The Nigerian Bar Association has explained why singer, Habeeb Okikiola, popularly known as Portable, performed at the association’s 2023 Annual General Conference held on Thursday dismissing the rumour making the rounds that the artiste was paid to perform.
Late last night, netizens lashed out at the NBA for inviting Portable to perform at their show that consisted of “learned” individuals adding that the association had by that singular act not helped its reputation and reduced themselves to “razz”.
Others say the show was a joke and an embarrassment to the law profession known for conservatism.
But in his reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, Akorede Lawal, said the association was not responsible for the invitation of Portable, neither did they pay for his appearance at the event which took place at the Velodrome of the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja.
Lawal, who said NBA’s headline sponsor, Cubana Group was the one who brought Portable, however, expressed gratitude to them, saying “NBA didn’t pay a dime for the performance of Portable…we are appreciative.”
He added, “For the fact that they had made arrangements for Portable to come, we only wanted in the spirit of sportsmanship and brotherhood with our lead sponsor to allow him to perform and we are appreciative of that.”
His words: “The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference is the largest gathering of lawyers anywhere in the world, so the planning of such an event is not an easy one. You will have to partner with some people particularly because the NBA is not a profit-making organisation.
“So, because of the nature of work we do and the mental strain, we (lawyers) use the conference as an avenue to unwind. At every conference, we have a place we call the friendship centre where members can go to network, eat, and drink as the conference is going on.
“The friendship centre is like a market of entertainment that NBA does not manage. What the NBA does is partner with people or organization in the entertainment industry to handle the friendship centre.
“This year’s conference was managed by an entertainment industry who managed the friendship centre. What they did was to bring an artiste signed to them to perform on the last day of the conference which is the 30th of August.
“Coincidentally, the NBA on its own organised a closing party called ‘Unbarred.’ The Friendship Centre is within the conference venue while the unbarred event was meant to be held at the Velodrome of the National Stadium.
“We didn’t want a situation where there would be two social events going on simultaneously, one at friendship centre and one at the velodrome. So, there was an order that the fellowship centre be closed.
He further appreciated the Cubana Group for sponsoring the event.
The conference tagged “Getting it right” marked the 63rd and it started on Friday, August 25 to Wednesday, August 30, 2023, with several activities earmarked for the occasion.