You have the right to disobey the strike called by an association you fully belong to, but in a society of uncertainties, frame ups, witch hunt and persecution, you will someday need them to stand by you. ~Senator Shehu Sani

When a man speaks, he speaks alone, but when an Association speaks, it speaks as a VOICE.

The implication of such a voice is that, it has weight because it is a collective demonstration of many thoughts narrowed to ONE.

An association, ordinary should break the limits of ethnicity and religions diversity, and equally stands out as a refined unit void of bias. When united as a broom, it is almost impossible to break the sticks. This, though the ultimate reality, is not always manifested in a country like Nigeria where ethonocentrism, tribalism, nepotism and religion have damaged beyond repair.

The result seen in the political field and indeed other aspects of Human endeavour in Nigeria is not strange, as it is believed that the average Nigerian with average intelligence is not that civilized to think outside the four-walls of such sentiments.

But for an association like the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), it is the minimum expectation that it will function above board. Yes, it is an Association of learned men, after all.

Being learned is not about knowing the letters alone, it also deals with the maturity of mind concerning the realities of politics and governance.

If the NBA shows unity that has never been seen before, it will go a long way to teach the average Nigerian that Nigeria, though an heterogeneous society can function as a solid entity with ONE VOICE, if only the citizens are willing.

However, recent events have shown that the NBA is not such an icon as earlier thought.

Just a day before yesterday, the 28th day of January, 2019, an emergency meeting of the statutory NEC members of the NBA resolved among others that all courts in the land be boycotted. The directive was forwarded to all branches of the NBA; nonetheless reports reaching TheNigerianlawyer (TNL) shows that there was no total compliance of the directive.

Findings show that there was a total compliance of the directive in South East and the South-South Geo-political Zones while partial compliance was recorded in the South West and Middle Belt (North Central).

Two political zones in the North, that is, the North West and North East, however, recorded partial but very discouraging compliance.

The compliance – score is a true reflection of how well ethnicity has eaten so deep into the fabric of our Nation. President Buhari is a Northerner, while Justice Onnoghen is from the South. The NBA’s resolution was obeyed more in the South as compared to the North, showing that one way or the other, lawyers are showing solidarity to their zone-men. Although, this doesn’t mean that all northerners are in support of the action of President Buhari, or all southerners are in support of Justice Onnoghen, the outcome of yesterday’s exercise simply reveals that the NBA is not united as many think.

Note: The writer is mindful of the fact that some who defied the directive did so with reasons other than ethnicity and political reasons.

Ebi Robert for TheNigerialawyer (TNL).

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