The Nigerian Bar Association has called for the immediate resignation of the Chairman of the Body of Benchers (BoB), Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN after an email from a partner in his chamber accused him of manipulating judges to obtain favorable judgments in cases handled by his firm.
NBA president, Y. C. Maikyau, SAN, called on Olanipekun to salvage the situation and immediately tender his resignation and allow his vice, Mary Odili, SAN, presides over the activities of the BoB, stating that this would save the image, reputation, and integrity of the BoB and the entire legal profession.
Adekunbi Ogunde, a leading partner at Olanipekun’s chamber had insinuated in the email to a prospective client that his principal had influence over all judges in courts across the country to deliver favorable judgments for his clients.
The content of the email was released by the NBA in a petition it released on December 4, 2022, and it condemned the email, saying that it projected the legal profession in Nigeria as one that is susceptible to manipulation.
In the petition, the NBA said: “There is no gain-saying that this email has brutally hurt the legal profession; it made a caricature of the Nigerian Court system and brought the entire legal profession to abject disrepute. It is disgusting! That this lie was told and allowed to be fed to Nigerians is the greatest assault on our collective psyche.
“Why then do we go to court if this was true? Of course, this is not who we are, but we would appear to celebrate the content of the email by our silence and the insistence by the Chairman to continue to preside over the affairs of this Body without any remorse whatsoever over the embarrassment which the entire legal profession is subjected to on account of the content of that email.
The NBA president urged Olanipekun to step aside from the leadership of the BoB to save the integrity of the legal profession.
The BoB oversees the call of graduates of law school to the Nigerian Bar, as well as the regulation of the legal profession in Nigeria