As we welcome the year 2019, I thank the Almighty God our creator, whose grace and protection has seen us through the outgone year, 2018. May I also use this medium to congratulate every Nigerian, especially our colleagues, leaders and members of our noble association; the NBA for seeing the new year.
The year 2018 has no doubt been a very challenging year for us as the largest association of lawyers in Africa. Our members in the line of discharging their professional duties have fallen victims of humiliating attacks in the hands of the police across the country. They were brutalized, unlawfully detained and stripped off their dignities.
We were not spared the bloodletting that bedevilled and has become a reoccurring decimal across various states of the country. Some of our colleagues like many Nigerians were mowed down by bullets of armed bandits, kidnapped and their family members killed.
Till date none of the perpetrators of these dastardly acts have been arrested and brought to book, which is a clear reflection of the failure of our government to live up to its statutory duties of securing the lives and properties of the citizenry.
The Nigerian Bar Association was not spared in the out gone year as our moral grounds to hold government responsible and accountable, while insisting on things to be done properly caved in due to self inflicted injuries.
The last national election of our noble association further exposed us as a body to ridicule and public condemnation, due to the massive improprieties that marred the entire process; one that ordinarily would have been a model for other associations to emulate. The bar today is fast loosing its respect and awe, as we, lawyers who were generally believed to live above board and capable of conducting our affairs in tandem with the law, have proven the world wrong through some of our deeds and inactions.
In spite of all these challenges, we still express our gratitude to God for seeing us through 2018 and look forward to the year 2019 with great hope and optimism. The new year will no doubt be a watershed in our democracy as we shall be going to polls to elect those who will lead us as country for the next four years.
As lawyers, we have a vital role to play in the sustenance of our hard earned democracy and must join in the onerous task of making our country great. To achieve this, we first have to cleanse our own stable, put our house in order and take our rightful place in our polity. We must ensure as officers in the temple of justice that the rule of law prevails in our national life.
As we do what is noble, just, right and honourable for our country and noble profession, may we find fulfilment in all we lay our hands to do in the year 2019.
Happy New Year!
Arthur Obi Okafor (SAN).