Legal Nigeria

“Beyond Recording Minutes”


Distinguished Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Life Benchers, Benchers, Seniors and Colleagues. My name is Joyce Oduah a Legal Practitioner and the Founder and Managing Partner of Joyce Oduah & Co., a full-service commercial law firm situate at Festac Town, Lagos. I was called to the Nigerian Bar on the 10th of December 1991, and since then, I have constantly engaged in legal practice comprising of both litigation and commercial transactions. By virtue of my practice, I have garnered over 29 years’ experience in various aspects of legal practice including but not limited to litigation, corporate commercial, dispute resolution, mergers & acquisitions, labour & employment, aviation, oil & gas, energy, tax, intellectual property, general corporate advisory and company secretarial services. I am a committed financial member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) Nigeria and Eastern Bar Forum (EBF). Also, I am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (FICMC), an Associate member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and a member of the International Bar Association (IBA).
As a committed member of the NBA, I have served our noble Association relentlessly, gallantly and altruistically in various capacities, both at the Branch and National Level. I have served the Lagos Branch of the NBA as 1st Assistant Secretary from 2000 to 2002; as Publicity Secretary from 2007 to 2009; and as Social Secretary from 2009 to 2011. At the National level, I served as the National Treasurer from 2012 to 2014. In addition to the elective offices as enumerated above, I have been a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NBA for many years and have been appointed into many other committees both at the Branch and National levels. Auspiciously, during my tenure, I discharged my responsibilities in a dignified manner, and offered laudable services and contributions toward the advancement of our dear Association.
As a result of my legal practice, especially in the corporate world, I am well versed in company secretarial activities, administration, records keeping, corporate governance, regulatory compliance etc. Also, my many years of service to the bar has illuminated my understanding on the secretarial reforms required at the NBA National Secretariat. Bearing this in mind, I therefore, with the greatest respect and humility, and with a high sense of responsibility present myself as a candidate for the position of the General Secretary of the NBA in the forthcoming NBA General Elections, scheduled to hold from the 29th to 30th of July 2020.

Prior to declaring my intention to run for the Office of the General Secretary of the NBA, I had, over the years, gathered many thoughts and ideas on how to make the NBA National Secretariat more efficient and vibrant. My aspiration to serve as the General Secretary is, thus, born out of many years of deep reflection and the desire to contribute tremendously to the advancement of the Bar. To this extent, I have enumerated below, my blueprint for the NBA when elected the General Secretary. These plans listed are, however, non-exhaustive. My agenda is not only to embark upon and pioneer innovations at the NBA National Secretariat, but also to advance and consolidate on the good legacies and reforms introduced by our past and present leaders. As a respecter and promoter of the rule of law, my agenda and responsibilities will be discharged in accordance with the requirements of the NBA Constitution and in a dignified manner. As you will find, my agenda goes “beyond recording minutes” at the Association’s meetings. Indeed, I consider it a great honour and privilege to present to you, my distinguished Colleagues, my agenda for the NBA.

2.1. Effective Management and Revamping of the NBA National Secretariat
The Office of the NBA General Secretary is saddled with the enormous responsibility of, amongst others, managing the NBA National Secretariat by virtue of Section 8 Subsection 5 (e) of the 2015 NBA Constitution as amended and adopted by the Annual General Meeting held in Lagos on 29 August 2019 (the NBA Constitution). My plan, therefore, is to revamp the NBA National Secretariat and make it more responsive, effective and efficient in line with international and modern best practices. The National Secretariat is the engine house of the Association, and I believe if properly and effectively managed, it can reposition the Bar as a force to reckon with both internationally and locally. This is because the National Secretariat is entrusted with administrative duties for the Bar. I am not oblivious of the laudable efforts and reforms by the current administration in transforming the NBA into a sustainable institution. Therefore, when elected as the NBA General Secretary, I will advance these reforms and also introduce new ideas for the effective management of the National Secretariat. In revamping the National Secretariat, I will bring the following ideas and programs to bear;

