By Eric Rotgak Goler, ESQ
At the close of the Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference today, in Portharcourt, the garden city, the Augustine Alegeh, SAN led executive shall give way to what we now call ‘ A Brave New Bar’ which had been the campaign slogan of the in-coming President the very respected A B Mahmoud. This has been made possible by the FCT High Court which refused a motion for restraining order against such inauguration.
While there may be pending controversy over the July 30 and 31st election of the NBA, the coast is now clear for Mr. Mahmoud to ascend the throne and carry out the much needed reforms in our association. One which readily comes to mind is the present reputation of our legal profession which has been in the gutters lately. The new bar has to be a lot different, lawyers have recently been involved in practices which have not only been disgraceful to the profession but even the judiciary. A situation where cases bothering on the same facts and same parties are being filed at different courts of coordinate jurisdiction is just appalling. Lawyers, senior lawyers at that who are involved in this kind of practice must be queried.
As ministers in the temple of justice, it lies on our shoulder the onus to protect our democracy which has been put on trial recently. Our duty is to protect the Nigerian people from the antics of the unscrupulous political class which has devised multiple means of destroying this democracy. The Bar must be brave, to speak out when necessary damning the consequences. The Bar must also be brave to punish its members who stray from the age long tenets of our profession no matter their status, and that is what I call bravery.
With a consummate professional like Mahmoud, and a very disciplined fellow in his own right, ‘A Brave New Bar’ is possible. Welcome to a new dawn.
Eric Rotgak Goler is a legal practitioner in attendance at the 56th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Portharcourt.