Home Democracy BUILDING A GREATER NIGERIA – THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION CONUNDRUM &...

BUILDING A GREATER NIGERIA – THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION CONUNDRUM & THE APPROACHING ELECTIONS

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This compilation must start with a very special appeal to elders in the fold of the Nigerian Bar Association to take urgent steps to mend the crack within the fold of members of this honorable profession. It is unthinkable that this profession of the Learned Gentlemen would get to this sorrowful state. The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is a non-profit, umbrella professional association of all lawyers admitted to the bar in Nigeria. It is engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights, the rule of law and good governance in Nigeria. The NBA has an observer status with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and a working partnership with many national and international non-governmental organizations concerned with similar goals in Nigeria and in Africa. The NBA and the Nigerian Medical Association are highly regarded as professional bodies that have helped to put Nigeria in shape. And the unthinkable has happened! – If gold rusts, what then will iron do? For if a priest be foul in whom we trust, no wonder that a common man should rust.  (Geoffrey Chaucer) The glory of the NBA is suddenly being eclipsed by minor issues that are not avoidable. Some lawyers of northern extraction had, on Friday, formed the ‘New NBA,’ following the recent controversy that trailed the withdrawal of an invite to the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, as a guest speaker at the association’s conference. The breakaway group, in a statement by two lawyers, Nuhu Ibrahim (Convener 1) and Abdulbasit Suleiman (Convener 2), explained that the formation of the ‘New NBA’ was aimed at protecting their interests as enshrined under Section 40 of the constitution. This development is not only sad but is also a reflection of what has happened to our society in the past few decades. Prof. Akin Mabogunje, a highly revered and great Nigerian not too long ago castigated the NBA for falling short of standards expected in monitoring democracy in Nigeria. I checked the media for several weeks and never got any reaction. Such people don’t talk loosely. The Bar Association in Nigeria used to be at the vanguard of institutions that fought brilliantly to preserve democracy. We used to hear of parallel political parties – New-PDP; New-APC, New-SDP, and even New socio-cultural associations – Not the NBA or NMA. There is no bridge too broken to be rebuilt.  How would the following feel in their graves today as…

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