a. An ICT based Innovative Secretariat: It is no news that we are in the information age wherein virtually everything is tech or internet driven. The ongoing Covid19 pandemic has culminated in a forced lockdown that has further reemphasized the importance of technology as most now work on the internet from home. Lord Denning in the celebrated case of Parker v Parker (1954) All E.R p.22 noted that “… if we never do anything which has not been done before we shall never get anywhere. The law will stand still whilst the rest of the whole world goes on. That will be bad for both.” The future is about technology and the NBA must progress with the world by warmly embracing it.
Upon being elected as General Secretary, I will work to introduce technology into the functioning of the NBA by creating an NBA app which will serve as a one stop platform for every member of the association. This will engage and synergize the stakeholders – lawyers, law firms, 128 branches of the NBA and enhance easy access to NBA resources and materials.
The app will have three main features; Administrative; online payment of dues, lawyers directory, membership verification, requesting and receiving stamps and seal, information dissemination, etc.; Social; serve as uniting platform for lawyers, contain the links to the various social media platforms and forums for lawyers and contain the trending legal news and videos etc.; and Career Advancement; it will also contain an e-library for easy sourcing of legal resources through partnership with online law reports and schools, contain employment opportunities for lawyers, have career advancements training openings and serve as a veritable networking platform especially to the benefit of young lawyers etc.
Asides the app, I would establish the Official NBA Call Centre which shall be more responsive and effective than the current NBA contact line that we have. The Call Centre will operate for 24 hours, with at least 4 mobile numbers from the leading telecommunication companies in Nigeria. I believe this will facilitate speedy response to our colleagues’ complaints and inquires and will make the Secretariat accessible to all members, particular lawyers who reside outside Abuja and Nigeria.
Also, I will endeavour to ensure that the secretariat in general accede to global digital and media standards that will enable it conduct media and virtual meetings and conferences not only with members of the NBA or executives of the branches but also with the domestic and international public.

b. Directory of Lawyers: In line with creating an ICT based Secretariat, I will also maintain and update annually a comprehensive E-directory of lawyers all over the country and produce same in hardcopy along with the calendar of activities of NBA. By virtue of Section 5(e)iv of the NBA Constitution, the General Secretary of the Association is saddled with the responsibility of keeping a roll of members and an up-to-date list of the Branches of the Association. One importance of keeping these records is that it enables us to ascertain the exact number of the members and branches of the Association; thus, making it easy for us to flush out impostors. In addition to the roll of lawyers, I shall, when elected General Secretary of the NBA, sustain, maintain and constantly update a verifiable database containing the details of all Nigerian lawyers. This database will contain areas of specialization of lawyers and their contact addresses. I believe such a database would positively assist individuals, government agencies and private-sector companies in identifying skilled lawyers that could assist them in handling certain specialized matters. Happily, the current NBA Administration has revamped the NBA website. Now it is easy to find a lawyer from anywhere in the world. As the General Secretary, I will ensure that the database is frequently updated with the names of all lawyers from the Supreme Court. This directory will also be accessible on the NBA App.

c. Professionalizing the National Secretariat: When elected as the NBA General Secretary, I will work with the NBA President to professionalize the NBA National Secretariat for effective and efficient service delivery to our members and the public. One of the ways I will achieve this will be to ensure that the NBA Secretariat staff undergo regular trainings and attend capacity building seminars. I believe this will enable them improve existing skillsets, acquire new ones, and at the same time boost job satisfaction. The practical implication of this will be that the day-to-day operations at the NBA National Secretariat will be handled by suitably qualified, skilled and experienced personnel. There is a report that there is no staff training policy for the NBA staff, and I feel this does not represent us as professionals. Those working for us must be equipped with the competence and expertise to be able to function professionally. When elected as the General Secretary, I will institute a well-structured staff training policy, whilst ensuring that verifiable performance monitoring indicators are put in place for optimum output.

d. Effective Records Keeping/Electronic Filing System: I believe effective record keeping and administration is key to the success and sustainability of any organization. Good record keeping is good for institutional memory and progressive development and also helps to improve accountability and transparency in an organization. Therefore, it will be my duty to ensure that the records at the NBA National Secretariat are properly kept and managed. As you know, by the provisions of Section 8(5) (e)ii & (e)iii of the NBA Constitution, the General Secretary has the responsibility of recording and keeping the minutes including attendance and summary of all decisions taken at the Annual General Meeting, Meetings of the National Executive Committee or other meetings of the Association. In addition, the General Secretary also has the duty of keeping a roll of members and an up-to-date list of Branches of the Association.
It is very vital for these records to be properly filed and stored because future references and decisions may be based on the content of the records. Unfortunately, it is now a customary practice for every administration in the NBA to vacate office with the records of their activities. This makes it difficult to achieve transparency and accountability in the NBA. The most grievous part is that, sometimes, the new administration finds it difficult to continue a good project because of unavailability of records. In this regard, I plan to establish a modern, accurate, reliable and easy to follow E-filing system for the NBA records.
An electronic filing system in addition to the old manual system will be utilized in storing our records. During handing over, proper records will be passed on to the incoming administration. I believe this will facilitate the culture of continuity and transparency at the NBA National Secretariat. All correspondence received and sent out on behalf of the NBA will be digitally filed. I shall also ensure that records of any of our publications (e.g. leaflets or newsletters) are properly kept electronically. The Reports presented at the various statutory meetings will be properly filed both manually and digitally.

