ATTEMPT BY THE BODY OF BENCHERS TO CONTROL THE NBA THROUGH THE BACKDOOR; A RECIPE FOR UTTER CHAOS
By Jonathan Gunu Taidi
The proposed amendment to the timeworn Legal Practitioners Act came as soothing news to progressive minds within the bar; finally we were going to do away with those inhibiting provisions which have outlived their usefulness.
Our joy was however cut short by the shocking revelation that the pristine bill intended for the National Assembly’s passage into law had been doctored with a view to circumventing, clandestinely, the sacrosanct powers and authority of the NBA. Some powers that be within the Body of Benchers had surreptitiously inserted a clause in the said bill, manifestly tampering with the descriptive standpoint of the NBA. The smuggled provision describes the NBA as follows:
“The Registered Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association, and any other body incorporated for the governance and management of the Legal Profession”
Meanwhile, in the original bill the “NBA” was simply defined as the “Nigerian Bar Association”. The way it has always been.
This attempt by the Body of Benchers to hoodwink the NBA and forcefully take control of the NBA by doctoring the letters of the law is to say the least evil, by every standard. I make bold to state that this attempted coup is not unconnected to the emergence of a non- SAN as president of the NBA. Apparently, many oxen that were gored as a result, as well as sundry deflated bloated egos, remain wounded and unforgiving. This is an attempt to hold lawyers to ransom so that whenever certain powers-that-be are dissatisfied with the outcome of any NBA election, they can easily invoke this very divisive provision.
It is a recipe for anarchy, a foundation for complete uncertainty and distortion of established practices within the bar. It is mind-boggling trying to imagine a scenario where the doctored bill is passed into law and a furious NBA protests that same does not represent what was sent to the National Assembly even as the overlords within the Body of Benchers insists on the flawed bill – effectively dragging the legal profession to utter disrepute.
My question is; where would such an imbroglio leave young lawyers who are still trying to gain their footing in the profession, if they get caught up in such a web of authority tussle between the NBA and the Body of Benchers? Indeed, the possible number of bizarre eventualities that will confront us, where this evil provision to sail through, are endless. It is a good thing that the fraud was discovered and nipped in the bud.
May we never see the day where the collective will and progress of a collection of learned and noble minds are sacrificed on the altar of selfish and egoistic practices.
Long live the NBA.
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