Your Excellency the Governor of Anambra State Prof. Charles Soludo the Hon. The Chief Judge of Anambra State. Hon. Justice Onochie M. Anyachebelu, the Hon Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Prof. Sylvia Chika Ifereje, learned Senior Advocates of Nigeria. Elders of the Bar. Chairmen and Secretaries of our branches, distinguished members of the Eastern Bar Forum ladies and gentlemen, it is with warmth in my heart that I welcome you all to this quarterly meeting of the Eastern Bar Forum in the beautiful city of Awka, Anambra State, to what is the first meeting hosted by the Governing Council which we elected in Port Harcourt in August 2023. It is our new beginning.
On behalf of all the members of the 2023-2025 Governing Council of the Eastern Bar Forum I say thank you to all our members for finding us worthy of the trust to lead this foremost regional forum of the NBA at this time.
I thank the Government and people of Anambra State for the warm hospitality generously extended to us and the support in the hosting of this meeting.
We gather in this city, the capital of Anambra State, a state so blessed with some of the best legal minds ever to come out of Nigeria, and at a time one of Nigeria’s brightest legal minds, one of Anambra State’s finest gifts to the legal community in Nigeria, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, took his final bow.
Permit me to invite us to please rise to-observe a minutes silence in honor of the soul of this great son of Anambra.
May the soul of this great Nigerian lawyer of Anambra descent, rest in peace, even as we pray that God should give his family and the state the fortitude to bear his loss.
Our meeting here today comes at a time of-great historical significance for our country, a time when we are at the cross roads of history, overlooking a huge crater spawn on the path of our nation’s journey to the proverbial eldorado. It is the season, fresh from our general elections, when we get to work, along with persons entrusted with our mandates, to deliver dividends of good governance to our people, Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Are we into another round of failed promises?
Our duty as members of the professional elite is to serve as the barometer that measures the performance of our leaders. That way we are best positioned to help our leaders succeed for the good of all our people.
We take office as leaders of the Eastern Bar Forum at a time when the impact of the economy on, professional service providers such as lawyers are, is most severe, drastically impacting our ability to support the lofty goals we set for ourselves, a time when individuals are restrategizing to ensure personal survival. It must therefore also be a time we think outside the box and reinvent ourselves so as to remain true to the objectives of our forebears in the Forum, and pass on the torch when the curtain is drawn on our tenure.We have come to heal wounds inflicted by our past and rebuild the bonds of brotherhood that bound us before now, we have come to build one big happy family which we will all be proud of. Together we will do it, and together we will win.
We have a lot on our plate and we have the resolve to deliver. In this meeting we shall inaugurate standing and ad ho committees to serve as the fulcrum of our service delivery to the forum. We shall be constituting the women’s forum, the young lawyers forum, committee, Eastern Bar Forum Land Committee.
By our training as advocates, and our calling as those that bear the bruises of others, this meeting and indeed this address will be incomplete without the mention of the state of our nation.
Our economy has been in a parlous state for a while now and has taken a severe beating from successive rounds of policy failures, While hoping that the new government will fare better, we hasten recommend a policy of plucking low hanging fruits which will create positive ripple effects on the economy, I have in mind the massive rejuvenation of our road infrastructure across the country, and restoration of power infrastructure. These will unleash a positive multiplier effect on the economy.
The security situation around the country is well known to all.
Recently a bus conveying youth corpers from my state was ambushed in Lokoja and young Nigerians responding to the national call were kidnaped. This happened even as corpers also from my State kidnapped in Zamfara State are still captivity.
I call on the Government to deal with this ugly menace and return sanity to our roads and cities.
I call on the state of the South East to do all within their power to fully utilize the man power available to the states to the optimum. We have lost too many productive days and it is time we returned to work,
Now more than ever, we must stand up and speak, we must say it as it is, we must shine the light that our people will find the way.
As long as any part of our country remains vulnerable to vulnerable to violence the rest of us affected and cannot enjoy our peace. Permit me to leave you with the words of a titan and a great son of Anambra State, Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria, ‘Peace is indivisible, one half of the word cannot enjoy peace while the other half live in the throes of war.
Thank you, and may God bless the states of the Eastern bar Forum.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
©️ANIEKAN AKPAN, ESO.
Eastern Bar Forum