LAWYERS4CHANGE

Saturday, April 7, 2012

“ONLY A SEASONED BAR MAN CAN LEAD THE IKEJA BAR WELL”

On Saturday the Squib held an interview with Yinka Farounbi esq., the 1st Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja branch. Farounbi is a candidate for the post of chairman in the forthcoming elections of the branch which will take place on the 7th May 2012.

He spoke about his aspiration and the Ikeja Bar among other things. Please read on.

QUESTION: PLEASE CAN WE KNOW YINKA FAROUNBI BETTER?
ANSWER: My name is Olayinka Oyeniyi Farounbi. I am from Ora-Igbomina Osun State. After my secondary school education, I worked for about five years as a factory operator with Poly Ventures Nig. Ltd. Lagos from where I gained admission to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife to read law. I graduated in 1992 and was called to the Bar in 1993. I did my National Youth Service with Fola Ajijola & Co at 5, Adesina Street, Ikeja, Lagos. I thereafter joined the chambers of Olubunmi Oyewole & Co (now Hon. Justice Olubunmi Oyewole) from 1995 to 1999 before I became the Principal Partner of Messrs. Yinka Oyeniyi Farounbi & Co of 114, Ikorodu Road, Fadeyi, Lagos. I am the legal secretary to Osun North East of the Anglican Diocese. Ever since I was called, I have been in active private legal practice and I have handled cases in all our courts.

I am married to Biodun Farounbi, a caterer of exceptional quality. To the glory of God we have children of both sexes. I am the incumbent 1st Vice Chairman of NBA Ikeja Branch. Before this, I was the Auditor of the branch between 2000/2002. Again I was the Assistant General Secretary between 2002/2004 and between 2006/2008 I was the Financial Secretary of the branch. I joined and was actively involved in the activities of the branch since 1998; that was about five years after my call to the Bar. Ever since then I have been attending the national NBA meetings and the NEC (National Executive Committee) meetings also.

QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND BY THE TERM “BAR MAN” AND HOW FAR APPLICABLE IS IT TO YOU?
ANSWER: Someone that is not just a legal practitioner and merely a financial member of the N.B.A. he is someone who participates in what can be termed the day to day affairs of the organization. He is someone who cannot be regarded as a stranger to the affairs of the organization. As I said earlier, I have been participating fully in the affairs of the NBA Ikeja since 1998 though prior to 1998 I have been attending most of the meetings of the branch but I became very actively involved in 1998. Since 1998 till date the number of meetings of our branch that I did not attend can be counted on the fingers of one hand ditto the conferences and NEC meetings. It is only a “Bar Man” to the core who is dedicated to the affairs of the organization that can go through the things myself and my colleagues go through in the service of the NBA. For the sake of the Bar we have had cause to leave our homes for days on end in the service of the Bar.

QUESTION: IN YOUR VIEW, HOW RELEVANT IS THE BAR TO THE ISSUE OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT?
ANSWER: The Bar is very relevant indeed to the development of the nation. By our training, lawyers are natural leaders  are operators of the political system of democracy that we practice.

You will note that a third of government, that is, the judiciary, is exclusively manned and maintained by members of the Bar, legal practitioners. Even in the executive arm of government, the very important post of Attorney General and Minister of Justice is exclusively reserved for legal practitioners.

In short in a society of laws, the Bar must be very relevant. We are the enlightened ones and we are the wise men of our community. And you will also note that there is very high ethical content in our legal training and if we would not encourage mismanagement, corruption and other vices in our leaders and society, our country will be much better for it.

QUESTION: PLEASE ASSESS THE IKEJA BAR IN THE COMMUNITY OF OTHER BRANCHES?

ANSWER: This question is a little difficult for me to answer not because I do not know what to say but because my answer could be regarded as self serving. However which all due respect, Ikeja is first among equals among the 96 branches of the NBA. Ikeja stands like a colossus. Locally, nationally and internationally, Ikeja is known for its objectivity, activism, courage and welfarism. But for the Ikeja Bar, there would not have been NBA today. In 1992, in the aftermath of the disrupted Port Harcourt conference, the NBA went into limbo and it was the Ikeja Bar that provided the leadership for the restoration of the Bar. It is on record that Ikeja again provided leadership and even the muscle at the 2011 Annual Conference to frustrate the plans of the current national leadership of the NBA to impose unpopular policies like the creation of State Bar on Nigerian lawyers.

Our Bar is one of the biggest branches and we are not big for nothing. We take care of our members during conferences and NEC meetings and we have successfully built an attractive and imposing secretariat, which even now not fully developed is already the envy of others.

Our voice in and outside the legal profession is highly respected and in fact to so many members of the public the only NBA they know and care for is NBA Ikeja Branch.
QUESTION: YOU ARE ASPIRING TO BECOME THE NEXT CHAIRMAN, WHY?

ANSWER: Thank you very much for this question. Candidly NBA Ikeja Branch at this period of time needs a dedicated and experienced “Bar Man” to lead it and I have got the qualification. I have worked successfully with no less than four administrations an during this period I have not only understudied them I have equally cut my teeth as an administrator within these periods. The NBA assignment is not one to be taken up over night otherwise no success will ever be recorded, it is not at five minutes to twelve midnight that you can adjust to the demands of that office if you are not hitherto used to the system as a “Bar Man” it will be impossible to make any meaningful impact in that office, you will just be “A stranger in the Bar.” It has happened before at the national level and we all paid dearly for it. No matter what detractors  may say, our Branch, the Ikeja Bar is already a success story.

The reality of this success story is evident to all except those who out of malice, ignorance or mischief choose to close their eyes to it.
Internally and externally, for reasons I have enumerated earlier in this interview, the Ikeja Bar is a force to be reckoned with in the NBA and in the country. I wish to say with due modesty, that I am one of the architects of the success story of the Ikeja Bar. I have the requisite standing, experience and knowledge not only to maintain and sustain the present standards but to excel them.

I am not a newcomer to the affairs of our dear Branch. I am not going to be an experimenter or somebody learning on the job, using “try and miss” tactics. Remember I have been part and parcel of four different administrations in the past ten years and I have understudied all of them, in fact it will be a waste of my years of tutelage if someone like me chooses not to offer myself to the extremely tasking service of Chairman of the Ikeja Bar.

It is now that Ikeja Bar is admired all over the world that some people want to join the train, thinking only of the glamour of the office of Chairman. I have been tested and tried. This is the time to serve the Ikeja Bar at its highest level.
QUESTION: WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING THE ELECTION?

ANSWER: My chances are very bright. Our colleagues know their true leaders, they know those who have been  serving them with dedication, industry, integrity an intelligence. They have accepted our candidacy and bought into our programme.
We don’t need to tell them lies or exaggerate on our strengths and capacities. I am very sure of the wide acceptability of the Omole Regime in which in which I now serve as the immediate Deputy and I am sure that the electorate will not ignore or disregard our record of service. By the grace of God on May 7th 2012, we shall be elected into office as Chairman to continue the good work. Remember, nobody changes a winning team.         

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