It is a truism that the race to elect qualified candidates to man the service oriented offices of the Nigerian Bar Association had long begun even before official lifting of the ban on campaigns in days, let alone the set-piece in July, 2020.
Today, there are so many thought-provoking questions lingering in the minds of many concerned lawyers, viz:
Who should we vote for?
Does she/he have the requisite capacity?
Can she/he effectively handle the challenges of the NBA Secretariat?
Is she/he humble, accommodating and accessible among other puzzles in the minds of countless concerned lawyers.
After an exhaustively careful analysis, below are the seven (7) major reasons the NBA SECRETARIAT needs JOYCE ODUAH, FICMC:
1) DIGITAL SECRETARIAT : Verily, history will not forget Mrs. Oduah in 2012-2014, while still serving as a National Treasurer of the NBA, she introduced the Branch Bar Code system which is a legacy she left for the NBA. Record has it that, the old model for payment of Bar Practising Fees was burdensome for the individuals, the Branches and the National Body.
Initially, when one pays the BPF in the Bank, the teller was usually presented to the Branches who in turn sent the tellers submitted to the National Secretariat, Abuja in bulk or batches. The National Body then had to sort the receipts and allocate 10% of the total sum to the Branches based on the number of tellers submitted by the Branches. The problem was that not all lawyers submitted their tellers to the Branches, and so the Branches could not claim the exact amount they were entitled to. This was cumbersome and ineffective for all stakeholders concerned.
Before taking up the position as National Treasurer, Joyce Oduah had noted this as a problem and began to think of a creative, strategic and innovative means of solving it. This was implemented whilst in office. Now, with the software for NBA Barcode and customized teller, members can pay their Bar Practising Fees from anywhere in the world.
2) QUALITY AND CAPACITY : She is quality & capacity personified. Record has it that in 1991, she was promoted from a regular Legal Officer to Legal Coordinator of General Oil Ltd, because of her undying love and commitment to service, little wonder she attended Board Meetings and proffering solutions to difficult issues confronting the Company.
There is no doubt why she was chosen on many occasions to be a Member/Head of Committees in NBA; to serve in one office or the other within the time range of 2000-2002 and 2007-2011, at Branch level in Lagos State; 2012 and 2014, at the National level.
3) TOUCHING LIVES OF PEOPLE (INCLUDING YOUNG LAWYERS):
“Show me a successful man, and I will show you lives touched”…….M. M. JIMMY.
Rhetorically, I would ask: what then is success if one cannot touch the life of another?
In her continuous passion for the development of Young Lawyers, she sponsored, at least, five Young Lawyers to participate in the SPIDEL Conference. She has also sponsored Young Lawyers to attend NBA Conferences and Seminars.
Thus, we have seen over the years, a woman who has spent her life positively imparting the lives of the downtrodden in the society. She established Foundation of Life, a Non-Governmental, Non-Profit and Charity Organization aimed at providing for the needs of indigent women, children and youths in the society.
Thanks to God, this Foundation celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2018.
4) A LADY WITH BRAIN : Indeed, man’s quest for knowledge is unending, and Mrs. Oduah has never found herself wanting in knowledge acquisition. After her call to Bar, she still went on to pursue and completed her Master of Law Degree Program in the University of Lagos in 1997. In order to continuously garner more knowledge, she has attended State, National and International Conferences from 1992, 2000—2019.
She has won so many academic awards, partook in several Professional courses, and trainings within and outside Nigeria. The most recent participation was in 2019, when she partook in Fellowship Programme of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators. She is a member of the ICMC African Mediation Conference Planning Committee, 2020. She is a fellow of the Institute.
5) NATIONAL AND STATE APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS : It is never shocking, because history has already beckoned on her with the right-hand and adjudged her as a woman of capacity and quality. Hence, her appointments as Board Member of Gurara Water Management Authority 2009; Law Reform and Administration of Justice Reform Committee, Akwa Ibom State 2007—2009; Lagos State Blueprint Committee on the Administration of Justice 2017, etc., were not by chance, but recognition of her immeasurable capacity and quality.
Very few of her numerous awards include: National Association of Students of English & Literary Studies (NASELS), Grammar School (Board of Governors) Award,2017; Award of Selfless Service by the NBA 2014, Section on Public Interest and Development Law(SPIDEL) 2019; etc.
6) NO FEMALE GENERAL SECRETARY OF NBA SINCE 1980s
“… he who refuses to recall history is bound to repeat the mistakes of history” by…..George Santayana.
With NBA and Nigeria poised to give women their voice back in the Economic, Social, Cultural and Political spheres, I have a settled mind that, with the immense capacity and quality of Mrs. Joyce Oduah, she is fit to take the NBA Secretariat to greater heights; hence, the jinx and negative history of 1980s will be broken.
Mrs. Oduah is happily married to her heartthrob, Mr. Okechukwu Oduah, who was her classmate in Law School in 1991 and the marriage is blessed with four (4) lovely Children (two females and two males), one out of the two females is a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Such a divine arrangement.
7) UNMONETIZED INTEGRITY, CONSCIENCE AND HIGHLY DETRIBALIZED WOMAN .
“… a man that sells, liens, charges, mortgages or pledges his/her integrity, has lost the essence of life” by… M M Jimmy.
Mrs. Oduah has proven herself to be an epitome of unfettered, transparent and inimitable integrity even in the midst of monetization of conscience, which has eaten deep like a cankerworm, into the fabrics of society. This gesture has truly endeared her to many; hence this is what we need in NBA and Nigeria at large.
Apparently, Mrs. Oduah possesses many immutable and limitless qualities besides the aforementioned ones.
Election will come and go, but integrity, quality, capacity, etc., live on!
May these extraordinary and ageless society defining fundamental characteristics never get extinct in our profession.
Mrs.Joyce Oduah is a woman with capacity and quality!
Our NBA SECRETARIAT is safe with her!
Long live NBA!
Long live Nigeria!
By: AMA UKPEH, ESQ .