Erudite Professor of Law, Ernest Ojukwu, SAN, has asked the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro, SAN, to consult fellow elected officers on the selection of persons into the NBA committees.

Prof. Ernest Ojukwu, SAN, gave this advice in an open letter written to the NBA President.

Commending the NBA for the transparency briefing, which involved the publication of a Financial Statement as at 31st August, Prof. Ojukwu stated that all his FOI requests are yet to be responded to.

He also charged the President to make available the list of names of selected persons to the committees for comments on their integrity.

Below read his letter to NBA President

22ND NOVEMBER 2018

President,
Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja.

OPEN LETTER TO NBA PRESIDENT ON TRANSPARENT GOVERNANCE

I am delighted to see the beginning of open, transparent and accountable governance for the Nigerian Bar Association with the publication of the Finance Function Diagnostic Report and the final NBA Financial Statement as at 31st August 2018. This is a good sign. I urge that we make this a culture.

As you know, I made a Freedom of Information request of 15 items from NBA on 30th October 2018 – most concerning financial and accountability issues. Out of the 15 items, only two are activities of the present leadership, that is to say,

1. Report of the NBA 2018 Ad-hoc transition Committee; and
2. The contract signed by NBA to engage the services of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for the purpose of auditing and reviewing the NBA account.

I am yet to receive any response to any of the FOI requests.

I have also noted that the next NBA NEC meeting has been scheduled.

One of the governance setbacks that we had with some past presidents been to hide (until last minutes at the NEC meeting) the names of those proposed for various committees and representations. As you have committed to an open, transparent and accountable leadership, I hope to see a break from this past in the appointment of our representatives to various committees and organs.

In the first place, fellow elected officers of the Bar should be consulted in an open discussion of proposed names for committees and other representations.

As we practiced many years ago, when we had proper NBA Presidents, any proposed list of representatives/Committee members ought to be published in advance of NBA NEC meeting where ratification/appointment is finally done.

NEC members and the entire membership ought to have the opportunity to “have a say” on those proposed to represent them.

Some of the committees that we need to constitute urgently are the Zonal Disciplinary Investigations Committees. The last set appointed by the last President had some chairmen and many members with horrible reputation and horrible pasts but we were not given the opportunity to comment on them before they were announced as appointed. We need the proposed lists to comment on members’ integrity and other issues of interest for open, transparent and accountable NBA governance.

Thank you.

Prof Ernest Ojukwu, SAN

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