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Sold out NBA – AGC

“Conference capacity full for the membership type. We are sorry the seating capacity is full. Kindly send an email with the subject line ‘sold out’…

“Conference capacity full for the membership type. We are sorry the seating capacity is full. Kindly send an email with the subject line ‘sold out’ and your year of call e.g ‘sold out 2014’ to [email protected], and we will let you know when we expand seating capacity. Please do not call the help line for this” www.nbaconference.com

Just as members were still trying to accept the hike in conference fees, and swoop into sourcing funds in order to register for the NBA AGC and benefit from the package of this year’s conference, young lawyers from 1 – 5 years post call were confronted with another shocker on the website that the conference capacity is sold out.

This unfortunate news of the conference being sold out came just as the NBA Kaduna branch had set aside a special fund to assist young lawyers in the branch, 1-5 years post call, with a loan of N20,000 to pay for the early bird of the conference, the loan is to be repaid in six installments of N3,000 monthly.

A reliable source on this year’s Technical Committee of Conference Planning (TCCP) assured members “that this is being worked on, and will be resolved by Tuesday, the rush this year is unprecedented”. While waiting for this issue to be resolved, the idea of seating capacity being sold out has sparked criticism from various quarters.

Elias Olatunde Ajadi: “I am beginning to have a different opinion about the current leadership of the NBA. I have never seen a situation whereby registration for AGC is sold out before the date limited for same. Pretty disappointing.”

To Sodiq Omoola, “As a lawyer, I now see the legal profession differently. It is sad that the cabal in the profession will not allow the needed reform which will widen the opportunities in the profession.”

Dele Abbas, a legal practitioner in his article ‘Why clip the wings of the early bird?; A criticism of NBA’s closing of the early bird registration’ said, “This anti-demo-kratia, and u-turn from reasonable reasons. NBA must not make any attempt to feed us from the pot of Iscariot. It must learn to listen to the complaints of members; it must be up and doing, and understand that leadership is not all about making decisions that stand, but making decisions that would benefit those they are made for. NBA must know that its affairs are not the affairs of pharaoh’s palace but the affairs of the people; because palace and the people are two different wings with different feathers. There are too many complains about this administration which gives a signal that there are too many wrong steps taken at the wrong time, and many wrong steps taken at the right time.”

To my mind, there should ordinarily not be a NBA AGC with a seating capacity that excludes majority of the members of the profession from engaging in continuing legal education that the conference has to offer. 

The NBA AGC is an avenue for colleagues spread across the nation to come together once in a year and forge a way forward for the legal profession, limiting the number of participants eligible to attend the NBA AGC does not form part of the terms of reference of the TCCP.

True, the TCCP wants to organize an NBA AGC that is unprecedented, this heroic act is commendable, but then, of what benefit is the shift from traditional conference to modern conference, if a large number of its members do not benefit from the modern package it plans to offer. The tablets promised with one year law pavilion subscription should be a package benefited by all legal practitioners in the country to take the Nigerian legal environment to the digital stage.

Of what benefit is ‘the first of its kind conference’ if only legal practitioners employed in well-to-do law firms and the financially buoyant are the sole beneficiaries of this year’s conference package? Let’s not forget that the website did not start registering members for the early bird as at when due.

The idea of a sold out conference does not help the image of a brave new bar.


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