One of the frontline presidential candidates in the forthcoming NBA National Elections, Mr. Olumide Akpata has promised to intervene in the problem associated with obtaining Nigerian Law School (NLS) transcripts if elected as the NBA President.

This is in response to the letter written by one Okanga O. Okanga, Esq., to all the Presidential aspirants urging their intervention.

Meanwhile, Mr. Olumide’s reply is contained in a letter dated 9th day of July, 2020 which was made available to TheNigeriaLawyer.

According to him, he noted that upon receiving the request, he had wanted to take action by calling the DG, NLS, Prof. Chiroma but later came to the realization that it requires a more lasting solution.

However, he gave a reassurance to address the issue if he emerges as the NBA President. “I assure you that, if elected as NBA President, I will use my offices to engage with the management of the NLS at the highest level, on ways to implement more efficient and seamless processes.” He said.

The letter reads:

9 July 2020

Dear Mr. Okanga,

Re: Nigerian Law School Transcripts: An Open Appeal for Intervention

I received your letter dated 7 July 2020 with respect to the above-referenced subject matter in which you highlighted the challenges currently beleaguering the procedure for processing transcripts at the Nigerian Law School (“NLS”). Indeed, I must commend your keen interest in the affairs of the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA” or “our Association”) and the brilliant ideas that you have shared on how the NBA can assist in resolving red tape issues, such as the transcript processing challenge identified in your letter.

On reading your letter, my first instinct was to reach out to my learned friend and senior colleague, Professor Isa Hayatu Chiroma, SAN who is the Director General of the NLS to convey your concerns and understand the challenges.  However, on reflection, I decided against making the call because that would have been a knee-jerk reaction to an issue that requires a lasting solution.

Indeed, as you may already know from my manifesto which is now public, I am deeply concerned about the institutional challenges which undermine our system of legal education. Consequently, to address the germane issues which you have commendably raised in your letter, I assure you that, if elected as NBA President, I will use my offices to engage with the management of the NLS at the highest level, on ways to implement more efficient and seamless processes.

I agree with the solution proposed in your letter: a digitization of the transcript process.  Thanks to technology, many processes that ordinarily require human interface have now been made easier. Going the digital route will ensure efficiency and speed so that our colleagues or any other person who has a legitimate need for transcripts of results issued by the NLS can access them seamlessly.

I should quickly mention that the NLS is not alone in this.  Many other public institutions within our profession still do not operate with the speed and efficacy that one would expect in the 21st century—our courts are a ready example.  In some cases, the heads of these institutions are not to blame as they are constrained by many factors, including inadequate funding and, sometimes, sabotage from beneficiaries of the rot in the system who prefer that the status quo should be maintained.

At the core of my vision for the NBA is a commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to see how we can begin to change this sad narrative. For me, the duty of the Bar to reposition itself and the legal profession to assume their rightful place is non-negotiable. If given the opportunity to become the NBA President, my primary mandate be to deliver a Bar that acts as an effective voice for all our members, including those in the diaspora—given their rightful status as stakeholders in our Association.

I enjoin you and all members of our Association to continue to advocate for a better system for the teaching and learning of law in this country. I assure you that the NBA under my leadership would prioritise issues that affect our learning, development, career growth and knowledge development as these ultimately go to the root of our collective welfare.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me with any suggestions that you may have on how we can collectively make the NBA work for all members of our Association and the society.

Please accept the assurances of my best regards, even as I urge you to continue to stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

OLUMIDE AKPATA

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