NBA Lekki Forum Unveils Architectural Design of Justice Oguntade Legacy Bar Centre, Wants Proposed NBA Constitutional Amendment Shelved at Annual General Meeting

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The Lekki Forum of the Nigerian Bar Association has unveiled the architectural masterplan of its Honourable Justice George Adesola Oguntade (Retired) Legacy Bar Centre Towers and Lounge as part of her NBA AGC 2019 CPC program “Lekki Bar White Party” slated for Thursday 29th August, 2019 at Trojan Lounge situate at Addo Road, Ajah, Lekki, Lagos starting by 9.00pm. In a statement issued by Aare Oladotun Hassan, Chairman and Ayodele Ademiluyi, Secretary of the Lekki Forum of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Lekki Forum has decided to take an early step to draw up an architectural masterplan in order to avoid the trajectory of some branches that were impeded nor unable of taking the frontal initiative drive in the direction of having a Bar Centre of their own.

The statement further went to report that the furnishing and movement of furniture into the Lekki High Court Building has reached an advanced stage, in direct fulfillment of the promise of the Chief Judge of High Court of Lagos State to deliver same by the end of August towards commissioning at the New Legal Year Ceremonies in September, 2019.

The statement added that this will further boost the quest of the Lekki Forum for the accreditation of Lekki Branch. As part of its strive for the accreditation of Lekki Branch, the NBA Lekki Forum observed the proceedings of the Pre-Annual General Conference National Executive Committee held on 25th August, 2019. The Lekki Forum has submitted its application with 50 signatures for full Branch status in compliance with Section 15 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association(2015 as amended) since the February NEC.

The Lekki Forum was at the Pre-AGC NEC to network and interract towards successful realisation of the Lekki Branch.

During the course of the discussion on the proposed constitutional amendments by the Paul Usoro SAN-led administration, Mr. Wole Olanipekun SAN appealed for restraint and for a robust democratic debate of the proposed constitutional amendments instead of being rushed before the Annual General Meeting on Thursday, 29th August, 2019 for voting. He reported that he submitted a memorandum to the Professor Fabian Ajogwu-led Constitutional Amendment Committee but was told that time have lapsed for same. He was of the view that this translates to shutting out reservations on the proposed constitutional amendments. He called for an Emergency Annual General Meeting , possibly in March, 2020.

Mr. Yusuf Alli, SAN, while aligning himself with the submission of Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN submitted that there is need to defer the proposed constitutional amendments for more robust engagement.

Mr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN in his submission stated his support for the scrapping of some national offices as contained in the proposed constitutional amendments, which he said he also wanted to initiate while he was the President of the Nigerian Bar Association in 2006, but was not supported by his national officers. He was of the view that while supporting the proposal of extension of financial year of NBA from January to December of every year, debates on the constitutional amendments to be extended.

We are of the view that as the Annual General Meeting holds on Thursday, 29th August, 2019, proposed constitutional amendments which have scraped sensitive national offices, has no inclusion for young lawyers and hastily drafted should be shelved and not be set down for voting at the Annual General Meeting. We urge delegates to the Annual General Meeting to oppose and reject such preemptive moves.

We are of the view that a robust debate on the possible amendments to the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association should be initiated across the Branches with resolutions on same to be forwarded to the Constitutional Amendment Committee with an expanded tenure till April, 2019.

In alignment with the erudite submission of Mr. Wole Olanipekun SAN, an Emergency Annual General Meeting in March or April, 2020, if necessary can be called after another robust debate has taken place at the substantive October 2019 NEC.

Furthermore, in the event that the Annual General Meeting is railroaded into a pre-emptive voice voting on the proposed constitutional amendments, we appeal for an extension of time and enlarge the discussion for a thorough review, while the proposed amendment be postponed with call for “NO” votes. We must be vigilant to prevent the erosion of the remnants of democracy on the Nigerian Bar Association.

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