Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has expressed disdain at the alleged remarks made by Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN, against Olumide Akpata, the immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Akintola was said to have referred to Akpata as a boy during a programme in Oyo State.
In a statement personally signed by him and available to newsmen through his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, in Akure, Akeredolu, a past president of the NBA and a life bencher, said that Akpata cannot, under any circumstances, be referred to as a boy.
The governor admonished lawyers against making remarks that would splinter the association, adding that everyone in the legal profession should be united and focused.
“I have read several comments arising from the statement credited to my friend, brother, and colleague, Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN. I am acutely aware of the passion with which he pursues his conviction on any matter.
“I am sure that he will, at a reflective moment, agree with all colleagues and reasonable people that our immediate past president, though junior in age and length of membership of our great association, cannot be referred to as a boy biologically or otherwise.
“As the President of our Association, he was the number one lawyer in the country without regard to the camp to which he belonged during the Bar elections, his religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation.
“There are set rules for the executive leadership of the association. No elected member of the committee can act outside the scope permitted and envisioned.
“There are also established guidelines for redress in case of perceived infractions or infringement on the rights of persons or groups. The President of the Bar is primus inter pares,” he said.
Akeredolu also condemned the growing tendencies which predispose members of the NBA to act in a manner considered very strange to the established tradition anchored on diffidence, respect, and dignity.
He commended the immediate administration led by Olumide Akpata for a successful annual conference and reawakening in the Bar.