The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has confirmed that businessman Obi Iyiegbu aka Obi Cubana invited Portable to perform at its 2023 Annual General Conference.
Portable’s performance as guest artiste at NBA’s ‘Unbarred’ concert has generated a lot of controversy.
A video of the musician climbing an equipment while performing also fuelled backlash from lawyers who said they felt disrespected on the choice of Portable as guest artiste.
In an interview with The PUNCH on Friday, NBA spokesman Akorede Lawal confirmed a report by QEDNG that 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.
Lawal said: “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.”
Speaking on whether lawyers staged a walkout on Portable at the event as speculated, he 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.”