Bayo Akinlade writes about how NBA has lost so much resources on irrelevant programmes.

My position about the effectiveness or otherwise of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NBA is well known. After all, my position was one of the reasons given for my suspension as chairman of NBA Ikorodu Branch by NEC in 2019. Why were the powers that be at the time, upset with my opinion which warranted my being disgraced and castigated by the then NBA leadership? It was simple, I refused to be a charlatan within my own profession and I questioned at every opportunity why NBA spends millions of naira on meetings that do not benefit anyone in the profession.

To put this in proper context; how many members know that the National Body of the NBA spends an average of N20 million on each NEC meeting? I estimate this sum because two rooms are booked for two nights for three representatives from 125 branches. These NEC reps are provided with lunch on the day of the meeting as well. 

The secretariat also spends a pretty penny organising this six hours meeting. Aside from this, each branch also spends an average of N100k of it's branch funds to send their representatives to a NEC meeting.

Now, why does NBA spend so much money on these NEC meetings which hold four times a year? Why do we spend over N500 million for national conferences yearly, spend over N200 million on Sectional Conferences yearly and probably a combined N300 million holding Law weeks and law dinners in 125 Branches yearly?

What exactly is the relevance of NBA NEC that we cannot reduce it to two times a year?

What is so relevant about national conferences that we cannot hold it once every two years?

Why must we have sectional conferences and Law weeks every year?

What is wrong if we remodel NBA administratively to hold conferences sparingly and at intervals?

Isn't it enough for each Administration to hold only one event within it's two years tenure and push funds to building the capacity of the profession?

Our courts are underfunded.

Our members increasingly have a limited practice opportunity largely because of the digital age.

Welfare for members is nearly non-existent, the best we can get is only if we die (life insurance scheme)...

What if we reduce NEC meetings to twice a year and save N40 million? With 40 million naira, we could empower 40 NBA Branches to run a PDSS Initiative for a whole year.

On the Branch level, if it takes a minimum of N4 million to host a law week and Bar dinner yearly, could we scrap the yearly event and raise N4 million to attend to members welfare and organise continuing legal education programs and still have enough to mobilize lawyers to engage in probono services?

For sections of the NBA (SPIDEL, SLP, SBL, Women's Forum and YLF) can we have conferences once in two years and raise funds to improve the infrastructures of the Judiciary, improve business environment for lawyers, build structures that empower young lawyers start-ups etc?

I struggle to see how NBA is better than the government we complain about. 

Let's not forget yearly conferences and programmes organised by our religious, gender, practice, socio-political law groups.

NBA could be far more better and can do far more than we have done so far.

I therefore urge lawyers around the country to start thinking ahead. Our disinterest in the workings of our NBA has caused us many setbacks in this profession. All lawyers (Bar and Bench) need to sit up and take ownership and responsibility for our Association.

To fix Nigeria, we need to fix our immediate constituent.

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