With the onset of colonialism in Nigeria and the establishment of courts, the English system of adjudication set in with the English trained lawyers who were either barristers at law, solicitors or both in 1866, the first lawyer was enrolled in Nigeria. The first indigenous  lawyer, Christopher Sapara Williams, enrolled in 1888. Ever since the lawyers have always met as a group especially in Lagos the capital of Nigeria.  The met as Nigerian Bar Association and were headed by a leader called Chairman. They were:

  1. Christopher Sapara Williams (enrolled January 30, 1988)….(1900 – 1915)
  2. Sir kitoye Ajasa (enrolled on August 14, 1903 and was Chairman from 1915 – 1937
  3. Eric Olawole Moore (enrolled February 10, 1903) and held office from 1937 – 1944)
  4. E.J. Alex Taylor (enrolled September11, 1905) and held office from 1944 – 1950
  5. Sir Adeyemi Alakija (enrolled June 17, 1913) and was chairman from 1950 – 1952
  6. Alhaji Jubril Martins (enrolled 1952 to June 1959 when he died in his second tenure)

After the 1960 Annual General Conference, the leader of the Nigerian Bar Association was changed from “Chairman “ to President and Chief FRA Williams, O.C. SAN was elected president and the vice president went to his co-contestant, Chief GCM Onyiuke O.C.SAN.  At that time, there were no branches and members of Alhaji Jubril Martins executive included lawyers from far flung paths of Nigeria like Aba. 


  1. Chief F.R.A. Williams – (enrolled October 26, 1943) – 1960 – 1968
  2. In 1966, presidency went to Peter Thomas of Warri Bar and he held office from 1968 to 1969.
  3. After him was G.M. Boyo of same Warri Bar who held office from 1969 to 1970.
  4. Chief Richard Akinjide became Chairman from 1970 to 1973
  5. Then our own Chief Adebayo Ogunsanya, SAN who held office from 1973 to 1974
  6. Then it went back to Warri Bar with Dr.Mudiaga Odge who was President from 1974 to 1976
  7. After him, the presidency went to the East with Dr. Nwakanma Okoro of Enugu Bar and down the line till date.

It is likely that branches sprang after the 1960 conference and no branch could claim existence before then.