December 7, 2023

The build-up to the NBA election has been frenetic as usual but it must be said that the actors this time have taken electioneering and campaigns a step higher (particularly the esteemed candidates for NBA Presidency). Whether rightly or wrongly, we have seen non-legal persons or better said, non-active members of the profession come out to campaign vigorously for their candidates. Similarly, under the guise of palliative measures for COVID-19, some particular candidates have flexed huge financial muscles, ‘blessing’ their supporters with money and food items (semo, iresi, etc). On behalf of every recipient of these ‘stomach infrastructure’ capacity building, I say a very big thank you. After all, good food improves our fecundity.

All is fair in love and war. This proverb (usually attributed to John Lyly’s Eupheues’ sometimes makes me believe that beyond the rules made by the ECNBA, there are really no rules ‘rules’. Thus, it is not out of place to see offers to assist in the verification process. This Greek gift is reminiscent of Oranmiyan’s gesture to his seven brothers allowing them take all of Oduduwa’s moveable properties as theirs. (The King of Benin inherited the money, the Orangun of Ila inherited Baba’s wives and the King of Sabe inherited the cattle. Olupopo inherited the beads while Olowu inherited the garments. Alaketu luckily inherited the crowns on his part.) He was reported to have pitifully asked for all the land which his brother ignorantly gave to him. Afterwards, he made a huge fortune from the rent he got from the lands which his brothers lived on thus making what seemed an act of kindness became a serious customary tenancy relationship (even on their father’s land).

A lot of promising young lawyers have worn gleefully the mantra of a certain young candidate for the NBA top seat. Most have argued that it is our best shot at being at the helm of affairs while some others have cited the rigours of becoming a SAN as one reason SANs should not be allowed to lead the bar at this time. The truth is that everyone is entitled to his/her sentiments and I have no issues with this. However, in the process of sweet-talking, we should not exhaust the saliva in our mouths (as Yorubas would say).

The implication is that just as much as the award of SAN rank could be discriminatory, also is the employment of young lawyers on the basis of their degrees from either the University or law school. What sense does it make seeing a pass degree holder support a candidate who might never give him/her a job or who might reluctantly consider him/her just because he/she did not make a 2.1 or a first class degree from either or both the University and/or law school? E je ka beru Olorun fa

Well, you might think I’m just being disgruntled probably because I didn’t have good grades or because I don’t work in these firms. Well, you are wrong! I graduated with 2.1 and First class degrees from the University and law school respectively.

If we truly want a leader of the bar properly so called, we need to support, vote for and elect a candidate who never discriminates as a result of grades, after all,many factors determine what grade a student graduates with. As a young lawyer, does your candidate see you as employable? Does he see you as teachable? Does he see you beyond your grades? Does he not think you are dumb just because you could not make a good grade despite your genuinely committed efforts??

Campaigns based on the SAN discrimination plane is just an attempt at pulling wool over our eyes. Little wonder Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) said that ‘An alcoholic is someone you do not like but who drinks as much as you do.’ I am not going to campaign for Dele Adesina SAN here but let me quickly sound that he is the best suited for the job.

Trust me not to read your rejoinders…I have adopted the stance of Evang Innocent Idibia (in the song ‘Street Credibility’ which he did with 9ice) and where he beautifully sang as follows:

‘As I come here before you
I go talk am as I see am
I no use any sugar cover am
Call me your mallam
But I know you understand am
And I still go dey stress am
Say we no dey use gragra do am
We always peacefully do it very nicely
We always try to wahala nobody….’

I am Adeboye Oluwaseye Thompson and I write as usual from the Ilorin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.

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