AB 1

jk 1The president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) would be determined in the national elections scheduled to hold on 30th & 31st July, 2016. Other positions would also be fought for but then the office of the president as usual is the main focus of interest.

Two great and eminent gentlemen have thrown their hat into the race and have been traversing the length and breadth of the country to sell their candidacy to lawyers. With beautiful campaign websites, catchy social media ads and teams of zealous volunteers the campaigns I must confess have been a departure from the rancorous campaigns of the past.

Meet the Presidential Candidates

Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN (JK) is squaring out with Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud SAN (AB). Both are senior and distinguished members of the inner bar and stand shoulder to shoulder in various achievements. I must confess that I met and interacted with JK at the last NBA Annual General Conference. In fact we shared the dance floor together at one of the events. I have never met AB.

My analysis of both men is strictly based on the information gleaned from their websites and other publications in the public domain and thus my analysis should be viewed as what it is; an objective analysis of both candidates.

Is John Kyari-Gadzama (JK) OK?

JK Gadzama SAN

      JK Gadzama SAN

“Is JK Ok?” is my usual response to my one of my friends who is a volunteer for JK and keeps my phone busy with floods of broadcast messages asking for “a vote for JK”.

54 year old John Kyari-Gadzama is a legal practitioner with over 30 years experience. He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1986 and was awarded the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the equivalent of the British QC. He is the founder of the law firm of J-K Gadzama LLP. Founded in 1989, the firm has offices in Abuja, Lagos, Maiduguri, and affiliate offices in London and South Florida USA.

JK was the Chairman of the NBA Abuja branch (2003 -2004), pioneer Chairman of the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development law (SPIDEL) from 2006 -2010 and Chairman NBA Conference Planning Committee for Annual General Conference, Jos (2005) amongst other positions.

He holds the following affiliations amongst others; member of the International Bar Association (IBA) and West African Bar Association (WABA).

His candidacy is anchored on the vision of;

“An effective, efficient and purposeful NBA committed to protection and promotion of the rule of law and maintenance of the best traditions of the Bar”.

His Mission is;

“To serve with integrity and run an inclusive NBA dedicated to the advancement of the interest of its members and protection of societal norms and values.”

JK’s campaign runs around the core values of;

1. Exemplary leadership, Accountability, Integrity;
2. Innovation, Transparency, Accessibility;
3. Courage, Sustainability and dignity.

To read me about JK,  click here

Is Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud (AB) Better?

AB Mahmoud SAN

            AB Mahmoud SAN

AB has been in active legal practice for over 30 years. He started with the public sector wherein he rose from the position of pupil counsel to become the Attorney General of Kano State.

He co-founded the law firm of Dikko and Mahmoud in 1993 and was elected the president of the Nigerian Bar Association Kano Branch the same year. He was elevated to the rank of SAN in 2001.

AB has a rich resume and has in his kitty the following amongst others; Certificate in Corporate Law and Business from the North Western University Chicago (2002), Certificate in Techniques of Privatization from the Institute of International Development at Harvard University (2000), Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK from Keble College, University of Oxford and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

AB is a Life Bencher, member of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPPC), pro-chancellor of the Kano State University of Science and Technology and Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

His candidacy rests sturdily on the theme of building “A Brave New Bar” and vision articulated on same thus;

“To reinvent the NBA into a brave new bar driven by the knowledge and skills of its members as a veritable agent for national transformation, whilst safeguarding the interests of its members”

His Mission Statement he articulates in 3Rs-P
1. Regulation
2. Representation
3. Re-Engineering
4. Public Interest

AB is also married to Justice Patricia Mahmoud, the current acting Chief Judge of Kano State. To read more about AB click here

In my next post, I shall critically analyse the manifestoes of these two gentlemen in light of the present challenges facing the legal profession in Nigeria. Kindly keep a date.
To view the full list of the presidential and other candidates for various executive positions as well as their manifestoes as released by the NBA Electoral Committee, click here.

The NBA Electoral Committee has also released a video as a voter education guide for the e-voting process. Watch it below


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Maduka Onwukeme is an Attorney, Creative Writer and Business Consultant. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook or on Linkedin