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Ex-NBA presidents: Why we’re not in support of split

Posted by on August 31, 2020 0

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Three former Presidents of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, — Dr. Olisa Agbakoba,SAN, Mr  Joseph Daudu, SAN and SAN and Mr Augustine Alegeh, SAN, have said they were not in support of the move by some northern lawyers to form a new association, even though the Nigerian constitution grants citizens right to freedom of association.

They noted that it was  rather important for aggrieved parties to explore the crisis resolution mechanism in the association to resolve whatever wrong they felt done to them, than opt to former another new lawyers body.

It will be recalled that some aggrieved northern members of the NBA had last week pulled out of the association after the withdrawal of the invitation of Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, as a speaker at its conference.

The group in the letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Ministry of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, dated August 28,  by Nuhu Ibrahim and Abdulbasit Suleiman, first and second conveners respectively, said the national executive council of the NBA “failed to take into consideration our national interests.

“We are pleased to inform you of the formation of a new Association of Lawyers as above captioned. The formation of the new Association has become imperative and expedient especially flowing from the activities, disposition and most recently, the decision of the Nigerian Bar Association-NEC (National Executive Committee) which apparently failed to take into consideration our national interests and particularly do not promote the unity of our indissoluble country, Nigeria,” the letter reads.

The decision to withdraw el-Rufai invitation, it will be recalled was taken at the pre-Annual General Conference, National Executive Council, NEC, AGC-NEC of the association.

In a chat with interview with Vanguard, three former presidents of the association said that a new association was not the solution to some of the perceived problems in the association.

In his reaction, Agbakoba said any plan to set up a new NBA will face an uphill task.

READ ALSO: NBA Conference: Usoro apologises to el-Rufai over his withdrawal as speaker

He said, “I think many decisions of the Courts state that membership of NBA is legally interlinked with being a Legal Practitioner,  so there is in my view an uphill task confronting an association of lawyers leaving the fold of the NBA.”

On his part, Daudu noted that the lawyers seeking to break out from the NBA should have first exhausted the internal mechanism of dispute resolution within the association before setting out to form a new body.

He also observed that it was wrong for the lawyers to base the formation of their new association on the sole ground that Governor Nasir El-Rufai was not allowed to participate as speaker in the ongoing virtual annual general conference.

He said, “I have not seen the letter that the new northern association sent to the Attorney-General of the Federation on the formation of their own NBA,  but I must state that it is within their constitutional right to associate and form any group whatsoever. It is their right and no one can deny them that. My position, however, is that they should have exhausted all available option of dispute resolution within the NBA before taking such action.

“Personally, I am not in support of any split in the NBA now. Basing their decision because they are aggrieved to me is also wrong. What is the assurance that there will not be further disagreement within the new group they are proposing and so, if there is disagreement, are they going to split even in the new body when similar contentious issues arise?  There are better ways of address these issues and I don’t think forming a new association is an immediate solution to such issues.”

On his part, Alegeh said the NBA remains an indivisible body and any group of lawyers within its fold that is grievance should seek solution using internal mechanisms in the association.

He noted that rather than form a new association, aggrieved members should give the new leadership under Olumide Akpata the chance to tackle their grievances.

“NBA remains an indivisible entity. Like every organisation, there may be issues that will come up from time to time, but that should not give room for break up.  Within the NBA, there are mechanisms for resolving conflict. Whatever the issues are, I strongly advice those seeking to form a new association, to have a rethink. They should rather seek for better ways to resolve their complaints

“Moreover, a new leadership has just been elected and should be given the privilege and time to address some of their complaints.


The post Ex-NBA presidents: Why we’re not in support of split appeared first on Vanguard News.

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