Lawyers React to Awomolo’s ‘Undemocratic’ Stance on NBA Presidency

Adegboyega Awomolo wants only senior Advocates of Nigeria to be presidents of the NBA

Lawyers in Nigeria have reacted to the suggestion by one of them, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, who recently expressed the opinion that any lawyer who is not of the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) should not be allowed to be president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
It is not immediately clear if Awomolo was saying the mind of other SANs in Nigeria, but a letter he wrote to a former president of NBA T.J.O Okpoko, revealed that Awomolo was aversive to the idea of a non-SAN becoming the president of the association.
He suggested that “the integrity, honour and respectability of the Office of President of NBA” would be preserved only when a SAN leads the association, expressing fears that the present revolutionary quest to “wrestle” and take away the position from a SAN by junior members in the Bar will be “unfortunate”.
Expectedly, reactions have trailed Awomolo’s disposition, as lawyers all over the country expressed disappointment at what they called his undemocratic, arrogant, intolerant and even backwardly conservative leaning.
“Very unfortunate… The height of discrimination and divisiveness. The fear too is quite palpable. Very worrying what we have in high places. Gentlemen, we must open our eyes as we go to the polls come next month, lest they foist on us their choice of a ~man~ SAN. No surprise that all and sundry keep saying Olumide Akpata will unite the Bar, as someone who has the admiration and respect of both junior and senior lawyers and is committed to making the Bar for everyone”, said a lawyer in a WhatsApp group, Bar Reform Forum.
Another member of the group said “This is really disturbing (and that’s putting it mildly). Even if I wasn’t decided for Akpata yet, I think this is good enough reason to go with him. That some senior colleagues are attempting to elevate a “privilege” to a “right” of some sort, is the biggest slap on our faces. Young lawyers, open your eyes.”
“This is bluntly unlawyerly, painfully stone-aged and unexpectedly ignorant. It is hugely below expectation for a legal practitioner leaving in the 21st century to have this archaic mindset”, said Yusuf Abdulsalam, a Kano based lawyer.

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