By Julius Peter, Abuja:
Barrister Hauwa Evelyn Shekarau has been elected Chairperson of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja Branch.
Ms. Shekarau is the first ever elected female Chairperson of the Abuja NBA in its over 36 years of existence.
She was immediately sworn-in along with other elected executives of the unity bar after a peaceful election on Thursday.
The Kaduna State born lawyer, had two weeks ago, emerged unopposed, following the withdrawal of her opponent, Barrister Moses A. Ebute.
“I therefore in furtherance of these consultations and other considerations, topmost of which is interest of our Unity Bar, hereby respectfully withdraw from the race for the 2020 elections into office of Chairman of the Unity Bar. In doing so, I pledge my support for our sister, Ms Hauwa Shekarau and urge all our colleagues to see this as sacrifice to keep us together as one strong united branch,” Barrister Ebute.
Delivering her acceptance speech, the new NBA Chair, assured members of the Bar of her commitment to ensure total unity of the Association.
He said: “I want to specially thank the entire members of The Unity Bar for the confidence reposed in us by voting us as the Executives to lead and manage affairs of The Unity Bar from June 11th 2020 to June 11 2022.
“We shall work and be guided by the oath of office we have Just taken; which is to uphold the NBA Constitution, The rule of law and the overall interest of the Bar.
“We shall carry everyone along as we work to restore the glory of the Bar.
“I must also appreciate the outgone executives, led by Abimbola Kayode for the great job they did in keeping the unity Bar going inspite of the challenges. We will continue from where they stopped and will rely on their unflinching support.
“I also want to thank the Elders of the Bar particularly the Senior Advocates of Nigeria, past Chairmen and Secretaries and other distinguished elders of the Unity for their unwavering always.
“I also want to thank the Electoral Committee ably led by Steve Emelieze for a very smooth, wonderful and transparent electoral process worthy of emulation by any group. They have etched their names in gold.
“On behalf of my executives, we promise to work together in one accord to ensure we deliver on our promises to the Bar. We shall not let you down.”
Others elected with Ms Shekarau includes:
Vice-Chairman: Chioma Onyenucheya-Uko Secretary: Adebiyi Adetosoye, Assistant Secretary: Chinelo Audrey Ofoegunam, Treasurer: Adedeji Emmanuel Adewale, Welfare Secretary: Ngozi Agubalu, Publicity Secretary: Ikemefuna Onyeka, Legal Adviser: Jude Okey Ugwuanyi.
WHO IS HAUWA SHEKARAU?
Hauwa is a distinguished Chevening Alumnus, a gender advocate, human rights activist, a professional Mediator and Conciliator and a lawyer with over twenty- five years’ post-call experience in women and child rights policy and advocacy, conflict resolution, social research, sexual and reproductive health and rights. She obtained her first law degree training from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Nigeria in 1991 and had her Law School professional training at the Nigeria Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos. She was thereafter called to the Nigerian bar on 16th December 1992. In 2006, she won the British Government Chevening Scholarship and proceeded to London where she trained and obtained a post-graduate law degree in Law and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London in 2007.
She is a registered member of the International Bar Association, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, Association of Women in Development (AWID), Nigerian Bar Association and a Life member of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).
Hauwa was National President of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Nigeria) between 2012 and 2015, where she was responsible for providing leadership for the professional organisation which has State branches spread all over Nigeria. FIDA is a voluntary not-for-profit organization of women lawyers committed to the promotion, protection and preservation of women and children’s rights, through the provision of pro bono legal services. She served also as a nominated delegate to the Nigeria National Conference 2014 where she represented the Women Groups under the auspices of FIDA as part of the 500 Distinguished Nigerians who fashioned out recommendations that was expected to usher in a new Nigeria if implemented.
She has served as a board member of several NGOs including ActionAid International Nigeria and Nigeria Women Trust Fund. She currently serves on the Board of several other NGOs including the League for Human Rights, El-Shaddai Widows Outreach. She was a pioneer participant of the British Council-funded InterAction Leadership Programme in 2005 and the US State Department/Fortune 500 companies funded International Women Leaders’ Mentoring Programme in 2006 and is a Vital Voices Fellow.
Hauwa was the immediate past Country Director of Ipas Nigeria an International Non-Governmental Organization that works to promote women’s health as well as advance their reproductive health and rights where she led the Country Team since 1st December 2015 and resigned and left the position on the 29th of November 2019. She currently runs her law consulting firm, H. E. Shekarau & Co. which is based in Abuja. She also serves as the United Nations Representative of the International Federation of Women Lawyers a position she was elected to during the International Biennial Convention of the Organization that held in The Bahamas in November 2017.
Hauwa is a regular commentator and public affairs analyst in Nigeria. She is a recipient of several awards from different organisations and institutions. She is widely travelled.