e. Effective Planning and Organizing of Meetings: I believe that a productive meeting is the ultimate result of how well the meeting was planned and organized. We can no longer afford to subject our members to hardship and stress during our meetings. By the provisions of Section 8(5) (e)(i) of the NBA Constitution, the General Secretary is also saddled with the duty of summoning the Annual General Meeting, Meetings of the National Executive Committee or other meetings of the Association on the instruction of the President or in accordance with a previous decision of the National Executive Committee or pursuant to a requisition made in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. When elected as the General Secretary, I will work with the NBA President, the Welfare Officer, the Bar Centre/Programs Department of the NBA National Secretariat and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that such meetings are effectively and properly organized.
To achieve this, I will ensure, as it is our practice, for the notice and the agenda to be sent out to the attendees in good time. I will liaise with the Welfare Secretary to ensure that accommodations are also properly arranged ahead of the meetings. The meeting materials like the minutes of the previous meeting will be circulated to members vide email at least 2 days before the meeting date. This will give them ample time to study the material and effect necessary corrections. I will also ensure that meetings start in good time as scheduled. The practice of commencing meetings 3 hours behind scheduled time will not happen under my watch.

f. Effective Communication and Management of Correspondence: By the provisions of Section 8(5) (e)ii of the 2015 NBA Constitution, the General Secretary shall write and dispatch circulars, letters, and other correspondence of the Association including that of the National Executive Committee (NEC). Therefore, when I am elected as the General Secretary, I will ensure an effective communication and management of our correspondence. As we know, communication is a basis for every endeavour of man; it prompts people to act and think in certain ways and touches every sphere of human activity. I believe that the way an organization communicates through its correspondence has a fundamental impact on the organization, whether on the image, production or quality of the organization. The standard of any organization is measured by their ability or inability to handle correspondence effectively and efficiently. Therefore, my responsibility as the General Secretary will be to ensure the expert handling of our correspondence. I will ensure an expeditious response to all correspondence on behalf of the Association, and same will be properly filed.

g. Regulatory Compliance/Due Process: When elected as the General Secretary of the NBA, I will ensure that the NBA, at all times, adheres to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its operations, given that violations of regulatory compliance may result in legal punishment. As a professional body, particularly one that is constituted with lawyers, I believe we should consistently act in accordance with the requirements of the law. The NBA National Secretariat should be at the forefront of regulatory compliance. Unfortunately, it is reported that the NBA for the first time since its establishment in 1933, filed its annual returns at the Corporate Affairs Commission just last year. I find this to be an aberration. When elected as the General Secretary of the NBA, I will work with the Legal Department of the NBA National Secretariat to ensure that our activities are in compliance with the law. I will also entrench the practice of due process at the Secretariat. I will ensure that there is quorum before we hold meetings; elections are conducted in line with stipulated procedure and the NBA’s activities are in line with its objects.

h. Updating of the NBA National Secretariat Library/Establishment of National Law Library: Indeed, the importance of a library to a lawyer cannot be overemphasized. It is an indispensable asset to a legal practitioner. Just like a studio is sacrosanct to a musical artiste, the library is very essential to a lawyer. Sadly, the library at the NBA National Secretariat is not well equipped with up-to-date laws, law books and law reports. How can a law library in the NBA National Secretariat not have up-to-date Laws of the Federation and law reports? It is in recognition of the importance of the library that the NBA Constitution in Section 3 (10) makes the establishment of a National Law Library in the Country one of the objectives of the NBA.

