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‘We are delivering a world-class conference befitting NBA’

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Etomi

Mr. George Etomi is a renowned commercial lawyer with over 30 years post-call experience. He is the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Technical Committee for Conference Planning (TCCP). The body is saddled with the responsibility of putting together the 2018 annual conference of the NBA. He spoke with JOSEPH ONYEKWERE on the theme, faculties and what to expect at the meeting.

What is the reason behind the adoption of  “Transition, Transformation and Sustainable Institutions” as the theme of the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association?

As you have rightly noted, the theme of the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is “Transition, Transformation and Sustainable Institutions”.

The theme was carefully selected bearing in mind the important leadership role the NBA plays in Nigeria and Africa as the largest Bar on the continent, at a time Nigeria and other countries are preparing for transitions in government through the ballot.

The theme also reflects our resolve to shape the conversation around necessary measures for building strong institutions able to drive the growth of the economy for the benefit of all.

In addition, we are witnessing significant shifts in socio-economic relations, technology and politics around the globe.

The 2018 annual general conference of the NBA presents a great opportunity to discuss these realities as well as the prospects and challenges they pose to lawyers in Nigeria and Africa.

To ensure a most productive engagement of the realities referred to, the conference theme will be explored under five (5) subthemes – Diversity and Inclusion, Political Transition and Governance, Rule of Law and Security, Sustainable Economic Development, and Technological Disruption – all of which will shape the discussions by renowned experts at the various sessions of the conference.

Who are the selected speakers and what informed their choice?

The speakers for the conference are experts in various sectors who will be bringing their wealth of experience to bear on the various topics for discussion.

The President of the Republic of Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo, would deliver the keynote address. Nigeria’s Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is also expected to deliver an address, while the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, will declare the conference open.

Other prominent experts and leaders speaking at the conference include Nigeria’s former military head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd).

He will be delivering a paper on Political Transition and Governance in Nigeria based on his role in midwifing the transition to the current democratic dispensation; Mr. Aliko Dangote will be leading the discussion on Sustainable Economic Development in Nigeria, while Ms. Laurie Kleiman will be leading the discussion on Diversity and Inclusion.

Also, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari who will be leading the discussion on the Rule of Law and Security.

We understand that over 10, 000 delegates are attending the conference. What should the participants expect from this year’s conference different from the previous ones?

As earlier stated, we carefully selected the theme for this year’s conference so that we can address contextual realities of global socio-economic, technological and political shifts.

Conference delegates are therefore assured of immense knowledge sharing around developments that are most relevant to the legal profession, the economy, governance, technology, rule of law and politics in Nigeria and beyond, among other salient issues.

At least 100 experts will be facilitating over 30 enlightening and engaging high-level panel discussions on the individual and collective roles of lawyers in building strong institutions and managing transitions in various sectors of the economy.

In addition, conference delegates will benefit from the networking and mentoring opportunities that the conference presents aside from touring Nigeria’s capital city.

Another unique feature of the conference this year is the conference mobile app that will be available for download on Apple and Play Store during the event.

This App will be uploaded with the presentations of all speakers during the conference and will serve as an information dissemination platform to delegates during the conference.

It will similarly provide access to legal research materials as well as serve as a mechanism for conference feedback to the NBA in preparing for other conferences.

Are you expecting international participants in this conference?

As the largest Bar in Africa, the NBA has always attracted international speakers and delegates to its conferences and this year is no different. We have a number of international organisations like the American Bar Association (ABA) and the International Bar Association (IBA) who will be facilitating special sessions at this year’s conference in Abuja while we also have speakers from the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, India, Ghana, Egypt and other countries speaking at various sessions.

It is worth reiterating that President Nana Akufo-Addo is delivering the keynote address and you may as well say he is leading the noble pack of international participants at this year’s conference.

Organizing a conference of this magnitude no doubt is very challenging. What are the challenges and how have you been able to address them?

What you may term challenges are possibly logistical issues that are to be expected when organising a conference.

As Chairman of the Technical Committee for Conference Planning (TCCP), I have been privileged to lead a dedicated team of people who have spared a lot of time and resources to anticipate and address various logistical issues.

We are well prepared to host over 10,000 delegates and deliver a world-class conference befitting of the NBA.

Apart from the theme, sub-themes and session periods, do you have social events such as we have in International Bar Association (IBA), which you are also very conversant with? 

The NBA conference comes in its own unique style and with a standard comparable to any other world-class conference.

That said, we have made adequate preparations for very exciting activities at the conference including the premiere of a blockbuster movie titled THE WITNESS BOX, the Annual Bar Dinner, the UnBARed Reloaded Concert which will feature some of the biggest artistes in the Nigerian music industry.

In addition, for this year’s conference, we have redefined the model of our Friendship Centre, to put in place an avenue for proper relaxation with various side attractions including exhibitions, table tennis, pool (snooker) and live bands, among other equally exciting features.

There will also be raffle draws during the conference where delegates stand a chance of winning a brand new car and other amazing items.

I will therefore like to encourage all delegates to participate in the various activities highlighted for a wholesome conference experience.


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Mr. George EtomiNBA
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