The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud SAN has reiterated his administration’s commitment to reviewing the entire legal framework of the legal profession. Mr. Mahmoud was speaking during his speech at the ongoing NBA National Executive Council meeting holding in Ilorin, Kwara State.
In his words; “review of the regulation of the legal profession is a major initiative of this administration, which is the first component of the “3Rs-P” geared towards reviewing the entire legal framework of the legal profession in Nigeria.”
“The Regulation agenda is one of the cardinal programmes of this administration. As you are aware we set up an NBA-Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee (LPRRC) as fundamental and central to the efforts of this administration at modernizing the legal profession and equipping it to meet the challenges of the modern state and demands of a competitive economy.”
“We are hoping that these efforts will give birth to new and transformed Nigerian Bar Association that will be well positioned to meet the challenges of an increasingly modern and globalized legal profession.”
“A profession that will meet the expectations of its members and stakeholders and consumers of legal services. A profession that will be respected by its local and global partners whilst remaining a potent force for national development.
“For Nigeria and any country to develop, it must have a strong, stable and robust, legal system. It is worthy of mention that the committee has since completed its work, presented its Committee and Sub-Committee Reports and Recommendations, and also produced a complete new legal practitioners` draft bill that will replace the Legal Practitioner’s Act (LPA). If we succeed in getting this passed, it will be the greatest transformation of the legal profession in Nigeria since 1900.”
“We have continued our engagements with various stakeholders trying to explain and familiarize them with the focus and necessity for our reforms.”
“On Monday 26th February in Abuja we convened a bar leaders consultative summit to present various reports on the architecture and goals of these reforms.”
“The meeting was attended by three past presidents with written commentaries by two others and eight past general secretaries, our Sections and Forum leaders as well Chairmen and Secretaries of branches.”
“All of these leaders hailed these efforts. On 22nd of March I will be making a major presentation to the Body of Benchers to discuss the major ideas of these reforms and to seek the buy-in of members of the Body. I stated at the just concluded bar leaders summit as follows;
“At some point in the history of every organization, it must face the challenge of reinventing itself or face the odious fate of decay or even extinction. I doubt there is any of us here who is satisfied with the state of the legal profession in Nigeria today. Perhaps we are at that juncture in history when we must reinvent in the legal profession”.
Distinguished colleagues, there are three broad planks of our reform efforts. These are:
i. The Regulatory Architecture and framework of the legal profession: This seeks to interrogate the regulatory objectives, the role of regulatory institutions, issues of standards, discipline, professional development and integrity of the profession generally. This is dealt with by the Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee headed by Chief Anthony Idigbe SAN.
ii. The second broad plank deals with the NBA as an organization, for this we hired Services of KMPG Professional Services to undertake a holistic diagnostic survey of our corporate governance framework , financial management and reporting processes. That work has been completed and report circulated. KPMG will be making a presentation at this meeting.
iii. The third plank is the constitution review. This dove tails the two other planks, brings all the ideas and consolidates them into a dynamic and progressive constitutional expression which at the same times addresses extant grievances and concerns of all stakeholders. This plank is being undertaken by the Yusuf Ali Constitution Review Committee.
“Distinguished colleagues at no previous times in the recent history of our association have we devoted so much time, and energy to methodically and painstakingly prepare for the reform of our profession and our association than now. I urge us to see through these efforts and agree on an implementation road map. This will call for sacrifice at individual and collective levels. I urge us to put aside our narrow interests and concerns and put the overall best of the profession and the national interest above anything else. On our part, that is the current leadership, we are committed to pursuing these with sincerity and dedication. We are not seeking to build any dynasty or seeking personal gains.”