Welcome to Lagos…and the Future
It gives me great joy to welcome you to Lagos – the host city of the 59th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Lagos is a cosmopolitan city, a cauldron where all things mesh. It has verve, swag and an energy that is contagious. It is welcoming… alluring…and accommodating.
Whether you are a first-time visitor, or a returning voyager…Lagos smacks you right in the face and wakes you up. If you can stay long enough…you fall in love and become a Lagosian!
In recent years, Lagos has become a regular host city for the NBA Annual Conference – touted as ‘the largest gathering of lawyers anywhere’. And yet each time the Conference comes round to Lagos again, there is something different and fresh.
This year, the NBA President and Executive Committee, the hard-working members of the Conference Planning Committee and the Local Organising Committee have gone to great lengths to plan a rich and rewarding one week event. There is something here for everyone. The theme – “Facing the Future” – is quite ambitious. It is also very topical, and timely.
The Conference opens today with a Juma’at Service at 1.30 pm at the Lagos Central Mosque (for the Muslim faithful) followed by a Reception at Harbour Point . The Christians will have a Multi-Denominational Service at 9.15 am on Sunday at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina.
Health and fitness freaks will be able to showcase their skills (and their track suits) tomorrow (Saturday) at the 10Km Health Walk which starts as early as 7.00 am at Harbour Point. The Conference Programme includes a Football Tournament between various Branches of the NBA (my home Branch – Lagos – is the favoured Team), and a Golf Kitty at the Ikoyi Club Golf Section (what is your handicap?). So you can (literarily) come and ‘try yourself’!
Most conferees will come in on Sunday…either by air or land. Please make your way to the Harbour Point on Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, to pick up your conference materials. There will be an NBA – National Executive Committee Meeting (for NEC members) at 12 noon on Sunday at Harbour Point, and a Welcome Cocktail at 5.00 pm at the City Hall, Lagos Island for all conferees. Of course, for the merry at heart, the traditional Formal Opening of the Friendship Centre will take place at 7.00 pm at the Harbour Point.
The formal Opening Ceremony holds on Monday morning at 9.00 am at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel, Lagos. With the array of distinguished guests, and the much-anticipated Keynote by Mr Horacio Bernardes Neto – the President of the IBA, you do not want to miss it. The technical sessions are wide and yet incisive – cutting across almost every area of practice and interest. A rich bouquet of 41 Sessions and 206 Speakers over a 3 Day-period.
And it is not just ‘all work, and no play’. The organisers have put together a very rich and diverse social programme that caters to every taste and interest. From the ‘Fela and the Kalakuta Queens’ Musical on Monday evening at 7.00 pm at the Convention Center, to the President’s Dinner on Tuesday night, and ending with the Pop Music Concert on Wednesday Night – there is something on, every night.
In addition, there are plenty of hosted side-events – already scheduled are the Lagos Branch ‘Jersey Party’ at 7.00 pm on Tuesday night (some people are yet to recover from the Lagos Party at the 2018 Conference in Abuja), and the Ikeja Branch Party on Wednesday night. Indeed Wednesday night will be ‘bloody’ with the Abuja and Port-Harcourt Branches (known for their convivial hospitality) also rolling out the drums (and green bottles). So make sure you pack your dancing shoes…and blue jeans (or visit the shops when you arrive).
The Conference ends on Thursday with the Annual General Meetings of the 3 Sections – SBL, SLP and SPIDEL – at 9.30 am, and the NBA Annual General Meeting at 12 noon, all holding at Harbour Point, followed by the Communique and Press Conference. The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (Clasfon) will then send off conferees with a Dinner at 6.00 pm – themed ‘Help All The Way’.
Friday morning will see conferees hugging, shaking hands and wishing each other ‘safe journey’ back home.
Whew, it promises to be one whirlwind week – and it starts today.
We salute the conference planning team, and you, as you come.
Lagos awaits you.
Alex N. Muoka
Former Chairman, NBA Lagos Branch (2013-2015)
Former Secretary, NBA Lagos Branch (2011-2013)
“Let’s be the change we desire…”