Barring any last-minute surprises, a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Business Law Olumide Akpata is set to win the presidential race in the ongoing NBA national election.
Akpata as of 4:51 pm on Thursday had garnered 8748 votes (53.9 percent), placing him in pole position to become the first president of the NBA who is not a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
His challengers are Babatunde Ajibade and Oladele Adesina, both SANs.
As of press time, Mr. Ajibade is second with 3856 votes (23.8 percent) while Mr. Adesina follows him closely with 3615 votes (22.3 percent).
This will be the first time in over three decades that the President of the NBA will be emerging from the outer bar, and not among the rank of senior advocates.
Akpata, who has a skin condition known as Vitiligo, which some of his opponents had used to discredit his candidacy, is however an expert in corporate and commercial law.
Alao Aka-Bashorun, widely regarded as one of finest Presidents of the Bar who served between 1987 to 1989 during the repressive military regime of Ibrahim Babangida, was not a senior advocate.
Other lawyers had used his example as a campaign weapon to wrest the leadership of the Association from the privileged class of senior advocates
The NBA elections is being conducted online where accredited members voted electronically, amid controversy of lack of transparency by notable activist lawyers like Chidi Odinkalu who accused the electoral committee of managing a rigged process.
The election started at 11 pm on Wednesday and will end at 11 pm on Thursday.
Also, 16219 votes had been tallied with 40 abstentions from 16265 ballots for the presidential race.
Other positions being contested include 1st vice-president, 2nd vice-president, general secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, welfare secretary, financial secretary, publicity secretary and assistant publicity secretary.