June 14, 2024

Dawn of a New Era: Challenges for Incoming NBA Body By Raphael Christopher

The dance beats fall silent. The online clicks of the ballot stops. The dust settles. No victors or vanquished. Only winners.

Is this the new Masquerade dance off? No. It is the dawn of a new NBA pregnant with so much prospect and promise of new reformed NBA that will be fit for purpose.

Yet, there are many challenges ahead. A rocky road full of potholes of complaints of marginalisation of young lawyers, the Covid landscape, low respect society has of lawyers plus and the revitalisation and repositioning of the NBA as champions of the rule of law, a defender of democracy, respected and endowed with dignity by the society it seeks to serve.

There are the international challenges
of being premier bar in all of Africa and thus a role model for other African countries.

Reform is much needed and although the reform has already started with the outgoing NBA body, the just concluded elections according to many commentators was the easiest to track with regular updates. It is not perfect as many votes were not received for one reason or the other.

The incoming NBA team now needs to operate an open door inclusive Bar that is fully digitised with an overriding emphasis on unity across the board so the NBA speaks with one voice.

It is the truth that Young lawyers are the future of the law profession and as such they should be accorded respect and the dignity they deserve and a well thought out package to help them thrive in our profession.

Mental health and stress management help and support should be a key performance area for the incoming NBA.

Furthermore, dialogue should be opened with all interest groups and the National Secretariat so their voices, ideas and inputs could be utilised. The National communication strategy needs to have a closer liaison with local branches and availability provided for the local branches .

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all areas of our society and is here to stay and many lawyers are suffering with little or no income. Many can not afford to own their own computers to use to access virtual hearings. Many lawyers are shutting down their offices because not enough income is coming in that is enough to pay rent.

The situation for some is dire.

It does not need to be so.

Many lawyers are exasperated at the stamps system and the process is not streamlined enough to help the practitioner get hold of the stamp and seal easily and with minimum of fuss.

The task ahead is Herculean but we cannot leave the same to our elected officials. No. We must join them, help them and give them our support.

Together, we can make a difference and receive an NBA that works for all of us.

Christopher is a Senior member of Enugu Bar, a humanitarian, Law Lecturer and author of several articles, books and publications.

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