NBA Oron Former Chairman Felicitates Joyce Oduah On Her Birthday


Imagine a young law graduate leaving such a mark at an NBA conference that it sparks a lifelong dedication to the association. That is exactly how Joyce Oduah’s incredible 32-year journey began! Today, on her birthday, we celebrate not just a phenomenal leader but a relentless advocate for the Nigerian Bar Association and its members.
Joyce commenced her service to the Bar as a fresh law school graduate during her National Youth Service Corps. She was invited as a rapporteur to an NBA conference in Abeokuta, where she submitted an eloquent report and received a letter of commendation.
Her performance earned her an invitation to the NBA conference in Port Harcourt that same year. Joyce participation in these conferences solidified her resolve to ensure the unity and growth of the Association.
Joyce’s dedication to the Bar was not confined to words. She served the NBA Lagos Branch in various capacities, including 1st Assistant Secretary from 2000-2002 (Lagos Branch), Publicity Secretary from 2007-2009 (Lagos Branch), and Social Secretary from 2009-2011.
Joyce has always taken a solution-centric approach to issues. As Publicity Secretary, she tackled members’ apathy toward attending monthly meetings. Her solution? A focus on making members feel valued, loved and cared for. She painstakingly curated a comprehensive member register, transferred them to a phone and sent each member messages before meetings. Recognising that attendees often came directly from their work in court or office and may be hungry,
Joyce proposed incorporating feeding into the agenda. Additionally, the proposal included the idea of celebrating members’ birthdays for the month by cutting a cake.
The Executive Committee approved both proposals, and as a result, member engagement and attendance at the monthly meetings increased. Furthermore, the branch’s revenue was positively impacted.
This innovative approach has become standard practice across NBA branches, a testament to Joyce’s lasting impact.
THE BRANCH BAR CODE: A STROKE OF GENIUS. Joyce’s influence reached the national level as National Treasurer in 2012. During that time, she proved herself an innovative and strategic legacy builder by introducing the Bar Code Payment Model. The old model for payment of bar practising fees was burdensome for all stakeholders – individuals, the branches and the national body.
Joyce’s creative solution – the Branch Bar Code system – revolutionised the process. Now, lawyers can pay from anywhere, with the branch automatically identified and their dues allocated efficiently. This resulted in a dramatic revenue increase for branches. For example, Lagos, whose barcode is 058, used to receive about Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N400,000) as of 2012. After Joyce introduced the Barcode, the revenue increased to Six Million, Fifty-Six Thousand, Five Hundred Naira (N6,056,500) as of 2013. In 2019, Lagos received Thirteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N13,500,000).   

As the first female General Secretary in 38 years, Joyce wasn’t just breaking barriers; she was opening doors. Her agenda prioritised the rise of women and young lawyers in the profession.
She organised and participated in numerous programs to enhance their professional and leadership skills and advocated for their inclusion in key NBA committees and positions. Despite her busy schedule, she never rejected any request or invitation to speak to lawyers.
PROFESSIONALISING THE NBA SECRETARIAT FOR EFFECTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY. Joyce’s vision extended beyond immediate solutions. As General Secretary, she spearheaded and pushed assiduously for the digitisation and professionalisation of the NBA Secretariat. This included optimising the NBA website, establishing a USSD code and the NBA One-Stop app, and creating a dedicated toll-free call centre for member inquiries.
Under her watch, the NBA achieved faster response to members’ inquiries, staff training, swift production of the NBA stamp and seal, streamlined insurance and welfare claims, and seamless communication between the National body and branches.
A health insurance scheme for members was also established. Her ultimate goal was to make life and practice easier for Nigerian lawyers through a modern and efficient NBA Secretariat.    

Joyce’s track record of service is unmatched. She is an achiever who always delivers the best results, which is why she has been appointed to multiple NBA committees. Since 2008, she has been a NEC member. Her dedication to her work goes beyond the NBA, as she also served as a Board Member of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (2020 – 2022) and as a board member and Director of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (2020 – 2022). Her extensive involvement in various regional and international bar associations further demonstrates her unwavering dedication to the legal profession. Her service outside the Bar is just as extensive.
Joyce Oduah is a remarkable individual who has made outstanding contributions to the legal profession, society, and the world at large. A short celebratory message cannot fully capture all of Joyce Oduah’s undeniable achievements. However, it is her dedication, humility and candour that truly sets her apart. Joyce’s commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards and her tireless efforts to make a positive impact on the lives of others make her an inspiration to us all.
Happy Birthday, Joyce! May your remarkable journey continue to inspire and your legacy continue to shape the future of the Nigerian Bar Association!    
©️Tokunbo Eno Otoyo.,  LL. M(Int’l Maritime Law, Ife).
Former Chairman, NBA-Oron Branch (2020/2022 Tenure)
Principal Counsel, Tokunbo Otoyo & Co.

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