By Sunday Isuwa
The Nigerian Lawyers made up of 125 branches, three professional sections, two specialized institutes and six practice-cadre forums had on Saturday, 16 July, 2022 elected Yakubu Maikyau, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to be their 36th leader.
Maikyau emerged the leader of the learned profession at the Nigerian Bar Association presidential election.
According to the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), 59,392 lawyers – the highest ever – were accredited to vote in the election.
Maikyau polled a total of 22,342 ahead of Joe Gazama, SAN who polled 10,842 votes, and Jonathan Taidi, 1,373 votes.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which was established in 1933 has played a critical role in the growth and development of the country.
Many believed that the legal profession is a noble profession because it is established on honour and integrity.
Unlike some professions, the law profession is not a profession for people with dubious intentions. The learned profession helps Lawyers to engage in a very noble pursuit, as some will say, pursuit for justice.
Now that Maikyau, a learned silk, a humble and down to earth professional from Kebbi State has emerged to lead the Bar, himself and other officials will wait till the end of the Annual General Meeting of the association in August, when the tenure of their present National President, Mr Olumide Akpata’s administration will come to an end.
According to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the total number of legal practitioners increased from 120,006 in 2017 to 190,000 in 2019, representing an annual growth rate of 32 percent.
According to The Whistler, since the late Chief F.R.A Williams was first to be conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1975, the list of SANs has moved up to 693 as of 2021 and Yakubu Maikyau is one of them.
The law practice and its evolution in Nigeria can only be traced to Christopher Sapara Williams.
Nigeria lawyers will always thank Williams, born on 14 July 1855 to an Ijesha family in Sierra Leone who grew to studied Law in London at the Inner Temple, and was called to the English bar on 17 November 1879 and return to began practising law in Lagos Colony on 13 January 1888.
Williams met the 1862 Police Court set up in Lagos to deal with cases which had arisen as a result of the growing commercial transactions in the colony. That can also be said of Maikyau who also contributed in raising the bar of the legal profession in Sokoto, Kebbi and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The legal profession has its origins in ancient Greece and Rome. Although in Greece it was forbidden to take payment for pleading the cause of another, today, the profession is not only lucrative, it also helps in shaping the society and Maikyau is in the forefront.
Haven elected a competent leader, Maikyau, to head this noble profession, this has attracted interest even to people outside the profession.
A society without justice is doomed. Nigerian lawyers did not just pray for a leader because Akpata’s tenure is ending, they elected a competent person with a track record of pursuing justice.
Maikyau is not just the finest lawyer in Northern Nigeria, Nigeria and Africa, he is among the prominent and best lawyers in the world.
Yakubu Maikyau is not just prominent in the politics of the bar, he is a prominent Nigerian Politician.
Maikyau started from a humble beginning to stardom. He was born on February 6, 1965 in Kebbi state.
He obtained a bachelor of law (LLB) degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State in 1989, and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Maikyau was called to the Nigerian bar on December 12, 1990.
After completing the National Youth Service Corps programme in 1991, Maikyau senior went into private law practice and joined the law firm of Messrs Danladi Bamaiyi and Company in Sokoto, where he spent about 12 years and rose to become the head of chambers.
In 2003, he founded his law firm – Y. C. Maikyau & Co. – with offices in the FCT, Sokoto and Kebbi states.
Maikyau was appointed Notary Public in 2002 by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and was conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on 26th August 2011. In June, 2014 he obtained a Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, United Kingdom.
He was admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, (CIArb.) in September, 2014. On the 30th of November, 2021, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) Nigeria.
As an advocate, Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau has handled several notable cases that have had an impact on the Nigerian legal landscape. One of such cases was Re: Abdullahi, (2018) 14 NWLR (Part 1639) 272, where Mr. Maikyau convinced the Supreme Court of Nigeria to make a novel decision, allowing the substitution of a deceased defendant in a criminal case with the administrators of his estate for the purpose of preserving the civil rights of the estate.
Mr. Y. C. Maikyau also captured national consciousness as counsel in the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission of Nigeria – The Oputa Panel – set up by President Olusegun Obasanjo, following the return of Nigeria to Democracy in 1999.
Beyond litigation, he has advised on some project finance and facility disbursement and has served on arbitral tribunals as sole arbitrator, co-arbitrator, presiding arbitrator, and counsel.
He was appointed by the Federal Government of Nigeria to serve as a member of the Panel of Conciliators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) from July 2016 until July 2022.
He is a member of the Governing Council of Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero, Kebbi State; a member of the Court of Appeal Rules Committee, and served as the Chairman of the 2020 Conference Planning Committee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).
Mr. Maikyau is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the International Bar Association (IBA). As a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, he has served the Bar in many capacities; he was a Member of the NBA Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee (LPRRC), which made far-reaching recommendations for the reform of the Profession culminating in the Legal Profession Regulation Bill.
He is the pioneer and current Chairman of the NBA Welfare Committee, the Chairman of the Committee of Law and Individual Rights of the Section on Legal Practice. He had served as a member of the Welfare Committee set up by Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, as NBA President to alleviate the hardship caused to NBA members, particularly young members following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Outside the field of law, Maikyau is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Centre, Nigeria, where he was awarded a Diploma in Ministerial Training, with an emphasis on Societal Leadership.
Maikyau is a community development and welfare enthusiast, who has been responsible for several free medical outreaches touching the lives of hundreds in his home state, Kebbi State.
He is the patron of Purpose Global Academy in D’lanko, Kebbi state, which school has become his pet project.
Y. C. Maikyau, SAN is happily married to Zainab Maikyau and they are blessed with four children. Many believed that the learned silk will take the Nigerian bar to an enviable height.