The hearing of the NBA petition against Miss Adekunbi Ogunde of Olanipekun & Co., BB/LPDC/901/2022continues tomorrow at the LPDC, sitting in Abuja within Body Of Benchers Complex, Jabi.
Former General Secretary of NBA, Mrs. Joyce Oduah, is expected to testify on behalf of Miss Ogunde against the NBA tomorrow.
Mrs.Oduah, is appearing under “subpoena.” We are reliably informed she would be put to the sword with soul aim of discrediting the procedure followed by NBA at arriving at the complaint filed against Miss Ogunde and the firm of Chief Wale Olanipekun, SAN.
Mrs. Joyce Oduah, is being called to testify that the decision to petition to the LPDC was not a decision of the National Executive Committee of NBA but that of only the immediate past President and the immediate 1st Vice President.
It would be recalled that Miss Adekunbi Ogunde, a lawyer in the Chambers of Chief Wole Olanipekun(SAN), write to a foreign firm—Saipem, to take over a brief from the chamber of Chief Odein Ajumogobia, SAN. In the infamous letter, Miss Adekunbi insinuated that, her principal, being head of Body of Benchers, had all the Judges and heads of courts in his pocket and could swing judgement in favor of Saipem, if the services of Olanipekun & Co, were retained.
According to her: “Chief Olanipekun, SAN, OFR is currently the Chairman of the Body of Benchers which is the highest ruling body in the Nigerian legal profession, made up of Supreme Court judges, Presiding Justices of the Court of Appeal and Chief Judges of all State High Courts including the Rivers State High Court. In other words, Chief Olanipekun, SAN, OFR is the Head of the entire legal profession in Nigeria.”
She thereafter listed few famous cases including MTN tax dispute, Shell Petroleum, and the Equinox (former Statoil) dispute, where her principal had demonstrated such capacity in the past.
She ended up saying: “We are aware that another law firm is currently in the matter but you will agree that highly sensitive and political matter requires more influence.”
NBA said Ogunde’s letter puts legal profession into public ridicule.
The Nigerian Bar Association,NBA, acted on various media reports about the issue and filed a petition against the young lawyer before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.
Specifically, in the petition marked BB/LPDC/901/2022, NBA called on the LPDC to “on behalf of the Applicant that Adekunbi Ogunde of Wole Olanipekun & Co be required to answer to the allegations contained in the Statement/Affidavit.”
Mr Aikpokpo-Martins who signed the petition on behalf of the Incorporated Trustees of the NBA, which was dated July 19, 2022, said Ms Ogunde violated “the extant rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners (Rule 1 of the RPC) by soliciting for briefs and peddling the influence of the principal partner of her law firm, Chief Wole Olanipeku.” He said members of the legal profession, particularly members of the NBA “were very disturbed by this infamous letter alleged to have originated from arguably one of the most successful, biggest, respected and most distinguished law firms in Nigeria.”
NBA demands Olanipekun step down as BoB Chairman.
Three days after the petition was filed, the NBA wrote the Chairman of Body of Benchers, BOB, Chief Wole Olanipekun asking him to recuse himself from his position to pave the way for the investigation of a partner in his law firm, Ms. Adekunbi Ogunde.
NBA President, Olumide Akpata gave the advice in a letter addressed to Chief Olanipekun dated July 22, 2022, and titled: Re: Petition Against Ms. Adekunbi Ogunde By The Nigerian Bar Association For Alleged Misconduct.” Akpata stated that the LPDC, “a Standing Committee of the BoB whose processes come under the supervision of the Chairman” to consider whether the partners of the firm of Wole Olanipekun & Co. are not liable to be disciplined by this august body in view of the fact that the respondent, Ms Ogunde, has the ostensible authority to act as a partner and indeed acted for and on behalf of the said firm.
LPDC EXONERATES OLANIPEKUN
The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) has exonerated the chairperson of the Body of Benchers, Wole Olanipekun, from culpability in the allegation of professional misconduct levelled against a partner in his law firm by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The LPDC made this known in a letter dated 19 August and addressed to Wole Olanipekun & Co.
NBA GOES FOR ADEKUNBI.
But the NBA, in its 19 July petition, urged the LPDC, the disciplinary body established by law to deal with lawyers’ acts of misconduct, “to immediately commence the disciplinary process and prosecute ADEKUNBI OGUNDE Esq. for the violation of the sacred provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly Rule 1 thereof.”In the petition signed by the 1st Vice President of the NBA, John Aikpokpo-Martins, the association also urged the LPDC to determine whether Mr Olanipekun and other partners of the firm “are not liable to be disciplined by this august body, seeing that the Respondent has the ostensible authority to act as a partner, and indeed acted for and on behalf of the said firm.”