Saturday, 20 June 2020

NBA Elections: Advertisement of Promise to Abandon One`s Law Firm, If Elected, Is An Unavailing Showboating, Play-to the-Crowd. By A. S. Gidan Wankey Esq

NBA Elections: Advertisement of Promise to Abandon One`s Law Firm, If Elected, Is Mere Unavailing Showboating and Play-to the-Crowd

By A. S. Gidan Wankey Esq

“Silence is not golden when they need to know the truth even if they don't want hear it" (Meryl Reunion). 
 I was shocked to see on Facebook, this morning, that an aspirant to the office of the NBA President had declared to go on a two-year sabbatical from the Law office in which he is a partner, if he was elected the NBA President. Expectedly, but that was the plan, his supporters started using that as an election campaign issue, to sway unsuspecting voters, by giving the misleading impressions that, perhaps, the other aspirants to the NBA Presidency have no intentions of taking a break from active involvement in their respective law offices, if elected. This short commentary is necessary to set the records straight and clear all cobwebs.

With due respect, such is a flimsy declaration, because it is an elementary fact, known to all lawyers, that any Lawyer who becomes the NBA President usually excuses himself/herself from his/her private law office for the two-year duration. I think it is not a matter of force, but such temporary absence is absolutely needed in order that the President could devote adequate time and attention to discharging the onerous tasks and duties of that office. Every NBA Presidential Candidate already knows; so, one need not make it a campaign issue, to win voters. In 2018, Mr. Paul Usoro, (SAN) did not resort to such jangling clanking. Yet, as soon as he got elected and was sworn in, he immediately relocated to Abuja, leaving his law firm in Lagos to be run by his partners.

Besides, in every Law partnership, there are different types of partners, with varying roles and level involvement Law Firm activities. There are, for examples, Managing Partners, the dormant Partners, the Sleeping partners, among others. There are some Partners whose roles in the Firm is similar the role of a non-executive director in a Company who does not have any responsibilities for daily management or operations of the company and whose involvement is limited to (a) merely attending Board meetings; and (b) performance of such special assignments as may be assigned by the Board of Directors. If one`s partnership role in a Law Firm, is similar to the role of a non-executive director, it means one is not really actively involved, and one`s absence might not adversely affect any activities in the Law Firm. Accordingly, as an example, a public declaration by such a Partner to (if elected) take some break from the Law Firm for two years, is a pointless, redundant play to the gallery sort of declaration. It smacks of babyishness for one to purport to, or to promise to stay away from what one has not been close to in the first place? Such could be likened to a man or woman who never been to America declaring, “I won’t travel to America in the next two years of you elect me an NBA President.” A befitting response to such a beside-the-point talk is:

        “If you want to know how much you'll be missed if you leave the Law Office for two years, put             your finger in a bucket of water and then remove it. The hole that's left will be how much you                 would be missed.”

As I pointed out above, aspirant to the NBA Presidency already knows that if he or she is elected, he/she would hardly do anything else within the two-year tenure. Section 9 (5) (a) of the NBA Constitution, as amended, leaves no one in doubt that the duties and functions of the NBA President are very onerous: (i) presiding over the NBA General and NEC meetings; (ii) directing such meetings; (iii) directing all other Officers of the Association in the performance of their duties; (iv) coordinating the activities of all Branches of the Association; (iv) providing direction and leadership to all NBA Committees;(v) presenting the traditional presidential address during the AGM; (vi) acting as the principal spokesman of the NBA;(vii) Subject to NEC approval, ensuring the efficient and economic use of the Association's assets and resources through prudent investments, acquisitions and disposals as may be necessary from time to time”

In pursuing their aspirations, the candidates and their supporters ought to face serious issues and leave showboating and play to the gallery; Nigerian lawyers are not kindergarten pupils or a playgroup, neither are they brainless. This was how some declared 2020 NBA election aspirants had tried to take advantage of the harsh economic realities caused by the COVID-19-pandemic-occasioned lockdowns, by going all over the place with the metal gong, and shouting over the roof top about some “assistance rendered to those in need”-- actions clearly by planned voter-inducement and vote-buying. Some even perpetrated such with the connivance of few NBA Branch officials. They tried to pull the wool over our eyes with what very many other Nigerian lawyers did more than three times over without making noise about it! I pray the Nigerian Bar does not get so unlucky as to be led by any team who prefers mere enchantment to straight record and factuality. Dear Lawyer, if you want the best for this profession, please, do not let anyone mislead you; you are enlightened and wise, and you know that your decision on who to support ought to be based on credible, mature and objective reasons, not on mere surface scratching showboating and play to the gallery. 

A. S. Gidan Wankey Esq

  1. Wow. Very well written my brother. You've made some valid points there.


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