In two days time, the voting members of the Nigerian Bar Association will vote to elect the National Officers that will conduct the affairs of the Association for the next two years. This years election is not only unique for the challenges encountered by the electoral committee in choosing the service provider for the election platforms for verification, accreditation and voting, it is unique because it comes at a time when there appears to be a consensus among members that there is need for paradigm shift to a more responsive member oriented and vibrant Bar that will, in addition to propagating the fundamental objectives of NBA, also represent the interest of majority of members. A new Bar with a new way of doing things.
I have been opportuned to serve the Nigerian Bar Association as General Secretary and therefore has the benefit of institutional history and the possible road map for the Bar we all deserve.
I have read the respective manifesto incorporating the visions of all the presidential candidates, placed them on an imaginary scale and also subjected them to reality and consistency tests and therefore come to the conclusion that, whilst all the candidates are qualified to hold the office, only one president will serve the NBA and therefore we must select the best among equals to serve our common interest.
I am excited that Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN not only made promises but also identified the roadmap and strategic milestones which are verifiable and clearly attainable. These visions include:
- Independence of the judiciary
- Support for electoral reforms
- A progressive and inclusive Bar
- Bridging the gap between young and old members
- Professionalization of NBA Secretariat
- Strengthening the sections and fora of NBA
- Comprehensive mentorship programme
- Expanding opportunities in legal practice
- Advocating free legal trade in Africa
- Regulated remuneration for legal documentation
- Electronic library services for members
- Combating unauthorized practice of law
- Refocus the Continuing Legal Education programme to deliver cutting edge knowledge
- Discipline and Ethics at the Bar
- Digitalization of NBA Secretariat
- Legal partnership advisory
- International Young Lawyers exchange programme
- Accountability and transparency
These are, to my mind, very much achievable within two years and it is always better for the visioner to be elected to drive the vision
I therefore appeal to all well-meaning members of Nigerian Bar Association to vote in the overall interest of the Bar to elect a leader we can trust. I will vote for Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN as that man that the NBA needs at this time.
We all need an all-inclusive Bar.
High Chief Emeka J. P. Obegolu, FCIArb(UK), FICMC
Past General Secretary, NBA (2012-2014)
Vice President, Pan Africa Lawyers Union (PALU)