By Fai Cassian Ndi,
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)
|Barrister Sama Francis Asanga: Incumbent Bar President|
North West lawyers have endorsed Barrister Sama Francis Atanga reelection bid for the upcoming elections into the Cameroon Bar. The endorsement exercise that took place at the Conference Hall of Dreamland Restaurant was attended by both the young and old generation of lawyers of the North West Region. Talking to journalists at the end of the meeting, Barrister Sama Francis disclosed that “we are partners in adversity and partners in law. We have agreed to go to Yaounde as one and we are seeing things from one direction”. Harping on his achievements at the helm of the Bar Council, Barrister Sama said that during his first mandate, “as I promised, I worked hard to restore dignity and honour in the Bar”. He continued that during his first term, the Bar also bought a plot for the construction of a secretariat. “We are working towards putting in place a befitting secretariat with over 100 rooms”, he added. According to Barrister Sama Francis, one of his successes is that he is lobbying government for the creation of a school of law in Cameroon where young legal minds will be trained as legal practitioners. He also emphasized that he succeeded in organizing Bar Exams for young advocates which had been dormant for seven years and that the number of pupil advocates who were admitted increased tremendously.
He also revealed that an elderly advocate has summoned a meeting of all lawyers practicing the Common Law in Bamenda next January 24, where they will iron out some of their differences. The Eye is aware that the meeting as stated will be aimed at reconciling Anglophone lawyers ahead of the Yaounde elective General Assembly given that a group of advocates based in the North West had earlier endorsed some candidates under the umbrella of “New Generation”. This, The Eye gathered would mean that Common Law lawyers would share votes. According to a hint former “battoniers” in the likes of Barrister Akere Muna, Ben Muna, Amazi, Ntumfor Nico Halle, others are expected to be present. It should be recalled that ahead of August 14, 2012 Bamenda elective General Assembly, Barrister Ntumfor Nico Halle carried out a similar exercise. At the end, Common Law lawyers emerged victorious with Sama Francis catapulted to the helm of the Bar.
What If Barrister Sama’s One Good Term Deserves Another?
Being a “battonier” in today’s global environment requires intellectual proficiency and leadership skills that recognizes miscellany, respects values and differences. Barrister Sama Francis Asanga to start with is incumbent President of the Bar and a successful lawyer based in Bamenda in the North West Region. Coupled with the fact that he is a man of humble background who has had a jump-start as a pragmatic lawyer, he wields and enjoys a lot of support from both the old and the young generation of lawyers. A significant view psychoanalysis of his crushing victory into the Bar Council last August 14, 2012 is however indicative of his hidden potentials. If there is any area in Cameroon where leadership qualities can be assessed, it is how the Bar Council Association has evolved within a very short time and with Barrister Sama Francis as President. After his brilliant election to the helm of the Bar Council, Barrister Sama demonstrated that meaningful reforms could mean a lot in the evolution of group dynamics. That is why he has already established himself as the most productive Bar Council President. His colleagues universally hail his docket management and leadership skills.
Barrister Sama is on record to have demystified Bar exams which years ago was hitherto considered reserved only for a few. He used his advocacy skills not only to dismantle the barriers constructed round the admission of pupil advocates but has more importantly simplified the procedures. Indicators are rife at that within the past few years, Bar council results were released on record time. Yet, it is these qualities which incalculably complement his multifarious roles as a pragmatic leader and reformist. This is so because he is a bulk of talent, intelligent and a man who lives in every other person’s problem. Hard work and efficiency have continued to be the qualities that define his actions as President of the Bar. Whenever you meet him for the first time, you are taken by his mastery of issues. Take it as arrogance and you are right for this is positive superciliousness because he masters issues. Notwithstanding, he has the drive and dedication that defies any facile explanations. Born and brought up in a close knit family in the fear of the God. In later life Barrister Sama could not escape to be a workaholic or become a good leader par excellence reasons he gets public admiration for doing great things. From that standpoint, Barrister Sama portrays himself as a role model in the legal profession and a silent achiever. When he was elected as President of the Bar Council, analysts described him as “highly skilled and approachable and has good legal and people skills”, a “formidable advocate” they said.
Barrister Sama Francs took over office at a very crucial moment. It was when the Bar had ignited the primary symptoms of an eminent collapse. More specifically, he was confronted with significant challenges resulting from the poor previous years administrative culture stepped in patronage, incompetence and the lack of willpower that had chopped the association. Instead of wasting time complaining, Barrister Sama rolled up his sleeves and went to work putting order and confidence in place. Because he came into office with a track record of a longtime successful advocate, he had proven to be a stronger Batonnier than many. And he has been much more active and proactive than his immediate predecessor in that office. This is so because it is Barrister Sama who has finally returned the Bar council to a position of power. To throw away such seniority would be suicidal for the Bar Council as many have started scrambling for the post and creating small caucuses nationwide. However, many advocates must have realized that choosing not to cast a vote for Barrister Sama means effectively voting against his/herself. Just because someone thinks that he/she too can head the Bar doesn’t mean that he should be denied another term of office given that he is sharp, capable and ready to serve. “He has done a good job and granting him another term would be advantageous to the legal profession”, another lawyer remarks.
