‘MAIKYAU LACKS POWER TO SUSPEND SPIDEL ACTIVITIES,’ SAYS GADZAMA
The pioneer Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN has aligned with the position by the SPIDEL leadership that NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN lacks power to bar the activities of SPIDEL or any NBA section.
In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, the senior lawyer and former Chairman of NBA Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) said that “It goes without saying that no power resides in the National Officers or the President of the NBA to stop SPIDEL or any of the other two sections ie SLP & SBL from performing their constitutional and statutory responsibilities other than in the National Executive Committee (NEC). After all, NEC has already sanctioned and pre-approved these actions by SPIDEL.”
Below is the full text of the statement.
PIONEER CHAIR, NBA-SPIDEL AND LIFE BENCHER, J-K GADZAMA SAN URGES NBA AND SPIDEL TO SHEATH THEIR SWORDS
One of the most decorated Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN has reacted to the reported spat between the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Officers of NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL).
Speaking to journalists who approached him as the pioneer Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL, the Life Bencher remarked that the said disagreement was unnecessary as the NBA-SPIDEL is a special and strategic Section of the Bar whose role affects both lawyers and non-lawyers.
Chief Gadzama, a former Chairman of NBA Abuja Branch noted that NBA-SPIDEL, which can be referred to as the “conscience of the Bar”, has been playing a complimentary role especially in upholding the motto of the NBA – “promoting the rule of law”. He also highlighted the fact that NBA-SPIDEL, just like the other NBA Sections, has gone the extra mile to raise its leaders internally without the intervention of the President or other National officers of the NBA.
He explained that in relation to the workings of the Section, ” I have observed that recent SPIDEL interventions are focused on delivering one of the core mandates of the NBA for which the Section was established – promoting public interest matters and litigation when needed. The current SPIDEL Executive seems to be proactive, and the truth is that it is good for good governance and accountability. However, it must be emphasized that NBA is SPIDEL, and SPIDEL is NBA, so what is required is synergy and harmonious implementation of the NBA objectives which SPIDEL can be described as pursuing presently through some of its interventions. Whatever disagreement that has occurred, in my opinion, cannot be based on whether the actions of SPIDEL are right but may be attributed to possible lapse in administrative communication as regards implementation. The gaps can be ironed out without so much fuss. Nonetheless there could be appropriate advisory intervention by the President and the National officers wherever any Section derails from its mandate. In extreme situations of organizational misconduct, the National Executive Council (NEC) will need to intervene. It goes without saying that no power resides in the National Officers or the President of the NBA to stop SPIDEL or any of the other two sections ie SLP & SBL from performing their constitutional and statutory responsibilities other than in the National Executive Committee (NEC). After all, NEC has already sanctioned and pre-approved these actions by SPIDEL.
Therefore, it is worthy to note that the required synergy will simply mean that when SPIDEL or any other Section speaks, it means the NBA is speaking. This is crucial in achieving adequate organizational communication on critical national interventions in pursuit of public interest.”
The learned silk further stated that the application of checks and balances is a cardinal principle in NBA affairs. Certain organs of NBA are constitutionally provided to ensure that the concept is applied, and that role amplifies when the NBA needs to wriggle itself out of perceived political exposure. In such situations, the relevant NBA Sections or organs must step in and do the needful, as has been done by NBA-SPIDEL in the circumstances under reference.
Chief Gadzama spoke to pressmen from his wealth of experience having served in the 3 NBA Sections in various capacities as a Council Member of NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), a Vice Chairman of NBA Section on Legal Practice (NBA-SLP) and the pioneer Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL. In conclusion, he opined thus; “SPIDEL has not violated any extant law or tradition of the Bar as the activities it embarked upon are purely within the four walls of its constitutional mandate.
“Nonetheless, in the interest of the Legal Profession, the Nigerian people and public interest, I strongly advise that reconciliatory steps be conscientiously taken by the NBA President and the National Officers on the one hand and the SPIDEL Executive and its Council Members on the other. In fact, an NBA wide engagement with its fora and Sections is needed even though the current administration is at its twilight stage. SPIDEL is the ligament between the profession of law and the general public, particularly the oppressed and the lowly. Recall that I have said time and time again that if there is another acronym for the NBA, that must be SPIDEL. This underpins the critical significance of SPIDEL to the extent that it must be allowed to function without any bureaucratic bottlenecks or inhibitions.”
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