When elected as the General Secretary, I will, in collaboration with the NBA President, equip the law library at the NBA National Secretariat with up-to-date laws, law reports and law text books on various areas of law. I believe such project will not only be beneficial to the Secretariat staff but also to our colleagues who wish to use the library. For me, the NBA library should be accessible by all lawyers. There are so many young lawyers who cannot afford to procure law reports or law text books. Lawyers in this category who practice in Abuja could use the resources in the NBA library. I will also advocate for and ensure the establishment of a fully functional e-library for the NBA National Secretariat which will be accessible to all lawyers across the Federation. In addition, I shall advocate for and equally support the creation of law libraries in the Secretariats of the NBA Branches.

i. Infrastructural Development/Completion of the NBA National Secretariat: Glaringly, the NBA National Secretariat building (NBA House) is yet to be fully completed. I sincerely salute the efforts of the past and present administration in completing some floors of the building. The importance of the NBA House cannot be overemphasized. Hence, there is urgent need to complete the NBA building. I strongly believe that, so far, the completed part of the building like the auditorium has saved the Association huge costs on venue rentals for major events, and has also been a source of additional income for the NBA. When I am elected to the office of the NBA General Secretary, I will work with the NBA President to raise funds for speedy completion of the NBA Building Project. For many years now, many candidates in the NBA National elections have promised to complete the building but failed. Regardless, I strongly believe we can complete it under my watch, considering that the NBA House project started during my administration as the NBA National Treasurer. I was a Member of the NBA National Secretariat House Fund Raising Committee and NBA Finance Committee from 2012 to 2014. We raised money that started and completed a substantial part of the NBA House. It will therefore be my utmost responsibility to ensure that the few unfinished floors are completed.

j. Speedy Processing of Complaints and Petitions: To ensure that justice is not delayed, we shall process petitions against professional misconduct speedily, objectively and professionally and provide status update on each petition via the Legal Department.

k. Entrenching Transparency and Financial Prudence: Transparency, accountability and financial prudence are fundamental features of good governance. When elected as the General Secretary, I will ensure that transparency will be the watchword in the management of the Association’s resources including its finances and assets. I shall run the NBA Secretariat in a transparent manner. We shall regularly present the secretarial report to NEC. Auspiciously, the current administration has performed excellently in the area of entrenching the principles of corporate governance in the NBA. In this regard, it will be my duty to sustain and strengthen this laudable legacy.
2.2. Reduction of Cost of Procuring NBA Stamps/Swift Production and Delivery of Stamp and Seal / Introduction of Electronic Stamp
The introduction of the NBA stamp and seal remains a commendable initiative as same has, to a great extent, helped to checkmate the incursion of fake lawyers into the legal profession. Today, legal practice is a bit more demanding than it used to be decades ago because lawyers are now mandatorily required to affix their stamp to all legal documents prepared by them. However, there are some challenges lawyers face in procuring the stamp and seal; they include, delay in production and delivery, the one-year expiry date and the cost of the stamps. Thankfully, the present administration has demonstrated successful efforts in speedy production of the stamps. In this vein, when I am elected as the General Secretary, I will advocate for and work with the NBA President to ensure swift production and delivery of the NBA stamp and seal to lawyers. I will also advocate for a reduction of the cost of procuring NBA stamp. I believe there should be an incentive for payment of bar practice fees. To further alleviate the challenges and delay in delivery of the NBA stamp, I will advocate for and ensure the introduction of electronic stamp, particularly in the face of this current global pandemic and the digitization of work.

2.3. Human Capital Development / Continuing Legal Education
As we know, learning is an endless process, and the continuous improvement of skill is a sin qua non for any professional. Apart from the traditional areas of legal practice, we now have emerging areas of law which require specialized knowledge and skills. Nigerian Lawyers must constantly improve their skills to be able to fit into these areas. In this regard, I believe the NBA has a primary role to play in encouraging human capital development and continuing legal education for all Nigerian lawyers. In fact, one of the Association’s principal objective as stipulated in Section 3 (2) of the 2015 NBA Constitution is the “Promotion and advancement of Legal Education, Continuing Legal Education, Advocacy and Jurisprudence”.
Legal practice is a very competitive venture amongst lawyers globally. Human capital development and continuing legal education is therefore necessary to advance the level of knowledge and skills of our lawyers so as to be able to compete with lawyers from other jurisdictions. When elected as the General Secretary of the NBA, I will work with the NBA President to make human capital development and continuing legal education our priority. I will ensure that a special committee on human capital development is created. The NBA committee on Continuing Legal Education will be strengthened. The NBA National Secretariat in collaboration with the NBA President and the Committee will, in addition to other programmes, sponsor training and education on various emerging areas of law. We will foster strategic partnerships with various local and foreign institutions (i.e. exchange programmes), resource persons who are part of the system and major corporate bodies (local and international) that offer specialized courses with a view to providing free or discounted courses for our members.
I believe that no amount of commitment and resources channelled into this will be too much. Our action plan is categorized into the offline and online education.
a. Offline: this will focus on actively revitalizing and ensuring optimal functioning of Institute of Continuing Legal Education by organizing workshop and seminars on a quarterly basis in all NBA zones. This will also focus on furnishing and updating the NBA library.
b. Online: a virtual continuing legal education platform will be created which will reposition the NBA secretariat for virtual continuing legal education programs and events. To achieve this, we will utilize various online channels like the NBA App which we will create and other virtual meeting platforms. This will ensure greater participation, cost effectiveness and frequency.

