By Bode Akinwumi
The Annual general Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association is currently underway in Lagos.
Ondo State Governor who was the President of the foremost association of legal minds in 2008 is attending the conference as the first Nigerian to be its former President and now a State Governor.
This development was amply noted when the Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), got thunderous acknowledgements from his fellow lawyers during recognitions at the welcome dinner which began the conference.
The 217 Annual General Conference of the NBA is seeking to scale up the capacities of its members towards coming up with best practice’s in global business undertakings through sound legal framework that will ultimately help advance the economy of Nigeria and Africa; hence the theme, “African Business: Penetrating Thorough Institution Building”.
According to the Chairman, 2017 Technical Committee on Conference Planning, Professor Konyin Ajayi SAN, the conference theme has multidimensional objectives.
“The theme is to inspire, teach and challenge members of the Bar to take their place on the wall of construction; in building the growth gap between the Bar and the business world; in bridging the development gap between the African Bar and the International Bar; in creating a stone wall of African institutionalism; in building the bridge between the Bar and government; and thus, leaving a legacy for our continent and the society at large”, he said.
In his welcome address, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Mahmoud ,SAN,stated that the conference is organized against the backdrop of the challenges facing the legal profession, Nigeria and the African Continent, saying that the theme is carefully chosen to underscore the challenge of bringing prosperity to Africa’s most populous country and by extension, to the continent.
“The decline of our country’s economic fortunes in the last few years has exacerbated tensions along our traditional fault lines whilst unmasking new ones, making the task of nation building seem even more daunting.
“To rebuild confidence into our country, it is clear that we must address the challenges of institution building. It is only strong institutions that can guarantee social protection, bring about political stability and engender economic prosperity”, he said.
The NBA President who maintained that no other profession has the vantage position to lead the transformative journey into a new Nigeria than the Legal Profession, described this year’s conference as one of several strategic initiatives by the NBA, targeting the development of the individual lawyer and law firms within the wider context of institution building as a prerequisite for social and political stability and sustainable economic development in Africa.
He commended the assembled world leaders, global thinkers, local business and leading professionals from the public and private sectors as well as the academia who made the think-tank to speak and deliberate on topical national and continental issues around the conference theme.
At the first day of plenary sessions during which delegates engaged the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on the “Role of Government in creating institutions to foster investment in Nigeria”, the Vice President assured that steps were being to taken to accelerate judicial processes in Nigeria.
While reiterating the commitment of the Buhari Administration to the fight against corruption and insecurity, Professor Osinbajo said there are already ample evidences of government’s commitment to running a transparent administration.
Some of the dignitaries who graced the event were; Nigeria’s First female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Folake Solanke, SAN ; Chief Olusola Oke , SAN ; Chairman of OSOPADEC, Hon Gbenga Edema; Commissioner-designate, Rt Hon Taofeek Abdusallam; the Ikare Akoko NBA Chairman, Alhaji Olanrewaju Kazeem; his Akure counterpart, Mr.Osho Adetunji, Chief Magistrate Awodeyi L., Steve Alabi among others.