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Order Of Precedence: Attempts By BOSAN To Undermine Office Of The NBA President Have Become Intolerable And Condemnable — Jonathan Taidi

A Former General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Jonathan Taidi Esq has berated what he described as recurring attempts by members of the inner bar represented by the Body of Senior Advocates (BOSAN) to undermine the office of the NBA President, Olumide Akpata.

His criticism comes on the heels of a controversy of the order of precedence at the recently held valedictory session at the Supreme Court in honour of Retired Justice Ejembi Eko where the Body of Senior Advocates allegedly pressurised the Supreme Court Registrar to alter the programme of events and have its representative come up before the NBA President, Olumide Akpata.

Reacting to the development which has sparked controversy in the Association, Taidi who was the General Secretary between 2018-2020 described the moves by BOSAN as becoming intolerable and deserving of condemnation and even sanction.

He wrote: “The recurring attempts by some senior members of the inner bar to undermine the office the NBA President have become intolerable and deserving of serious condemnation, even sanction. A series of egregious actions which seek to reduce the leadership of the bar has recently come to fore and it is clear that a group within the inner bar is determined to wage an unnecessary war of attrition on the NBA, which is the umbrella body of all lawyers in Nigeria.

The latest of these catalogue of breaches is the attempt to subvert the existing order of precedence during the Valedictory Court Session in honour of retiring Justice of the Supreme Court Ejembi Eko, J.S.C. where some senior members of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) caused the altering of the existing protocol which rightly recognizes the President of the NBA ahead of the Chairman of BOSAN.”

In a statement made available to The Lawyer, he stressed that the NBA President is the President of all lawyers in Nigeria, be they members of BOSAN or not.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the NBA President is the president of all, irrespective of whether or not they belong to BOSAN, or whether or not they belong to the inner bar or outer bar.”

According to him, the judicial system of this country has serious problems requiring immediate remedy, issues that go to the very heart of the practice of law in this country, issues that should rather engage the erudite minds of our senior advocates instead of this quibbling over who should be recognized first at a public forum.

He further suggested thus: “that BOSAN as a body focuses its efforts on mentorship in its respective jurisdictions and preparing young minds to take maximum advantage of emerging opportunities for legal practice. Indeed, rather than engage in a needless tussle vide order of precedence, BOSAN will do well to ensure that its members who have been indicted for all kinds of infractions receive the discipline they deserve.”

He also urged BOSAN to carry out self introspection and fish out it members who have soiled the image of the profession through underhanded practices for disciplinary measures rather than engage in a fruitless contest to exert supremacy over the NBA President.

“In other words, rather than this tendency to use every opportunity to undermine the Bar leadership, it is advisable that BOSAN directs its energies at redressing some very gross acts committed by the rank of its membership, some of which are so heinous that they are included in the law reports. Undoubtedly, such acts are inimical to the progress of the noble profession and should be discouraged.

It bears repeating that attempts at undermining the status of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association are unwarranted from anyone, and even more invidious when they come from an associate body like BOSAN.”

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