The Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) has explained why controversial singer Portable performed at its 2023 Annual General Conference on Thursday.
DIPLOMATIC DIARY reports that Portable performed as a guest artiste at NBA’s ‘Unbarred’ concert.
After the video of his performance went viral, social media critics blasted the NBA for inviting Portable to perform in a show that consisted of “learned” individuals, saying it was an embarrassment to the law profession known for conservatism.
Many also accused the association of paying the controversial musician to perform.
But in an interview with The PUNCH on Friday, the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, Akorede Lawal, said Portable’s presence at the event was made possible by Obi Cubana’s partnership with the programme as the headline sponsor.
He said Cubana Group brought Portable because he was one of his brand ambassadors (Odogwu bitters) and because being the headline sponsor came with bringing a guest artiste to perform at the concert that usually has lawyers irrespective of their status to close the conference.
“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”, said Lawal.
Speaking on whether lawyers staged a walkout on Portable at the event as speculated, Lawal 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.
“So, the concert was meant to take place there but we later told the lawyers to move to the ‘Unbarred concert’ at the Velodrome of the National Stadium in Abuja because we don’t want two events at the same time given that that place (Friendship Centre) had been decorated already to promote their brands.
“They were the headline sponsor of the centre and that’s where the DJs and every other social activities had been going on since the start of the event. So we closed the place down to have a unified event.”