Saving A Dying NBA Conference By Abubakar Enakhel Animiokhali Esq

The NBA annual general conference ought to be a unique opportunity for all Nigerian lawyers, within and outside the country, old and new wigs, high and low classed, to meet and “romance” together once in a year as professional colleagues. The annual conference of lawyers will easily pass for the annual gathering of the highest number of professionals in Africa! The opportunities and advantages such gathering is loaded with for lawyers of all fields of practice can neither be numbered nor overemphasised.

However, over the years, while the AGM, as the conference is fondly called, is becoming somewhat more glamorous and fervent in contents, the relevance and importance may arguably be said to be waning. The 2021 edition of the AGM seems to have most demonstrated the attendant depreciation in the importance and relevance of the occasion. It appears like the jamboree that ought to serve as the side attraction has since quietly overtaken the raison d’ĂȘtre of the entire exercise!

Unfortunately, I am one of the lawyers busying myself with cases in courts in Abuja and environs during these days that the conference lasts. Most of my dates were imposed and others taken well outside recent times. There are other many lawyers around busy in courts. I know of no court in Abuja that is not sitting as a result of the AGM of NBA!

But it seems to me that one of the ways to restore the old glory of the NBA AGM is to make it easier for all interested members of the Bench and the Bar to participate. The atmosphere that will encourage the participation of all the willing must be deliberately created by the NBA in conjunction with the NJC and all concerned authorities. That will even indirectly make the conference a compulsory endeavour for all.

Situations whereby courts will be sitting and hearing matters during NBA AGM is, to say the least, appalling and does not tell well of the importance and essence of the NBA AGM. I am not sure a lawyer that is seen around, whether around the courts, police stations or other offices, including his own cannot be perceived by some members of the public as either unserious or as a very possible quack!

My suggestion will be that the NBA leadership persuades the NJC and the members of the Judiciary to see to the suspension of all court sittings that are not connected to hearing of serious or emergency suit during the NBA AGM. Most of the cases going on right now and concurrently with the NBA AGM are cases that can wait for the few days that the conference usually lasts. On the other hand, the leadership should adjust the calendar of the activities of the NBA so that the AGM comes during court vacation, especially where the vacation can be made to run in all courts nationwide concurrently. 

Where no court is sitting during NBA AGM, a near 100% turnout of Nigerian lawyers and other persons who should attend will likely be in attendance as there will be nothing to engage anybody apart from the AGM. If this is not done and immediately, I am afraid, the way we are heading as a body of professionals, the NBA AGM may become irrelevance sooner than we are prepared to foresee. Enjoy NBA AGM 2021 edition.

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