The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Balaraba Mahmoud, OON, SAN has intimated the legal community of his administration’s intention to include every member of the NBA in at least one committee of the association. This was revealed to the legal community by the number one bar man at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Annual NBA Section on legal practice conference, at the NBA Port Harcourt Branch House, Bank Road, Rivers State, on Thursday, April 12th, 2018.
Addressing participants of the conference who are made up of bar and bench men alike, the President stated that sections were introduced in the NBA as a vehicle for deepening professionalism in the Bar. To him, sections are expected to promote continuing professional development and professionalization of the legal profession in Nigeria, hence the need for committees to act as a vehicle to achieve the ultimate objective. Furthermore, he stated that members of the Bar can as well gain their CPD points through the committees.
”Sections are expected to promote continuing professional development and professionalization of the legal profession in Nigeria. The Sections and their Committees are therefore the platforms that should offer the real value propositions for our members.
”We are currently looking at ways we can even strengthen these. For instance, we are considering proposing changes to the NBA Constitution that would make it mandatory for every member of the Association to belong to committees and Sections of the bar to aid professional development and continuing legal education for which the Sections should be the primary vehicles. That would mean that our members would earn their mandatory CPD points on the basis of their participation in various committee activities relevant to their areas of practice or interest. This we hope will aid our vision for the promotion of specialization in legal practice thereby enhancing the quality of legal practice in the country and consequently the economic fortunes of our members.
”In view of this, it is imperative that the Sections work with the NBA National Secretariat to review their operations, establish rules, guidelines and protocols that will be necessary to facilitate the implementation of this new model. I therefore call on the leadership of NBA Sections to further strengthen their administration and governance structures to enable them deliver on this mandate. Branches of our association should also take cue from this and reorganize themselves accordingly.”
Speaking further, the President stated that the value proposition of the NBA for its members should no longer be to pursue career at the Bar by holding positions in offices of the association, but to see the Bar Association as an avenue or platform for improving their knowledge, legal skills and offering service to the community in furtherance of their motto: promoting the rule of law, ensuring access to justice, protecting human rights and entrenching good governance in our country.
He also noted that the theme of the conference could not be more apt given the current circumstances and challenges being faced by the profession.
According to him, the legal profession is today facing all kinds of threats and challenges that must be addressed at all cost.
”We are facing stiff external competition in an increasingly globalised environment. We are confronted with new frontiers of knowledge and technology that are continually reshaping a new world. With our weak regulatory environment, poor curriculum in law faculties and weak entry requirements into the profession leading to an exponential growth in recent years, it means that we are unable to respond adequately to these challenges.
”We are thus failing to offer to Nigeria and Nigerians a capable and competent legal profession that can meet the demands of modern democratic society and economy. Distinguished colleagues what this means is that we must pay serious attention in reorganising ourselves and re-tooling our businesses to face these threats and challenges. I thank the leadership of SLP for reawakening us to these germane issues. I am excited at the array of speakers lined up for the two-day conference. I thank each and every one of them for accepting to participate. I thank all our partners who have supported us in the organisation of this conference. I would also like to thank the Governor and government of Rivers State for their untiring efforts in supporting the activities of the Bar. We have come here again and again, but your Excellency, you have always been so welcoming. I thank you most sincerely for your great service to the legal profession.”
The President however thanked the SLP leadership as well as the members of the Governing Council of the Section on Legal Practice led by distinguished Chair, Miannaya A. Essien, SAN for the excellent work done writhing a short time after its reconstitution.
”That this conference is holding today in Port Harcourt is a testimony of the excellent work the SLP leadership has done within a very short time since their reconstitution.
It is surely a sign of better things to come. I am confident that very soon the SLP will record, like its sister Section, the Section on Business Law, the giant strides that will put it at par or even surpass the SBL”, he said.
The conference was graced with the presence of dignitaries such as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter S.N. Onnoghen, GCON, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, CON, the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Adanma Iyayi-Lamikanra, Hon. Attorney General of Rivers State, Honourable Benchers, Learned Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Chairman of the NBA Section on Legal Practice, SLP, and SLP Council Members, among others.