I have just seen on social media, a copy of a letter purportedly written by a learned SAN, suggesting that the Presidency of the NBA has been and must remain the exclusive preserve of those conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. I do not agree with him because a privilege is not a right.
Sadly, the respected SAN is entrapped by a mentality that overstretches a privilege for a right or takes respect too far for fear. In either case, abuse of power is inevitable. What is the proportion of Senior Advocates in the membership of the Nigerian Bar Association? We don’t need the services of a Mathematical Chike Obi to know that they constitute an infinitesimal number. As respected and highly revered the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN is, there is no rule or law in the Legal Practitioners Act or the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association, that makes the rank a relevant requirement to become the President of the Association.
The letter by the learned Senior Advocate is almost offensive to common sense, and it demeans the immutability of the democratic principle of majority rule and the rights of members of the Nigerian Bar Association to aspire to ANY position of their choices in the Association, subject only to the rules and regulations as enshrined in the Constitution of the Association.
I have no doubt that his argument is restricted to a few of his kind because, there are many members of the respected rank of SAN who do not share his views and have openly canvassed and endorsed Olumide Akpata for the position of the President of the NBA. For their sake, we will maintain peace and civility, but we will resist any attempt to circumvent the due process and impose any person by whatsoever rank he may be known by men, in this dispensation or in the ones hereafter, as President of the NBA.
There is a time for everything and there a time for everyone. Now it is our time and now it is Olumide Akpata for the President of the Nigerian Bar Association. Take notice!
• Abulu is an Abuja-based lawyer.