Crusade For Justice (CFJ), a human rights advocacy group, has called for a clinical reform in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to return it as a bulwark and the last line of defence to the oppressed.
The group stressed that the NBA has slipped into the hands of a cartel and has over the years, created a monster emperor as its head, hence the need for urgent reform.
To CFJ, there is no relationship between the leadership and the followership in today’s NBA, and the scenario plays out vividly during NBA national executive meetings, where the emperor president simply runs the organization like a private business.
President and founder of the group, Mr. Richard Nwankwo, made the call recently at its 16th anniversary and yearly lecture with the theme, “Good Governance and an Effective Justice Delivery System as Critical Requirement for a Stable Polity”, held at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja.
Nwankwo criticized the total absence of checks and balances, and even where the constitution makes elaborate provisions for such, it is usually overlooked.
According to him, the non-adherence to the ideals of rule of law and constitutionalism has reduced the ebullience, vibrancy and relevance of the NBA to absolute nothingness.
“If nothing is done urgently and strongly too, our precious NBA would naturally give room for the emergence of regional bars, law societies and like organizations, which would naturally evolve to fill the vacuum created by the NBA and its leadership”, he said.
To change the situation, the CFJ said the post-election audit as envisioned by the architects of the NBA constitution must be given some measure of life and any election results announced without audit must not be allowed to stand.
“The present leadership of NBA must be asked to step down until this election audit is carried out and a true winner of the election is announced based on the findings of the said audit.
“The immediate past president of the NBA, A. B. Mahmoud, should be made to face the disciplinary proceedings on account of the rape of the NBA constitution for announcing election result without due process, and in utter violation of the laws, especially as it affects election audit”, he added.
Nwankwo also stressed the need for the invitation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to interrogate all the expenses made at the last annual general conference of the NBA and before it to ascertain how billions were spent by the last executive without any tangible or even spiritual benefit to members.
In his remarks, the chairman of the event, Prof Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), urged lawyers to restore the confidence in which the judicial system was rooted to avoid losing ground to other law enforcement agencies.
On his part, the chairman of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN), who delivered the sub theme: “Good Governance and Democracy in the Nigerian Political Setting”, through Omotayo Olatunbosun, urged all Nigerians to rise up to ensure that political leaders are accountable, responsive and open to public scrutiny.
Also, renowned arbitrator, Mrs. Folashade Alli, who spoke on “Arbitration as Justice Delivery Mechanism in a Developing Economy: A Case Study of Nigeria”, said the inordinate delays by the courts in Nigeria and lack of adherence to arbitration awards have robbed Nigeria the benefits of arbitration as an alternative means of resolving disputes.
Other speakers at the event include the dean of law, Chukwuemeke Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Awka, Prof Paschal Oguno and the former chairman, NBA, Onitsha branch, Mr. Chui Obieze.
Source: The Guardian