Some lawyers in Abuja have advised the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to continue with the use of delegates for its election, saying that reverting to the former method may be problematic.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that there was a suggestion at the Annual General Meeting of the NBA in August in Abuja that the election by delegates was not all inclusive.
Some had suggested that the NBA should drop the current method of electing officials by delegates and go back to its former method which allowed all lawyers to participate in the election.
A lawyer, Mr Afraimu Jingi, who spoke with NAN in Abuja on Thursday, wondered why some lawyers would think of going back to that method which had a lot of problems.
“It is just a suggestion and not a resolution. Formerly that was what we used to do before 1992, but because of the problem we had during the Port Harcourt conference where people were sponsoring thugs.
“Some people will just buy a suit and give someone to wear and start voting, that was why they decided that it has to be by delegates from each branch,’’ Jingi said.
Jingi maintained that if the NBA must go back to the former method of allowing all lawyers to vote, it must device effective mechanisms to check malpractices in the processes.
“If they want to go back, why not, but then they have to be very strict otherwise people who are not lawyers will still come and vote.
“A situation where you have about 5,000 lawyers, how many weeks will it take to vote, that was why they decided to do it by delegate in the first place.
Another lawyer, Mrs Funmi Quadri, also noted that reverting to the former practice might not be in the best interest of the Bar.
“They are still considering that and it may not be better because lawyers are very many and waiting for all of us to vote may be an uphill task,’’ Quadri said.
On her part, Ms Mary Akpan, said that the current method was more effective and efficient and going back to the old method might take the NBA back to “square one”.
According to her, what the NBA needs is to put in place checks to ensure that the delegates are not bought over by the highest bidder.
“Election by delegates works better, but I believe why some people have a problem with it is because of allegations that the delegates usually make a lot of money from those contesting for positions or their sponsors.
“If the Bar is able to find a way to stop this or at least reduce it to the barest minimum, I don’t think anyone will want us to go back to the old method,’’ Akpan said. (NAN)