Bayo Akinlade Sets Agenda For Nigerian Bar Association

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Good morning dear colleagues, it is no news that there are lots of issues threatening our means of livelihood today and that we, the collective; known as the NBA has been handicapped by internal politics and individual selfish ambitions.

Nonetheless, we cannot blame the few who seem to wield power nor who hold office without being adequately equipped to handle the problems that face the profession on the contrary, the non responsive, non participatory member is, I fear the greatest threat, the one who leaves all the work for the few [NBA excos], while they go about earning a living in this not so perfect system but are quick to cry fowl when things go wrong.

As we all attend our respective NBA meetings this week, here are some issues we need to seriously trash out amongst ourselves if we are indeed serious about this association in our own time.

1. How do we restructure ourselves as a branch in other to breed a more democratic and effective national body

2. How do we prioritize our activities so that we focus first on our members, second on the public and third on our judicial institution

3. On our current challenges : how do we tackle the increases in court fees, the declining work available to lawyers, extortion by govt officials, and the intrusion of none professionals [called agents]

4. How do we plug the loopholes that threaten the effective administration of our criminal justice systems

5. How do we engage with the legislature to amend or draft Laws that will ensure that lawyers do not sell their oaths

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6. How do we effectively mend fences with our colleagues on the bench and re-brand our relationship so that we in the Bar become their defense and not their enemies

7. How can we at the branch level work effectively together to harness our strengths to secure a better future for ourselves and our association.

Gentlemen, all these may seem too much and these may already be issues that are being dealt with in one way or the other BUT any reform that is not initiated by members in a branch suffers as to the weight each attaches to its relevance. It is only when the members in each individual branch are part of formulating ideas for a solution to a problem that is when it is most likely that such an idea will work

We as members in our individual branches must begin to consider the following :

1. Setting up institutional committees within the branches that a. Liaise with the Judiciary on a regular basis b. Review laws, precedence etc c. Monitor the effectiveness or otherwise of the ACJL and other laws

2. Branches within a state should set up a ad-hoc committee made up of 3 members each from each branch within that state for the proper harmonisation of state wide engagement… I will note here that branches should consider running joint law weeks as against the individual law weeks we currently hold….branches should of course continue to organize seminars etc for it’s members and the public within their jurisdiction

3. We need to focus more on securing our livelihood while being a strong advocate of the masses…. Especially those who are vulnerable.

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There is much to be said but for now let’s hope that some of the above gets us thinking about the way forward…. You maybe the next NBA president or CJN or in a position where these ideas will matter and save lives..

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