The Nigerian Bar Association has debunked the idea that the performer was paid to appear at the association’s 2023 Annual General Conference on Thursday by explaining why musician Habeeb Okikiola, also known as Portable, sang at the event.
Late last night, online users criticised the NBA for bringing Portable to their event, which featured “learned” people, saying that by doing so, the organisation damaged its standing and lowered itself to “razz.”
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Others claim that the programme was a joke and a disgrace to the traditionally conservative legal community.
However, in his response, NBA National Publicity Secretary Akorede Lawal connected Portable’s attendance at the event to entertainer Obi Cubana’s participation with the programme as the main sponsor in an exclusive interview with Punch on Friday.
He added that the latter’s Cubana Group invited Portable because he served as a brand ambassador for one of their products (Odogwu bitters) and because being the headline sponsor required inviting a guest performer to the “Unbar concert,” which typically features lawyers of all ranks to close conferences.
“We paid nothing to Portable for the event, according to Lawal.
“Due to the fact that it is the greatest gathering of attorneys anywhere in the world, we always write to sponsors to fund all aspects of our activities,” he continued.
“We have partners from America, Chile, and a host of other countries who pride in what we do and take it upon themselves to get the programme financed annually.”
Speaking on whether lawyers staged a walkout on Portable at the event, the publicity secretary said, “No, they did not. The Friendship Centre is the customary place where all lawyers go to unwind, network and do all other social activities.
“The concert was originally scheduled for that location, but we later instructed the lawyers to relocate to the “Unbarred concert” at the Velodrome of the National Stadium in Abuja because we didn’t want two events to take place simultaneously there because the Friendship Centre had already been decorated to advertise their brands.
“As the center’s main sponsor, they provided the DJs and all other social activities that took place there throughout the entire event. To hold a cohesive event, we thus shut down the location,” he continued.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Cubana Group for supporting the event.
The “Getting it right” conference, which took place from Friday, August 25 to Wednesday, August 30, 2023, was the 63rd one. It featured a number of special events.
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