Sixty two Branch Secretaries of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has issued a strong worded protest letter to the President of the Association against the proposal to remove Branch Secretaries from being a compulsory members of the National Executive Committee of the Association.

In the letter sighted by Legaldeskng, the Secretaries alleged a political plot against them by an unnamed group within the Association.

READ THE FULL LETTER BELOW

SECRETARIES OF NBA BRANCHES

 

Plot 2006, Kukawa  Close, Off Makurdi Street, Area  10, Abuja.

08138741185,08061208875,08033900120

18″ October, 2021.

 

The President,

Nigerian Bar Association, National  Secretariat,

NBA House

Plot 1101, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Garki Abuja.

 

Sir,

 

LETTER  OF  PROTEST/  THE  FIRM  POSITION  OF  ALL  SECRETARIES  OF NBA BRANCHES  IN  RESPECT TO THE PURPORTED  PLANS  TO  REMOVE SECRETARIES  FROM    BEING   NEC   MEMBERS   IN    THE    RECENTLY PROPOSED NBA CONSTITUTIONAL  AMENDMENT

The above subject  matter  refers. We are Secretaries to Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Branches and we write in that capacity.

Mr. President,  we must  start this piece by acknowledging  your laudable  and remarkable leadership  of the Nigerian  Bar Association  (NBA) right from your assumption  of office till date. By our assessment you have performed marvelously well, and we urge you sir to continue to keep the light shining.

Having   said  that   sir,  we  wish  to  state  here  that  we  received  with  rude  shock  and displeasure  a  sudden,  but  deliberate  and  collusive  move  by  certain  members  of  the Association  to change  an age  long tradition  of the  Bar. We mean the recent  attempt  to remove  Branch  Secretaries  from the membership  of National  Executive  Council (NEC) in the proposed NBA Constitutional  amendment.  We refer you sir to Article 8 of the said proposed  Constitution.  Such move to our minds is unguided  and unwarranted given the important functions performed by Branch Secretaries.

Sir, you are aware that for decades now Branch Secretaries have always  been members  of NEC  by virtue of their  office  and we wonder  what  has so much  changed  to bring about this recent move. You will agree with us that by the extant NBA Constitution,  a Secretary of NBA Branch  occupies a very important position if not the very heart of the Branch  as far as the  running  of the  Branch  is concerned. We have no doubt  in our minds  that  it is because   of  the   important   functions   of  the   office  that   the   founding   fathers   of  the Association  made  Secretaries  members  of NEC. Secondly  sir, we strongly  believe  that one  of the  reasons why  Branches’  Chairmen  and Secretaries were  made  statutory  NEC members  is to avoid a situation where a Branch may not be represented  at meeting simply because the Chairman  is not disposed to attend meeting.

Of course, this protest is not just about us as individuals as some of us have less than two years  to  stay  as Branch  Secretaries.  Rather  it is for  the  interest  of the  Association  in general   and  the  office   of  Secretaries  in  particular.   It  is  important   to  note  that   our predecessors  in office  were NEC members  until they  left office. Therefore,  history  will not  be  fair  to  us,  if  it  is  during  our  tenures  that  Secretaries  are  removed  from  NEC memberships   without  any  justifiable   reason  and  also  against  the  wishes  of  Branch members who elected us as Secretaries to represent their interests at NEC.

Mr. President,  we wish to remind you sir, that the past and successive NBA leaderships that made Branch Secretaries NEC members,  did that  for a good course. We are proud to say  that   for  ages  now,  Secretaries  have  effectively   and  efficiently  represented  their Branches  at  NEC  level and have  not  been  found  wanting  in any  form to  warrant  this recent untoward  move to exclude them from NEC membership.

Sir,  we  do  not  know  the  reason  why  the  present  leadership  that  most  of  us  worked tirelessly  to  bring  into  power  wants  us  removed  from NEC  memberships.  And  at  the same time,  we do not want  to speculate as to the  reason(s)  for that.  Rather  we wish to firmly condemn the recent move to exclude us from being NEC members by person(s) or group   of  persons.  By  our  calculations   sir,  the   removal   of  secretaries   from  NEC membership  is tantamount to removal of the Branches itself from being part of NEC.

Sir, if there  is a need to reduce NEC membership  certainly not Branch secretaries. Permit us to  ask  sir,  what  is the  relevance  of retaining  past  officials  and  over  180 co-opted persons  as NEC members?  As far as we are concerned,  we see no wisdom  in that  other than  trying  to  copy  secular politics  into  Bar politics. Certainly  the  removal  of Branch Secretaries is not to reduce NEC membership.  But as lawyers we should always endeavor to do something differently and set a pace for others to follow. Honestly  sir, we view this move as a political gang-up  against the office  of Branch Secretaries.   And such does not go down well with us and we will to the extent that  law permit resist the move.

If NBA has any modicum of understanding  of the very essence of the offices of Branch Secretaries,  then  its  removal  from  membership   of  a very  important  decision  making organ of the body should never be contemplated  under any guise whatsoever.  We submit that  it will  be highly  undemocratic   for an  association  that  preaches  the  rule  of law to sacrifice   democratically   elected  branch   secretaries   and  replace  them   with   co-opted members who are mostly handpicked.

We crave  your  indulgence  as talk-and-do  President  to immediately  halt  such collusive move   deliberately   targeted   against   us  by   some   interest   seeking   members   of  the Association for the overall interest of peace and harmony that has always existed between the national  body and Branches.  This primarily is a call to avert rancor and disharmony that may arise if this issue is not immediately addressed.

Thanks for your understanding  and accept the assurances of our esteemed regards.


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