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Nigerian Bar Association | Orowhuo W. A. Okocha, Esq: Unity In Diversity

Nigerian Bar Association | Orowhuo W. A. Okocha, Esq: Unity In Diversity 

In every unit, there are divergent parts. In every group of persons, animals and living things, there are idiosyncrasies and unique attributes that separate and distinguish each individual member from the group. In a herd of Zebras, no two Zebras have identical stripe patterns. No two human beings have the same fingerprints, and no two fingers on the same hand perform the same function.

Moving on to a higher plane of existence, no two human beings are exactly the same. In the same family, you might find one child who is naturally athletic, another child more intelligent and academically gifted than the others.

There is a commonly known adage that if you judge a fish by its ability to fly, then you would have been unfair to that fish. Even in our profession, some lawyers are more at home in court than they are sitting at their desks and preparing and/or vetting a contract.

The first step to maximizing diversity is in identifying the strengths, and weaknesses, of every individual unit of every group, before channeling the respective individual strengths to generate a synergy. In my experience, identifying individual strengths also helps to kill unhealthy competition and rivalry. In my family, for example, amongst my siblings and I, to speak pidgin momentarily, we know the person wey strong pass and the person wey sabi book pass, and even if we still banter from time to time, there’s no need competing against each other. In essence, we realise each other’s capacity and capabilities, and this has helped us give our best to the success of our collective unit, the family, rather than wasting time competing for individual honours.

In my professional life, my community is the Nigerian Bar Association, and my nuclear family is the NBA Port Harcourt Branch. I don’t believe in needless competition and infighting. I believe in identifying individual strengths, with competence, capacity, capability and credibility as the watchwords, and harnessing this to maximise our synergy.

As a disclaimer, the following examples are not directed at anyone specifically, but are merely illustrative: As a Branch, for example, would it be in our best interests to appoint a person who can barely type a letter on his computer to head the ICT Committee? Would it be in our best interests to appoint a person who cannot distinguish between okro and egusi soup, or who does not know the different courses involved in a 3-course meal to serve on the Dinner Committee?

In throwing my hat into the ring seeking election to serve as Secretary of our great Branch, I am offering my capacity and capabilities to this great Branch, and asking you all to believe in my competence and credibility. In addition to my thorough understanding of the duties of a Branch Secretary as required by the Bye Laws, I conducted extensive legal research using ICT tools, and acquired a knack to be responsive by identifying a problem and coming up with practical solutions thereto. For example, I have observed the challenges that arise from compiling a list of eligible voters and assessing qualified candidates and sponsors. I have hypothesized that the solution lies in collecting and maintaining additional information in the Members’ Directory, and to do this as the norm, rather than as a precursor to Elections. I also consider myself to be rather adept at recognising individual strengths and qualities that set individuals apart from others.

My interest is in the success of our family, the Branch, and not in any personal aggrandizement. I, however, know what strengths and qualities that set me apart, and can be utilized and harnessed to push our Branch Secretariat to the heights that we desire. All I ask is that you believe in me and give me your mandate to serve for the next two years.

With your vote, this is possible.


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