2024 NBA Elections: The Type of Leadership Lawyers Need

– By Jibrin Okutepa SAN

Not too long ago, CAC was ordered by a Federal High sitting in Abuja to register another lawyers’ association outside of NBA. Many have said it is a welcome development. Others have said there is no need for another lawyers association outside of NBA. I belong to the later group. But I am not going into that discussion here. The only association of lawyers now is NBA. NBA was not formed to play partisan politics. The principal aim of the NBA is to promote and fight for the welfare of members and then promote the rule of law. It was not formed to promote the self-serving interest of those who were to lead the association.

Very soon, the elections to the offices of NBA will hold. As usual, many lawyers are aspiring to lead the association in various offices.

It is no longer news that the NBA constitution and rules forbid lawyers from going around inducing lawyers for votes.

That is what is written in black and white. But are lawyers aspiring to lead the bar association respecting these rules. I do not think so. I have been consistent in speaking against this practice of violating our own rules. We have allowed the rules guiding our elections to be violated with impunity.
The way we have allowed NBA politics to be played will soon destroy whatever is left of the nobility of this profession.

The same way we see evil and coloured it with arid legal technicalities to the prejudices of democracy in Nigeria is the same way we have chosen to allow NBA politicians go around polluting and weakened our noble association in the name of NBA politics. Many of those who need mentoring are being given false hopes in the name of promises. The leadership of our association must do something.

We need leadership of NBA that can restore the lost glory of the legal profession, not leadership that wants votes by divide and rule. We need leadership of NBA that can restore the lost glory of recruitment processes to the bench and mobilise lawyers to fight against politicisation of appointments to the bench across board in Nigeria.

We need NBA leadership that can ensure that there is no political and self-serving interest in judgments being delivered by our courts both in political cases and other cases. We need NBA leadership that ensures that judgments of courts are obeyed and enforced without lawyers circumventing it. We need NBA leadership that is above board and can frontally fight the dwindling fortunes in the legal profession.

We don’t need NBA leadership that only issues statements and always sings patronizing songs of the goodness of the systems even when the blind can see that the system is bad. We don’t need leadership that wants power for the sake of it. We need NBA leadership that can and know how to use leadership for the greatest good of all.

We need NBA leadership that can put an end to the hereditary of recruitment of judicial officers. Let Nigerian bench at all levels be populated by those who have the strength of character. We need leadership of the bar that can fight and put an end to recruitment to the bench being done on the basis of the interest of those who are in the position of authority . We need leadership of NBA that will ensure that recruitment to the bench at all levels be on the basis of merit and integrity. We must go back to the purity and nobility of the reasons for the formation of NBA. The way we are going, unless we retrace our steps, NBA may lose its values to Nigerians and its members.

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