Lawyers attend NBA conference with hangover – Bayo Akinlade

Former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikorodu branch Bayo Akinlade has called for an overhaul of the association to keep it in tune with appreciable standards

Mr Akinlade, convener of the Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary (FIACIJ), made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

“The NBA can no longer be effective with its current structure, and urged the need to set up new structures,” he said.

Akinlade spoke on workable measures to enhance the legal profession and the practice of law in Nigeria.

According to him, the NBA as the largest law body regulating the affairs of lawyers in Nigeria, must be kept in tune with current realities so as to ensure its effectiveness.

While pointing out various shortcomings in the activities of the association over the years, he noted that the sustenance of the bar greatly depends on its continued relevance.

“Growing up as a young lawyer, I met an NBA that was focused and I cannot recall the NBA having grand parties or events like ‘Unbarred’ like we saw in the just concluded annual conference.

“How can anyone concentrate on the practice and development areas that our conference seeks to provide when delegates go to bed at 3 am or 4 am each morning and get to the conference venue late with a nasty hangover?

“Again, what we saw at the end of the annual general meeting this year was another controversy which, though not new to NBA, was this time openly confrontational and combative.

“The NBA can no longer be effective with eight to nine executive committee members at the helm of its affairs,” he said.

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Akinlade noted that the legal landscape has evolved, while the social and political terrain has also changed.

He said that lawyers who lead the bar today are at every level, far younger and less experienced than lawyers who led the NBA more than 15 years ago.

“Mentorship within the bar has also declined over the years; the bar today is very different and naturally so,” he said

On the way forward Akinlade harped on the need to retain the foundation of the bar, but to ensure that the current structures are uprooted

“We may not bring the old ways back but we must try not to destroy the pillars of this profession; We can pull down the old structures but I still think the foundations are solid so let us rebuild the bar

“The NBA has come full circle and while some believe that the NBA can be “fixed” it is my opinion that fixing NBA is not from within its existing structures but rather, it must be completely re-invented and re-evolved,” he said

According to Akinlade, the broken pieces within the NBA need not be put together to make the profession work, rather, these pieces should work separately and independently to create a collaboration that will make the profession great again.