The Sure Bet
As January 31, 2015 draws nears, popular opinion holds that Barrister Sama Francis is a sure bet for the position of Bar Council President. No candidate has as inspiring record of achievements as he has. Like any other responsive leader, Barrister Sama started his mandate on a good footing. When he was elected, he immediately embarked on the Bar Council Secretariat construction project as well as intensified lobbying for the creation of a Law School to train young Cameroonians. With these projects in the offing, there is every reason for him to bounce back for continuity. Endued with a national reputation for his legal work, Barrister Sama is the lead advocate of the Sama Law firm that has been in legal practice since 1982. The Sama Law Chambers equally offer internship to University Students who wish to take law as a career. For this reason a Legal and Career Assistant is there to orientate students. The areas of operation by the Sama Law Firm include amongst others, International Trading, banking, Investment and Finance, Commercial Litigation, Arbitration, Alternate Disputes Resolution, General Public Notary, OHADA Legislation, Criminal Law, Corporate Law, Corporate Restructuring, International Joint Ventures, Project Finance, Real Estate Development, Product Liability Law and Media Law. Barrister Sama Francis Asanga has been involved in many of the most important cases and provides legal services in Cameroon and the rest of the world through an established professional network with other Law Firms worldwide and within the country. With next elections approaching, lawyers will be deciding who will run the Cameroon Bar. It is virtually important to put the right people in positions who will do the right job they are elected to do. One thing is clear: they all need to get along and respect each other. Yet the lone candidate that strikes most is Barrister Sama Francis Asanga.
Despite claims by a Bamenda based caucus that Barrister Sama’s candidature is a bad taste, majority of advocates have said that his candidature as incumbent was the best for the Bar Council. The same school of thought holds that he has shown that he is a good leader that is focused on the future of the Bar. “We are going to work very hard to support him to realise his second term bid, another lawyer told us at weekend. “We see a lot of hope in Barrister Sama’s attitude to work; he is very calm person, very difficult to provoke; that is the hallmark of leadership; even when eggs and tomatoes are being pelted on you, you remain focused along the line of your conviction to get to a logical end. Barrister Sama is that kind of leader” says another advocate. He is well known for his dedication to the well-being of the profession as well as his clients, his will to win, his legal knowledge, creativity and attention to detail makes him the most pragmatic for the top position of Bar Council President. Besides, Barrister Sama is that kind of person who finds solutions to difficult problems. He will take time to understand everything issue and will tailor his service around the needs. He would always take a fair and flexible approach. Where a case can be resolved through negotiations, so as not to incur costs, Barrister Sama Francis can be relied upon for his strong negotiation skills and for achieving good results. But where a fight is necessary, he is renowned for his authority performance in court.
Abraham Lincoln wrote the following notes in 1850 when preparing a speech to aspiring lawyers. He wrote that “there is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest…the impression is common, almost universal. Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief---resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer”. Lincoln appears to have practiced what he preached. Amazingly, he earned his nickname, “Honest Abe,” despite working in two professions commonly accused of ignoring the truth: law and politics. Even as a young man, Lincoln’s honest character was evident. Lincoln’s reputation for honesty followed him into politics. When Stephen Douglas heard he would be running against Lincoln for a seat in the US Senate, he acknowledged Lincoln as a formidable foe. “I shall have my hands full. He is the strong man of his party—full of wit, facts, dates—and the best stump speaker, with his droll ways and dry jokes, in the West. He is as honest as he is shrewd, and if I beat him my victory will be hardly won.” Lincoln’s reputation for absolute honesty gave him an edge as a leader. People might disagree with him, but they couldn’t question his integrity. His character was indisputable. In leadership, there’s an ever-present temptation to bend the truth, to enter moral gray zones, and to allow pragmatic concerns to overrule ethical considerations. Closer to Lincoln’s absolute reputation in Cameroon is Barrister Sama Francis. His leadership qualities are never and would never be doubted. Even with the increasing numbers of pretenders gunning for elections into the Bar, it is easy to decipher truth from falsehood. If you’ve ever led people, you must have come across followers who would rather act the part than do their part. Those people are pretenders, and while they can sometimes masquerade as players, there are ways to tell the two apart. It’s important to find all the pretenders within a grouping because otherwise, they will steal momentum and damage visions given that in many cases, they look the part, talk the part, and claims the part, but fall short of fulfilling the part. They would create caucuses at election and the next day, they all disappear like clouds.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)