In life, change is constant and necessary. No matter what the aspect of life involved is, you will find change ingrained deep within the core of proceedings. Cast a glance to the upcoming general elections in Nigeria or the elections expected to occur within the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), or even the fact that society is at a tipping point across several fronts from socio-political to constitutional and economic ones and one thing appears constant; change.
It follows then, that transformation ought to be progressively continuous and not disruptive to the detriment of development or the future. It also should not be a distinct fragment, cut off from the whole. Every society must find a way to seek change via transitions that will ensure it keeps up with industrial change and ensure its youth have a central role in its affairs.
If an understanding that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow is evident, it becomes pertinent to ask how willing the current crop of leaders is to relinquish power. Do they have an interest in setting aside parochial self-interest? How about mentoring programmes? Are youth currently empowered enough to handle the roles of leadership? Are they used for electoral gains just before being unceremoniously being relegated to the periphery of things?
To achieve this much sought-after transformation, a transition must occur. As William Bridges, the great organisational consulting guru put it, “without transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture.” What then is the best way to handle a transition?
Some self-introspecting must be considered first. Is an institution strong enough to handle the jarring realities that often come with change? Development always requires effective and efficient leadership. Picking the right leaders is a compulsory aspect of this march towards desired transformations. Like former US President Barrack Obama said in an address to the Ghanaian Parliament in 2009, “Africa does not need strong men. It needs strong institutions.”
The bare bones of the matter reveal that a strong institution not only guarantees credible elections but ensures the most viable candidates are put forward from a culture that brews only the very best in terms of high-quality values/ideals. This can kick-start the much-needed change every facet of society earnestly needs. The ideal aim should be to focus on true leadership, building on sturdily erected pillars and certainly not entertaining lofty and yet futile thoughts akin to reinventing the wheel.
Every year, the NBA holds a conference rated to be the largest gathering of lawyers globally. Apart from allowing legal professionals the opportunity to network, the issues tackled touch on matters of immense national and professional interest. 2018 will be no different. This year’s conference will:
1. Have keynote addresses and speeches from globally recognized leaders who have stewarded meaningful change.
2. Include technical training sessions for lawyers.
3. Encourage valuable knowledge exchange.
4. Foster bonding and mentoring between established Bar leaders and millennials.
Transitions into proper transformation have and will always continue to spur on the growth of strong institutions all over the world. Ultimately, building #ABraveNewBar is the aim. One that has consolidated and deepened social infrastructure, made it part of the process of transition to the ideal Bar that is sought as well an equitable and just society which will consequently transform Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Mr. Abdul-rasheed is the Chief of Staff to the President of the Nigerian Bar Association and Head of the Media & Communication Bureau of the NBA Annual General Conference, 2018