventilation of grievances against fellow lawyers on personal issues.”
The development has divided lawyers with some supporting the NBA president while others are strongly behind Olanipekun.
Apparently trying to douse tension, the NBA Spidel chairman, Ubani had on July 29 urged relevant stakeholders to give Akpata a glorious sendforth during the August 25 Annual General Conference of the association.
On Akpata, he wrote via his Facebook page, “He will be exiting the presidency of NBA in grand style and blaze of glory. The Annual General Meeting of the Annual General Conference which is on the 25th of August, 2022 in Lagos remains a day of eulogizing his sterling and courageous leadership ever witnessed in the noble profession after Alao Aka Bashorun. In doing this, no accusation of eye service or hypocrisy can stand. Olu deserves encomiums meritoriously.”