My name is John Obaika Aikpokpo-Martins. I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1990. I was verified with the Supreme Court Enrolment No. 043022.

I am from Edo State which is within the western zone of the Association as defined vide section 9(3) of the constitution and paragraph 22(e) (111) to the 2nd schedule to the constitution. I practice law in Warri, Delta State full time as the Principal Partner of Aikpokpo, Okeregha & Co.

I was the Chairman, Warri Branch, 2014 – 2016; Vice Chairman, Warri Branch, 2010 – 2012; and the present NEC Rep of the Branch; I was a member of the NBA Election Working Committee, 2012 – 2014 and a delegate to the NBA trade mission to South Africa, 2016. I am a very committed member of the Midwest Bar Forum. I have chaired several committees of my Branch and the Midwest Bar Forum. I was overwhelmingly endorsed to run for the office of the 2nd Vice President of the Association on the 30th of June, 2018 in Asaba, Delta State by the Midwest Bar Forum vide a very transparent and democratic process where members of the General Assembly of the Midwest Bar Forum voted to endorse me as their preferred candidate for the office having regard to my past contributions to the Association.

I am a member of the Delta State Justice Sector Reform Team. I have delivered papers at several NBA events including the 2015 conference in Abuja.

I am a very passionate committed and dedicated bar man. As the Chairman of my Branch, 2014 – 2016, my administration positively and innovatively impacted on the Branch in no small measure. Below are some of the innovations that came to be under my watch:

1. We revised and improve the welfare package to members.

2. We revitalized and encouraged the Young Lawyers Forum, sponsored them to several NBA functions, opened a bank account for them and paid close to N500,000 into it for their operations.

3. I built a multi-million naira BAR CENTRE at Effurun-Warri High Court, premises. The foundation stone of that project was laid on the 19th of June, 2015. It was opened on the 10th of June, 2016, and I vacated office on the 12th June, 2016. This was achieved without levying members, and less that 20% of the cost was from the branch’s account.

4. Most importantly I drafted and sponsored a bill to the Delta State House of
Assembly to make it possible and easy for lawyers to collect the statutory fees chargeable for the preparation of deeds of title to lands in the Delta State, which said bill was passed into law, and was awaiting assent of the Governor of Delta State before we vacated office.

5. The bill will make it legally and statutorily mandatory for clients to pay their
lawyers the statutory professional fees for the preparation of land instruments. This will positively impact on the earnings and welfare of lawyers in Delta State and possibly in the whole country in no distant time.

6. I created and encouraged the female lawyers’ and law officers’ fora and activism in the Branch.

7. I ensured that young lawyers, female lawyers and law officers always had
representations in any committee of the branch for inclusiveness.

I am also the current chairman of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Delta State Chapter.

I am a football lover and participated in the football competitions for branches at the annual NBA conferences from 2005 to 2016.

I am seeking to occupy the office of the 2nd Vice President of the Association to add value and drive ideas that will solve some of the challenges that the Bar is currently facing. It is a truism that the first and most important duty of the Association is to cater for the welfare and well-being of her members. We must also agree that there is great disenchantment by a vast majority of our members with the National body over many issues. Our main challenges seem to be the apparent non motivational welfare benefits from the Association, and lack of vibrancy in our responsibilities to the Association and the society. In that vein therefore, I shall propose the following to NEC and the Association when elected the 2nd Vice President:

I have strongly advocated and will continue to do so that the remittances to branches from the practicing fees paid should not be less than 40%. The Association must ensure that the remittances are increased, and they must be used exclusively for the welfare of members only. The branches are the closest organs of the Association to the membership; we must therefore seek to make the branches more responsive to the need of members more than anything else. The national body is not made up of members, but of branches. It is only the branches that are made up of members; without the members, there will not be the Association, therefore, the welfare of members must agitate the leadership of the Association more than any other duty at all times.

I shall move that the law officers in government employment be supported by the Association for improved condition of services. Their right to strike must be recognized by the Association and supported. The Law Officers Association of Nigeria should be given certain dedicated and automatic number of members of NEC, to enable them articulate their challenges before the Association at all times.

I will particularly move that one of the Vice Presidents of the Association should be given the responsibility of overseeing the young Lawyers Forum and the issues of the brutalization of young lawyers by security men, particularly by the police. The national body cannot longer keep aloof and situate such issues as local issues for branches to handle. The brutalization of a lawyer anywhere in Nigeria, is an assault on the dignity of all lawyers in Nigeria. It is high time it is confronted head on, in that vein therefore, I will move the Association to create a well funded office in the National Secretariat to be under the supervision of the 2nd Vice President with the core mandate of handling all issues of police brutalization of lawyers anywhere in Nigeria, and ensure they obtain the dismissal of such officers.

I shall propose that the Association adapt my bill for the remuneration of lawyers for the preparation of land instruments in Delta State and make it operational nationwide and as provided for in the Legal Practitioners Act. The effect of this will be that there will not be a lawyer who cannot buy a car within 5 years post call, or build a house within 10 years post call.

As the campaign progresses, i shall be unveiling more of what i intend to bring to the table. Suffice it to say that as a Vice President, my main duty is to act as an adviser to the president and support his programs in the overall interest of the Association. I pledge to do that dutifully, and can indeed work with any of the presidential candidates to move the Association forward, if elected.

My dear colleagues, please vote for me for vibrancy and progressive leadership.


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