2.4. Establishment of NBA Liaison Offices
As we know, the NBA National Secretariat is situated at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Consequently, this has made it difficult for lawyers, particularly the ones outside the FCT, to access the Secretariat. To eradicate this difficulty, I believe it is necessary to bring the national leadership and Secretariat closer to lawyers outside the FCT. When I am elected as the General Secretary, I will advocate for and work with the NBA President as well as the NEC to establish NBA Liaison Offices in the three geopolitical zones recognized by our Constitution, viz; the Northern, Eastern and Western Zones. In the North, it will be established in Kano State. In the West, it will be established in Lagos State and in the East, it will be established in Port Harcourt. This is because of the large membership of these Branches and their proximity to other States. The NBA Constitution in Section 2 actually supports the establishment of NBA liaison offices.

2.5. Bridging the Gap Between the NBA National Secretariat and the Branches’ Secretariats
The NBA National Secretariat provides administrative services for all Nigerian lawyers. The Secretariat is the mother Secretariat to all secretariats of the NBA Branches, Sections and Fora. It is therefore very crucial that there is a synergy between the National Secretariat and that of the Branches, Sections and Fora. It is this synergy that I intend to establish when elected as the General Secretary. I will bridge the existing gap between the National Secretariat and other secretariats. I believe such synergy will boost the confidence of the branches in the National. We will constantly relate and interface with law firms, NBA branches, other Bar Associations and key stakeholders in the legal profession in new ways that are beneficial to the NBA. To achieve this, I will establish a forum of Secretaries where frequent interactions with all Branch Secretaries will be encouraged. I believe this forum will foster a more accessible and effective working relationship between the Secretariats. I will also partner with branch secretariats for the promotion of deeper bonds of amity and brotherhood in the profession.

2.6. Adequate Remuneration and Mentorship Scheme for Young Lawyers.
It is no longer news that many young lawyers in Nigeria encounter stern challenges in their career. The major challenge young lawyers face is poor and inadequate remuneration. The practical implications of this is that young lawyers find it difficult to; pay their Bar practicing fees and branch dues; pay and attend conferences and seminars; procure fashionable court regalia; pay for groceries, transport fare and even house rent. To obviate this, many senior lawyers have been consistently enjoined by the NBA to support and also properly remunerate young lawyers. Yet, the predicament remains unchanged.
I believe the issue of poor remuneration and mentorship of young lawyers should be addressed seriously at the National level, with a view of finding a lasting solution. When elected as the NBA General Secretary, I will advocate for and ensure adequate remuneration of young lawyers and mentorship scheme for young lawyers. Indeed, our young lawyers are the future of the legal profession, and I believe we all have a role in guiding and mentoring them. The National Secretariat under my watch will encourage capacity building for young lawyers.

2.7. Advancing the Welfare of all Lawyers
As a lawyer, I believe ensuring the welfare of every lawyer is top priority. In fact, under Section 3 (13) of the 2015 NBA Constitution as amended, the establishment of schemes for the promotion of the welfare, security, and economic advancement of members of the legal profession is unambiguously stated therein as one of the objectives of the NBA. It is worrisome that recent happenings and economic hardships have taken their toll on some of our members especially the young lawyers some of whom are not gainfully employed. It is therefore imperative, urgent and critical that amelioration of living conditions for lawyers be taken seriously by the NBA at the National level. When elected as the NBA General Secretary, I will advance the welfare of all lawyers by advocating for and ensuring the;
a. Creation of multiple jobs for lawyers. I will ensure that the NBA National Secretariat headed by the NBA President will engage relevant officers within government and private organizations to identify those roles for which lawyers are best suited, thus, creating jobs for lawyers. For instance, I will advocate that every legislator should appoint a lawyer as his special aid at the National Assembly.
b. Creation of NBA Welfare Foundation or Charity Funds. Factually, I am currently the President of Fountain of Life for the Needy Foundation, which is a non-governmental, non-profit and charity organization aimed at providing for the needs of indigent women, children and youths in the society. I will bring my 12 years’ experience in managing a foundation to bear in creating and managing the NBA Welfare Foundation.
c. Establishment of Housing Scheme for lawyers. This will be achieved by liaising with key stakeholders (private and public) in the housing sector to provide affordable housing for lawyers. The NBA will provide the necessary support and guarantee for members to access mortgage facilities. Also, we will partner with the Federal Mortgage Bank to enable members access and benefit from the National Housing Funds.
d. Establishment of Health insurance scheme for lawyers as is obtainable in other jurisdictions. We will achieve this by partnering with the relevant stakeholders in the insurance and health sectors. We will also create workable and affordable plans where lawyers all over the country can access hospitals in whatever state they are at minimal costs.

