Late last night, the NBA stirred controversy by featuring singer Habeeb Okikiola, popularly known as Portable, at their 2023 Annual General Conference, drawing sharp criticism from netizens.
This unexpected inclusion has raised questions about the association’s reputation and its commitment to professionalism.
Why Portable Performed
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) swiftly responded to the public outcry, explaining that Portable’s presence at the event was not a paid performance.
Instead, it was linked to entertainer Obi Cubana’s partnership with the conference as the headline sponsor.
Cubana Group, which is associated with Portable as a brand ambassador for Odogwu Bitters, was responsible for bringing the artist.
Lawal said, “We did not pay a dime to Portable for the concert. It is the largest gathering of lawyers anywhere in the world and so to that extent, we always write to sponsors to finance every level of our events.
“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.
The Impact on the NBA
A heated discussion has resulted from the decision to feature Portable at an event that typically attracts legal professionals.
Critics argue that the association’s choice has undermined its reputation and professionalism.
Some even view the entire conference as a joke and an embarrassment to the conservative legal profession.
Acknowledging the Sponsor:
Akorede Lawal, the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, expressed gratitude to the Cubana Group for sponsoring the event. He clarified that the ‘Unbar concert,’ a part of the conference, typically includes a guest artist performance as a courtesy to the headline sponsor. This practice has continued regardless of the lawyers’ status, serving as a unique way to conclude the conference.
The conference, titled “Getting it right,” marked its 63rd edition and ran from Friday, August 25 to Wednesday, August 30, 2023. It featured various activities throughout the duration.