Back in the day, the word ‘disruptive’ normally took on all kinds of negative connotations in the popular imagination – stubborn, antisocial, naughty, unsettling, etc. But these days, the word has taken on the exact opposite connotation: innovative, spontaneous, out-of-the-box, unsatisfied with the status quo, etc.

The distinction between the two interpretations, said the celebrated Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her keynote speech at the 2022 Annual General Conference of the NBA in Lagos, is so thin as to be nonexistent – but they both fit the character and essence of the Nigerian Bar. In fighting to enthrone the rule of law in Nigeria, the Bar has given bad leaders and those who would trample on the law no small amount of trouble.

Addressing a packed hall during the opening ceremony of the Conference at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites on Victoria Island, the author, whose globally-acclaimed novels include ‘Half of a Yellow Sun,’ ‘Purple Hibiscus,’ ‘Americana’, and ‘The Thing Around Your Neck,’ said the key point was not that the NBA was troublesome, but why it is so. Quoting the late American civil rights icon, John Lewis, she said that it was worth making ‘good trouble’ for the good of society.


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‘We cannot save Nigeria without the rule of law,” she asserted, adding that even the smallest acts of pushing back against lawlessness and injustice, in ways small or large, were acts of heroism, carried out by heroes who are ‘beautifully flawed’ rather than perfect, and always willing to try.

According to NEWSWIRE Law and Events Magazine correspondent at the Conference, Adichie dismissed the notion that injustice or tyranny was the exclusive vice of governments or powerful people, noting  that tyranny came in all shapes and sizes. While combatting injustice wasn’t the easiest or most convenient thing to do, shying away from the effort was not an option – not when the welfare, safety, health and security of human beings was at stake. “I will not silence myself,” she said of her own outspoken advocacy for women’s rights, “for fear of provoking … I am not asking for peace, but for justice … As long as we refuse to untangle the knots of injustice for the sake of peace, all we will have is a hollow peace.”

Nigeria’s long tolerance of lawlessness, corruption and mediocrity, Adichie lamented, means that “something has died in us.” It is a state of affairs that fills her with what she calls a ‘patriotic shame,’ especially on her travels in other climes. She called for a collective resurrection among Nigerians based on our determination to do, not the most expedient, but the RIGHT, thing. Compassion, she ended by saying, wasn’t exactly a concept commonly associated with the practice of law, but on a closer look, compassion was actually intrinsic with the most noble aims of the law. Not only must the legal profession embark on ‘Bold Transitions’ by deploying the full use of technology in the administration of justice, she counseled, but it must also show compassion in ensuring parity among its male and female members  in its reward systems, among other things

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