*Faults BOSAN, Says Standard Fell Under Your Watch
The former branch Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Ikorodu branch Adebayo Akinlade, Esq, on Wednesday, registered his displeasure over the move by the Body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (BOSAN) to suspend admission of more lawyers into the body.
Bayo in his statement titled “BOSAN’S MOVE TO SUSPEND THE AWARD OF SANSHIP FOR A FEW YEARS IS UNFORTUNATE AND TOTALLY MISGUIDED”, said: “I cannot resist commenting on the news making the rounds regarding BOSAN’S view of the award of SANSHIP. This is because in my view, and with the greatest respect to those who have formed themselves into this body that has no formal recognition nor purpose in the development of our legal profession, the concerns raised by this body is elementary, inconsequential, and totally irrelevant at this time when the legal profession has completely lost its relevance within our social, economic and political structures.
If BOSAN, which was formed a few years ago on the eve of the NBA election year which ushered in Mr. Paul Usoro SAN as the NBA President had any clout or intent of purpose, the Body would have been at the forefront of:
1. The struggle against politicizing the Bench,
2. Fighting for and ensuring the independence of the Judiciary,
3. Improving Legal Education,
4. Fighting Corruption in the Judiciary and Promoting the Rule of Law,
5. Establishing a better legal practice infrastructure and championing the improvement and Review of our LPA,
6. Protecting the income stream of Lawyers while advancing the scope of legal practice opportunities,
7. Support better court infrastructure and promoting virtual hearing in all levels of courts in the country etc.
“I can go on and on about what BOSAN as a body of privileged few can achieve.
“With the greatest respect to those whose names were reflecting in the letter to the CJN, if the standards had fallen then it was under their watch it fell! If a thief comes into someone’s house then the gatekeeper has a lot to answer for….who are the gatekeepers of our profession today?
“The NBA can barely hold its own, the Body of Benchers have become a title-based groupie collecting sitting allowances with most members in their late 60s lamenting about how bad the profession is today and how they pray that God will come to fix the mess others (not them) made.
“A quick look at a portion of the letter to the CJN which states that BOSAN demands that the 2021, 2022 and 2023 conferment exercises should be paused, says that: “In being economical with expression, we make bold to state that the weak and further weakened criteria for the conferment of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, including the extant guidelines, have combined to water-down the standard and core requirements of excellence and distinction. In the circumstances, and with all due respect, we strongly suggest that your lordship’s Committee put on hold the processes for the next three years (i.e. 2021, 2022 and 2023); and use the intervening period to conduct a credible and comprehensive review of the entire process.”
“So I ask; who is conducting this process to revamp the SANSHIP? are they not the same people who set the current watered down rules complained of?
“I care little about the honour of SAN largely because it hasn’t translated into any meaningful development in legal education or even in law reform. Most of the judgements and Rulings coming from superior courts are based on interlocutory applications relating mostly to procedures of court rather than hitting on the substantial disputes.
“I strongly advocate that BOSAN abandon it’s current position on this subject but instead throw it’s weight behind more substantive agitations that border on improving the legal space.
“I respect this profession far above titles, I place in high regard those who came before me and inspired me to go into this profession and I am mindful that everyone has an opinion as to what will make our profession better therefore I am spirited in my resolve to play my part in the development of the legal profession so that others coming behind me will find it more appealing than I have.
“There are many who hold the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria whom I respect a great deal and many more who don’t hold the title but whom I respect just as much. Nonetheless it is a title and an honour that shouldn’t be made a tool to discriminate or oppress anyone in the legal profession who have earned the right to be called a “SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA”
(Cambridge University Press, January, 2021) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, FCIArb, Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti
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