IMO NBA ON SABBATICAL LEAVE
The human society world-over has component spheres, structures and institutions which cooperative conviviality makes for a harmonious existence of the individual man as well as man as a member of the corporate personality. Each of the segments has its peculiar functions, specializations and areas of interest, which in a collective responsibility pushes the society forward.
Consequently, every human cultural community, as a social entity has domains of life that include the material and immaterial, the bonding and the compelling, the maintenance and the guardian, etc. These in further splitting give rise to the political, social, economic, cultural, religious, agricultural, commercial, educational, legal and spiritual institutions, which in turn have their specialized agencies and departments that each human community today has.
It is in this backdrop that there are law, legal institutions and professional or specialized agencies therein the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) finds and has existential bases, operational mandates and duties. But the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) nationwide has practically gone on recess, especially in Imo State. This sabbatical leave has been over-stretched too to the extent that the existence of the (NBA) is only felt by visual perceptions of such inscriptions on vehicle windscreens, in current affairs pages as acronyms and in some other places where it exists as graffiti, etc.
Every corporate and professional body has constitution, codes of conduct, aims and objectives, as well as enshrined functions that hold its existence and which dedicated observances or executions not only contribute to societal cooperation and its effect but also to the commongood of the public. Such body as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has ample benefits to the members alone (as an umbrella body) but also has benefits to the lay citizens whose compatriots NBA members are.
Certainly, the entire objectives of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) could be summarized as the move for the accomplishment of justice and equity in the human society, and whose custodian and bastion they are, as it is in the old declaration, ubi societas ubi jus. To abandon such corporative objective for any cause that is humanly engineered is not only detrimental to its authentic existence but also to the human society whose members they are.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Imo State from all indications and evidences, have been on a very long vacation, refurbishing only their own welfare and not minding the plights of their co-citizens who should as well benefit from the Association. This vacation has triggered the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to embark on absolute negligence of their duties, to keeping silence even in cases of obvious abuse and no regards for law and judicial processes in the administration of Gov. Okorocha.
A good look at Governor Okorocha's approach in the awards of contracts in the State, without due processes or contract law procedures, his methods of constituting panels and committees, etc., show the total absence of legal discipline and as such needs to be reminded or prodded to legal alertness and awareness.
He needs to be corrected. The Legislative Arm of Government rarely or occasionally does same alerting, especially in cases of extreme abuses and contraveneance of the law and judicial processes. The Members of the Imo State House of Assembly (IMHA) themselves often commit their own aberrations of judicial procedures without any legal body reminding them of the negligence of judicial and legal processes or picking up such aberrations.
The recent impeachment exercise of the former Deputy Governor, Sir Jude Agbaso, is a fresh and clear instance of the aberration of legal processes and stipulations in the State, without any official legal busy intervening to correct the aborted due process. One would ask the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), whether it has lived up to the expectation of Nigerians and Imolites in particular, whether it has operated in accordance with its corporate aims and objectives when the members of the Association rehearse the processes passed to impeach Sir Jude Agbaso.
It was obvious that even before the court and the 7-man committee report, the atmosphere of the Imo State House of Assembly (IMHA) testifies that Sir Jude Agbaso is gone already. Where in the world is an impeachment letter of a deputy Governor not conveyed to the Governor through a letter (but through another means, perhaps Phone Call) from the house Assembly Clerk? Where in the world has anyone seen that the Governor sent the nominee for the deputy Governor's position not through the acknowledgement of his receipt of such letter from the Clerk of the House? Where in the world has anyone herd that while an investigating panel set up by the House is still on with the investigating activities, the House itself is busy at the same time with the impeachment exercise, while the State Governor has sent replacement nominee to the House even as it is still sitting for the impeachment?
In advance democracy as in Europe, America and Asia, where human rights are respected, such impeachment and investigative processes would be challenged by the citizens, interest groups and professional bodies; notably the legal. It is only in Imo State that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other professional bodies could keep silent over such aberrations of legal processes, sacrificing justice on the altar of solidarity and sacred adoration of the Chief executive's wishes? Can somebody's personal wishes be above the law? Let Agbaso be impeached if it suits his case but let the process be duly followed.
It is still fresh in our memory that during the Junta regimes, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) nationwide was known with the outspokenness of its members against aberrations of legal and judicial processes. The learned colleagues then fearlessly battled the Military leaders who operated by edicts. Why should the same body fear and withdraw to the shell like snails during democratic era (when in the actual sense they should be outspoken the stronger) and before clear aberrations of human rights, of legal and judicial due process, etc. What could be alleged as the cause of their sudden disappearance from the scene of justice and rectitude? The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) needs to wake up from slumber and pick up to the implications of his objectives and duties.
BY PROF NATHAN PROTUS UZORMA email [email protected]