Says legal profession needs mature, tested leader
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
A former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu (SAN), has asked legal practitioners nationwide to vote Deacon Dele Adesina into the office of the NBA President, saying he has requisite experience to lead the Bar at this troubled time.
Daudu, who presided over the Bar between 2010 and 2012, justified Adesina’s candidacy on the ground that the association “needs a leader with tested ability to lead learned colleagues acquired from the grassroots.”
He made case for Adesina, NBA’s former General Secretary, in a statement, urging members of the Bar nationwide to elect him overwhelmingly on account of his experience, integrity and maturity.
In his two-page statement, NBA’s former president admitted that the Bar was divided between the leadership rank of senior Advocates and non-senior advocates among other criteria or factors at least for the office of President.
He, also, acknowledged that the Bar “is embroiled in a crisis of sort with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The beneficiaries of the legal economy emanating from the CAC are largely the exclusive preserve of young lawyers.”
With diverse crisis confronting the NBA at this moment, Daudu argued that the ‘Aluta’ strategy of resolution adopted by the young lawyers “is only fanning the resolve of management of CAC not to compromise its stand.”
On these grounds, the former NBA’s president noted: “It will take the maturity and experience of a tested leader such as Deacon Dele Adesina (SAN) to resolve this and several other issues confronting lawyers and Nigeria as a nation.”
Apart from Adesina’s capacity to manage the NBA with experience and maturity, Daudu observed that Nigeria “is in dire straits. As a result, this is not the time to have the Bar led by novices in the art of conflict management.”
He added that the country “is plagued by severe security challenges in the nature of unrestrained kidnapping of our citizens, highway robbery, financial defalcations and malfeasances in government circles and the frittering away of the common patrimony of Nigerians.”
He said the country was plagued with refusal to abide by the clear principles of the rule of law, the assault on the independence of the judiciary, the continuous disregard for the fundamental rights of Nigerians, increased criminality in the land, corruption and general ungodliness.
“I have read the manifestos of all the presidential candidates in this election and in my humble view, only Dele Adesina SAN proffers reasonable solutions to the myriad of problems listed above.
“The Nigerian Bar again has a unique opportunity to right its keeling ship of state with this impending election. If however the wrong hands are brought on Board, the ship will no doubt sink and disappear under water.
“Whether it can then be salvaged, or a new ship procured will be a matter for another discussion. In summary, experience and reliability cannot be ignored in this election.
“It is to our peril that we allow factors such as sectionalism, ethnic sentiments, parochialism, petty hatred of competent candidates to govern our choice for Presidency and other National Officers of the Bar.
“Let us put our hands together and bring on board, the man of the moment, the man who can effortlessly deliver the goods, the man- Dele Adesina SAN. I endorse him for the office of President Nigerian Bar Association.”
In 48 hours’ time, he explained that the elections into the Nigerian Bar Association would have elected its national officers to run the activities of the Association for the next 2 years.
Since 2018, he explained that the dynamics of the NBA elections was altered from a delegate based one to universal suffrage-meaning all eligible members of the Bar can vote or be voted for as prescribed in the NBA Constitution.
He said: “That is where the conundrum arises. In the past 8 years or thereabout, the Body of Benchers has been calling to the Nigerian Bar an average of 5000 lawyers per year.
“This means that there is now a minimum of about 50, 000 new entrants into the profession since 2010. Before 2010 i.e. if my memory serves me well, there were less than 30, 000 legal practitioners on the Roll of Nigerian lawyers starting with the first lawyer Sapara-Williams, including those who are no longer with us.
“The effect of this arrangement is that it has made the legal profession have a majority of lawyers below the age of 10 years post-call experience,” Daudu explained.