The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, BOSAN, has held its 2021 annual dinner and awards night in Lagos with President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Olumide Akpata, absent. The flagship event of BOSAN customarily holds towards the end of the year, but was postponed last December due to the surge in the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.
It is not clear whether the absence of the NBA president was as a result of the frosty relationship between some members of BOSAN and the NBA President, who has on more than one occasion criticized the body, and some of its key members, for taking certain measures which tend to undermine the NBA.
It will be recalled that during his address at the ceremony to mark the commencement of the 2021/2022 Legal Year and the elevation of new Senior Advocates of Nigeria, last December, the NBA President bemoaned what he described as “deliberate steps to undermine the NBA and whittle down its influence by certain members of the Association.”
His comment was viewed by many as a veiled reference to the role played by some SANs in handling of the proposed amendment to the Legal Practitioners Act.The statement also drew the ire of a notable SAN and a former Osun State Attorney-General, Adegboyega Awomolo, who described the NBA President’s statement as “very uncouched, sarcastic, unkind and uncharitable…”
NBA Presidents have historically attended the Annual Dinner of the body in the legal profession which for over three decades had continously produced the President of the NBA from amongst its ranks, until the election of Olumide Akpata, a non SAN in August, 2020.
Efforts to reach the NBA President to confirm whether or not he was invited for the event proved abortive as calls and SMS messages sent to his mobile number were unanswered. The Secretary of BOSAN, Mr. Seyi Sowemimo, SAN, was also not reachable.
A Lagos-based legal practitioner and active observer of Bar events, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “It is a courtesy that should be extended to the NBA President to attend the Dinner of BOSAN. In fact, the NBA President as the Leader of the Bar, ought to deliver an address at the dinner. I hope it is not what I am thinking. If indeed he was not invited to the event, then it may be BOSAN’s way of getting back at the President whom it has exhibited disregard for since, and even before, his election.”
The dinner which had the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, SAN, as Special Guest of Honour was also attended by other notable dignitaries, including former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar, who delivered the Keynote Speech.
Other personalities at the event include the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, who was represented by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun of the Supreme Court, and Chief Folake Solanke, SAN, the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria amongst others.
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