From 19th to 26th of August 2022, the City of Lagos (Centre of Excellence), will host the 62nd Annual General Conference (AGC) of Africa’s largest professional body, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

In a recent chat with ThisDay Lawyer, Mr. Tobenna Erojikwe, the Chairman of the NBA Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP), noted that this year’s Conference is a legacy conference for the Olumide Akpata-led administration of the NBA. Below are some of the reasons. 

The theme of this year’s Conference is Bold Transitions. Conferees shall be witnessing some new thinking in a bold way. This new thinking seeks to find solutions to the resulting effects of various transitions – from energy transitions to technology transitions, as well as transitions in the Nigerian political and democratic space. Beyond this, the TCCP Chair also notes that the theme marks the end of the current NBA leadership and the transition to the next. Thus, the theme is said to celebrate –

The innovative schemes of the current administration of the NBA such as the creation of an NBA Stabilisation Fund, the Access to Finance Scheme, the introduction of an affordable health insurance scheme, the various free trainings and career development initiatives driven by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, amongst others. 

From a close study, we have identified some other key talking points on why the NBA-AGC 2022 promises to surpass previous conferences and how the Chairman of the TCCP and his team hope to deliver on the lofty ideas of the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata.

Whispers from Eko Atlantic City

The NBA-AGC 2022 will be hosted at a bold site – the Eko Atlantic City – with a world-class conference village. In addition, conference delegates will also have the opportunity to tour the Eko Atlantic City, described as “a beacon for international business and tourism.” 

The Meta Effect

The NBA-AGC 2022 promises a virtual participation with some taste of comfort for those who may not be able to attend the Conference physically. Thanks to Meta. According to the TCCP Chairman, Mr. Erojikwe, the NBA has partnered with notable technology companies including Meta (owners of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) to deliver a digital experience that competes with physical attendance at the Conference.

What is exciting about this is that, according to the TCCP Chair, the virtual participation arrangement on ground “obviates the need to set up viewing centres in other parts of Lagos, or indeed, any other parts of the country (as it used to be). All that needs to be done is to register for virtual attendance, and log in when the Conference commences. Virtual participation is also available to all delegates who are registered for the Conference.”

Chimamanda with the Keynote Address

World renowned writer and charismatic thought leader, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, will be delivering the keynote speech at the Conference. Chimamanda’s voice on contemporary issues has echoed on high platforms of dignifying relevance. In a gathering of noble minds, it is a great idea to listen to a woman whose literary works have gained nobility across the globe. Though not a lawyer, she is not a stranger to the assembly of lawyers as she has delivered remarkable speeches at some notable Law Schools including Yale Law School.

A peep into the 2023 elections

As Nigerians expect political transition following the forthcoming 2023 elections, the NBA has invited leading presidential candidates for the election (in no particular order) – Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Rabiu Kwankwaso who are expected to speak on democratic transitions. Discussions will touch on the role of law in society, issues that are fundamental to our existence as citizens of Nigeria, and specifically, as lawyers. These discussions are expected to advance conversations regarding the future of our nation, even as we look on with optimism towards a free and fair 2023 general elections.

A whole day for NBA affairs

Day 2 of the NBA-AGC 2022 is termed ‘The Legal Profession in Transition’. On this special day, Nigerian Lawyers will have the unprecedented opportunity to discuss matters that affect them. According to Mr. Erojikwe, “Day 2 presents the legal profession with a unique opportunity to look at its objectives and have a conversation regarding the state of play with issues like regulation of the profession, review of the rules of professional conduct, ethics, financing and finances of the Association, justice delivery, security agencies brutality against Lawyers, amongst others… There will be four breakout sessions on Day 2, all of which have been designed to revolve around the development of individual legal practitioners and collective growth of the legal profession in Nigeria.”

Creative Talents Show for Lawyers

Lawyers who registered for the Conference would have the opportunity to showcase their talents and to perform at the Conference. This brilliant initiative recognises members with creative talents. 

Female lawyers with babies are covered

As part of the idea to ensure that no one is left behind due to some domestic constraints, creche arrangements have been made to cover lawyers, especially our female lawyers with babies.

Lawyers with disabilities

In order to achieve the policy of inclusiveness and equality in the affairs of the Bar, lawyers living with disabilities who face diverse and peculiar challenges are recognised and catered for. We recall that it was in this regard that the present NBA administration in 2021 established the Lawyers with Disabilities Forum, which is said to be the first of its kind in the history of the NBA. This is in addition to the NBA Welfare Committee which caters for the needs of all its members, including those living with disabilities.

Therefore, at the NBA-AGC 2022, one of the sessions on Day 3 of the Conference will focus on lawyers with disabilities. There will be sessions which will consider the peculiar challenges faced by lawyers with disabilities both in practice and as members of the NBA, in a bid to proffer practical solutions towards achieving inclusiveness and equality. The discussions will also assess the impact and level of implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 and the level of adoption, domestication and implementation of the law by States of the Federation.

NBA Inter-branch Female Football Competition

This is first of its kind. Our female lawyers are given the opportunity to join their male counterparts in showcasing their talents for the round-leather game. This has become inevitable given the level of development in world female football. More so, the present administration of the NBA believes there is no limit to the policy of all-inclusiveness and equality. 

In sum, these and many more will undoubtedly make the Conference a memorable one for all participants who made the bold decision to be part of the history-making event.

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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