2.8. Public Interest Advocacy
Clearly, members of the public look up to lawyers, and in particular, the NBA, for the advancement of the rule of law and protection of fundamental human rights. The NBA is seen as a watchdog against anarchy and executive lawlessness in Nigeria. It is therefore important for the NBA to increase its effort in the area of public advocacy and litigation. Public interest advocacy cannot be ignored given its importance. For instance, it is because of public interest advocacy and litigation that Nigeria escaped the long night of military dictatorship. I believe the NBA must at all times stand against tyranny and the blatant disregard of the rule of law, which is rife across the social, economic and political strata of our nation. Public interest actions are a major tool by which this can be done. We must use public interest litigation to strengthen the judiciary and rein back impunity.
Section 3 (9) of the 2015 NBA Constitution as amended unequivocally set out as one of its objectives, the encouragement and protection of the right of access to courts at reasonably affordable fees and of representation by counsel before courts and tribunals. Again, at Section 3 (4), the Constitutions provides “the establishment, maintenance, and operation of a system of prompt and efficient legal aid and assistance for those in need but who are unable to pay for same” as one of its objectives. It is for this reason that the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) was established.
When elected as the NBA General Secretary, I will advocate for and work with the NBA President and NBA-SPIDEL to encourage public interest advocacy and litigation by the NBA. I will relentlessly advocate for access to justice by facilitating pro bono and quality legal defence and representation for poor and vulnerable persons. At the National Secretariat, I shall ensure the NBA Pro Bono Scheme is set up. I shall advocate for the NBA to collaborate with Presidential Committee on Prison Decongestion in order to develop and advocate for programmes and projects relating to prison decongestion in Nigeria.

2.9. Promotion and Protection of the Rule of Law, Good Governance and Human Rights
Promoting and safeguarding of the rule of law, good governance and human rights are the very bedrock upon which the NBA was established. I believe it is the duty of all National Officers as well as all lawyers, irrespective of year of call and status, to advance the tenets of rule of law. It is for this reason that the Association is enjoined in Section 3 (11) of the NBA Constitution to promote and protect the principles of the rule of law and respect for the enforcement of fundamental rights, human rights, and people’s rights. Over time, we have witnessed several government actions which tend to undermine the rule of law. We have also witnessed several government disobedience of Court orders and other incidences of bad governance.
Undoubtedly, the NBA has not been resilient in speaking out and condemning any act which undermines the rule of law in Nigeria. When elected as the General Secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association, I would work with the NBA President and the other national officers to ensure that the rule of law is constantly promoted and protected. Incidence of impunity and executive lawlessness, breach of human rights and assault on the judiciary will be sternly condemned. I shall constantly advocate for and promote the culture of obedience to court orders and compliance with the principles of rule of law. At the National Secretariat, we shall launch an NBA Annual Human Rights Report, and we shall strengthen the Committee on Human Rights.

I have a vision to advance the Legal Profession and enhance the welfare of lawyers through effective and efficient management of the NBA National Secretariat. I believe our National Secretariat can be more responsive, robust and vibrant. I am passionately committed to apply my time, my experience, all the goodwill I can muster, my network of professional relationships and exposure, all my competences and core service values to ensure that with the support of God, the President, members of the leadership team, the Branches and the esteemed members of this great Association, I accomplish this agenda.
Clearly, this vision cannot be actualized without your support and cooperation. In the circumstance, therefore, I am, with the greatest respect and humility, asking for your support and the opportunity to serve as the NBA General Secretary so that I can actualize these plans for our dear NBA.

Joyce Oduah, FICMC
Candidate for the Office of the General Secretary, NBA, 2020

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