NBA and its inequalities
SIR: Everyone knows I am not a fan of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conferences (AGCs) and many of NBAs ‘Party activities’ but I find a few people telling me that these events are necessary so I try to be flexible and turn off my antisocial mode to try and adjust. Not all lawyers are equal in many of these events. Aside from the fact that these events are organised to celebrate an individual rather than for the relaxation and enjoyment of the members.
For example, I decided to go to the closing event of the NBA AGC tagged unbarred 5.0. My decision to go was because some of our partners from the legal aid clinic programme wanted to just relax and have a feel of the social environment with their colleagues.
The mistake I made was to invite them to come to the front and meet the president of the NBA and introduce themselves as volunteers. We got to the front and found out that the president was not even at the event so I said we could stay at the second row and wait for him. To my surprise on taking our position I was informed that the seats are reserved for the president and his ‘friends’. I was so embarrassed as the last time I checked, my Bar Practice Fees (BPF) was the same as the president’s and I even paid more in my branch in dues than in his branch.
My experience in this regard was troubling because this event was set up like it was the personal event of an individual who made a commitment to serve the Bar not for the Bar to serve him. I write this piece because our colleagues shouldn’t contest for positions in the NBA to be worshiped or celebrated. I am aware that Mr. Akpata would never give anyone instructions that will make a member feel irrelevant or disrespected but we need to start walking the talk in this profession.
No NBA member is less of a member because he or she may not have a title.
I congratulate the outgone national executives for contributing positively to many issues that affect the country and the legal profession. Kudos to all of them.