NBA should set example for a modern association – Barr. Osigwe
Immediate past Chairman of the Abuja chapter of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and a frontline aspirant for the position of General Secretary in its forthcoming election holding in July, Barrister Mazi Afam Osigwe, has stressed the need for the highly respected association to reorganize itself to serve as a model for other associations.
Osigwe, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Administrators and associate member of Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators said in an inter interview in Abuja that if elected he would work with the president as the head of the secretariat to introduce some innovations that will further reposition NBA for the better.
According to the NBA chairman, who believes that he is eminently qualified for the General Secretary position, 'If you follow the NBA election guidelines, it talked about branches submitting a list of, getting copies of those who have paid practice fees. And I think that NBA should be run in such a way that from the record, financial records available to the secretariat, you need to know those and from which branches who have paid their dues to know the number of delegates who are qualified. People don't need to go logging piles of receipts, photocopies of receipts. And we have this issue of remittance of practice fees. Now, under the NBA resolution, the NBA branches get 10% of practice fee paid by their own members. And I think the secretariat working with the president could develop such a scheme such that the current treasurer has developed a code for branches, so that if for example, like Abuja code is 004. You make payment with a code of 004, automatically there will be instruction in the system to credit 10% of whatever that is paid to NBA Abuja, so that you don't have to have dispute about delay of payment of these fees. The NBA should be up and running and should be seen to set example for a modern association in terms of ease of doing things. I mean, you don't have to be in Nigeria to pay practice fee. All you need is to get to the payment platform, just like you would book an airline ticket. And I think we should be able to modernize NBA - in the way of doing business; the way of relating with branches, the way of making members of staff who work there to have full opportunity to grow and have a career path.'
Sharing his experience as chairman Abuja branch, the NBA General Secretary hopeful said: 'There are some areas I found most interesting and that is one, in the area of providing continuing basic education for lawyers. And that is the only area I found challenging because quite a number of our young lawyers and indeed our old lawyers could do with some level of retraining and could not afford the cost of the retraining and the branch has to source for money to either subsidize it or wholly undertake it. And one other area I found very interesting was in the area of ensuring that quacks or impostors or people who are not called to the bar are stopped from practicing law and thereby preventing them from dragging the name of the profession in the mud. And another area also is the issue of welfare of members. Now, this is one area I will say that I could not achieve as much as I set out to achieve. It was part of my campaign that I was elected chairman, I will help get land for mass housing. But in trying to get that land I realize that even though the mass housing land are supposed to be free, they are not in reality free, because officially they are no longer available and a number of companies that have acquired these land under the laudable mass housing scheme of the FCDA are now selling them to genuine developers. So in other words, individuals or companies that lack the capacity to embark on this mass housing acquire this land in order to trade them off in the open market and make money contrary to the provisions of the term which does not confer any title on the developers who were given allocation of land under the mass housing. So, we discover that there is racket going on under mass housing scheme thing and because of that the NBA could not afford the cost of buying it which goes for as low as 200 million and as high as you can imagine. So, my failure in this, is one of my regrets as chairman of NBA Abuja chapter. Another area that I also felt that we could have done better is the refusal of lawyers to subscribe to any form of insurance scheme, be it group life or accident insurance scheme. This would help lawyers in cases of accidents that lead to permanent disability or make it difficult to earn a living. Lawyers were really not interested in contributing. I cannot say whether I did this good or bad. But I think it is left for others to judge me. Some societal influence made it difficult for me to achieve the things I set out to achieve.'
FROM MICHAEL JEGEDE