Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN has expressed in strong terms his disappointment at the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mr. A.B Mahmoud SAN over the proposed adoption of the amendment to the NBA 2015 Constitution during the forthcoming 58th NBA Conference.
Chief Olanipekun addressed a letter dated 2nd August, 2018 to Mr. Mahmoud wherein he expressed condemned the attitude of the President and advised him to allow wise counsel and shelve the proposed amendment.
According to Chief Olanipekun, at a meeting of past Presidents and Secretaries of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) called at the President’s instance on Friday, 20th July 2018, Mr. Mahmoud SAN apprised the meeting of the far-reaching amendments being proposed by him on the eve of his departure, as the President of the NBA. Olanipekun noted that after a very extensive discussion on the proposals, and considering the depth and implications of such amendments, the meeting advised that the proposed amendment should be shelve and/or put on hold to allow his successor-in-office do further consultations on them, both at the National Executive Committee (NEC) and general levels and platforms, in order to adequately weigh the pros and cons of the proposed amendments before passing same.
Olanipekun’s letter reads in part;
“It was on this note that the meeting closed and you did not disagree with the wise counsel. Surprisingly, a notice or plan/intention to amend our constitution, as proposed and tabled by you at the meeting has now been sent out, and I must confess, I am in receipt of same to the effect that the proposed amendments will be presented at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the NBA.”
“I am taken aback by this development and I kept on wondering why you ever brought up the topic at our meeting of Friday, 20th July, 2018 if you knew you would not respect our opinion.”
“Mr. President, you have not been fair to us, to put it mildly. As a person, I protest this attitude and action of yours. Needles reminding you Mr. President that the same meeting resolved a lot of burning issues to your advantage and satisfaction.”
“As agreed at the said meeting Mr. President, may I again advise and counsel that you put on hold the proposed constitutional amendments. No one possesses the monopoly of wisdom and it is only courteous that you also respect the objections raised to some of your amendments at the meeting, despite the fact that some of us saw the proposals for the first time just at the meeting. No leader, however brilliant, industrious, good-intentioned or pragmatic can ever resolve all the problems of his association, society or country in his life time or within his tenure. You cannot be an exemption. Please let us learn from history; and be reminded that amendment to the NBA Constitution should no longer be randomly done. I dare say that the proposed amendments in some material particulars will turn out to be an ill-wind which will bring or blow in no fresh breath. You are advised not to force the amendments on our beloved Association at the AGM, which, with much respect, might be constituted in such a way that the attendees would not readily understand or appreciate the unending conundrum we will be plunged into if the amendments sail through. And in case you insist on going ahead to present the amendments at the AGM, can you be gracious enough, as a lawyer and leader to circulate this letter of mine to the AGM.”
Chief Olanipekun SAN copied all the past NBA Presidents and some Secretaries in his letter.