The AGM 2023 presents a drama that should offer a lesson to all particularly concerning the impasse between the President and members of the executive committee. The second Vice President blazed the trail of complaints of being sidelined in his duties. The third Vice President followed and the Treasurer sealed it by announcing that she did not sign the Financial Report because she was not privy to its preparation.

The President rightly refused to be shielded by a half-mile intervention by former President, O. C. J. Okocha, SAN. He stated his side of the case, the summary of which was that the executive committee was on his neck to spend members' BPF on frivolities which he refused.

At the 2019 AGM, there was the proposition that aspirants to the office of President and General Secretary must be capable of sustaining themselves (can't remember how it was couched). I led the revolt against the proposed amendment. Reason: You do not need to be rich to serve. And, a lawyer is a rich man even if he is hungry! That is what has come to the fore again at the AGM.

The fact needs to be stated that while the President was right to the extent that he has the singular duty of protecting the funds of the association, the activities of the officers must be funded. If the President can afford to use his money to fund official activities, I give him kudos because I will do the same. But those who cannot afford it must not be forced albeit they must not be allowed excess.

If the constitution enjoins the Vice Presidents to organize and visit branches and recommend new branches, they must be mobilised to do so. If the President earmarks N2 million for each Vice President for that, it is not so much. Let the Vice President then manage his/her resources. (S)He may spend more or less. But the job must be done.

I agree with Mr. President that it is not the duty of the Bar to register its officers for IBA. But there is no sin in sponsoring one or two registered officers on the basis of performance or half sponsoring those who are ready to shoulder half. That is the perquisite of office. 

Saving money is not the same as hoarding money. In this case, the President, with all due respect, is hoarding money. It does not help any association. Branches organise parties at AGM for members, so, organising parties at IBA is no sin. Spend our money but reasonably. It is not all about the general welfare.

Those who want it should also go around 125 branches, EBF, NBF, MWBF, and Egbe. Add FIDA, AWLA, sessions, ceremonies, offices, and numerous leaders and colleagues in more than one year. Not counting messages and parties.

Corruption must be distinguished. Nobody should be enriched in service. The President curbed excesses no doubt, but it appears to me that the President has cut some skins with the nails.

S. O. K. Shillings Esq.

Post a Comment