believe that the NBA, at the national level, is in need of urgent and
far-reaching reforms if it must retain its relevance not only in the larger
society but even to its members.  These reforms will at the minimum,
achieve four significant and immediate goals, to wit;
(a) enhance efficiency in the operations of the

(b) engender confidence and trust amongst its
members (or, as some would say, win back the confidence and trust of members
who are disengaged);

(c) transform the NBA into a sustainable
institution; and

(d) increase the moral equity of the NBA to enable
it effectively influence required reforms in the justice subsector and remain a
respected watchdog of the society.

Usoro SAN

Institutional Reforms For The NBA (Part 1)

It is currently election season in Nigeria
and many politicians have begun sharing their plans for reviving the economy, developing
infrastructure  and promoting
opportunities for Nigerians to thrive. Many Nigerians usually take these
promises with a pinch of salt because often times, these politicians hardly
live up to their word. It is a cycle we have experienced over again.

Despite this lack of trust in politicians, it
is actually brightening to note that some people still keep their promises and
one of such esteemed leaders is Paul Usoro, SAN, current President of the Nigerian
Bar Association. Many lawyers will remember the promises given by Paul Usoro
SAN during his campaign and it is a breath of fresh air to actually see the
learned silk living up to his word. In the Honorable President’s Reflections published
here. He mentioned his plan to reform the NBA, and his actions are definitely
going in that direction as illustrated below.

(a)  Promise to enhance efficiency
in the operations of the Association

According to the NBA Publicity Secretary, the next NBA NEC meeting
coming up in December will be introducing the use of less paper as participants
have been advised to come with smart devices and will be forwarded all relevant
documents for the meetings prior to the event. Thus promoting environmental
protection, cost reduction and efficiency. This is a first of its kind
initiative within the NBA.

(b) Promise to engender confidence
and trust amongst its members  

Paul Usoro has introduced corporate governance and financial
accountability at the NBA by introducing the first ever publicly published
financial statement of the NBA.

Promise to transform the NBA into a sustainable institution;

The NBA has appointed some of the best brains in the legal profession to
lead its work including; Iyabo Ogunseye, who was appointed to the Presidential
Panel on the reform of the Special Anti –Robbery Squad (SARS); Prof. Ngozi
Ezeilo, OON who was nominated to represent the NBA at the EU-Nigeria-UNODC –
CTED Partenrship III on strengthening criminal justice responses to terrorism
and violent extremism; and the nomination of Prof. Konyin Ajayi SAN as a
representative of the NBA in the council of the International Bar Association.

(d)   Promise to increase the moral equity of the NBA;

The NBA released the Report of the NBA Ad-Hoc Election
Working Group On The Rerun Gubernatorial Election held in Osun State and the
NBA’s report was fair and unbiased. The NBA raised an inquiry into the assassination
of Barrister Emeka Agundu, Chairman NBA, Obollo-Afor Branch. The NBA President
also entered talks with the Inspector – General of Police on issues bothering
on victimization of lawyers by the Police.

It has just been a few
months since the Learned Silk took up leadership of the NBA and obviously there
are still a number of far –reaching innovative strategies which Paul Usoro will
introduce to the Nigerian Bar Association. Certainly all these go with the
Honourable President’s mandate to #PuttingTheBarFirst.