By Innocent Anaba
The 60th Annual General Conference of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, on the theme “Step Forward”, opened, on Wednesday, to a rich display of Nigerian cultural dance and music.
In his opening remarks, President of the NBA, Paul Usoro(SAN), stated that the dancing and music that ushered in the event were indicative of the” celebratory tone” for this year’s conference.
He noted that beyond the event marking the diamond jubilee of NBA conferences, there was “quite a lot to celebrate.”
In particular, he mentioned the need to celebrate “a united bar association,” noting that though the “people that would like to divide us, would not let up,” the NBA would remain united.
It will be recalled that the conference was preceded by a lot of controversies, including the threat to boycott the AGC by several state branches of the association.
Dr Konyinsola Ajayi(SAN), Chairman of the technical committee on conference planning, in his own opening remarks referred to “the hues and cries of foul” that had trailed the conference preparation and apologised “to all that were aggrieved on all sides of the divide.”
He, however, noted that regardless of all the uncertainties surrounding the AGC, “it serendipitously brought us this virtual conference that truly steps forward into the digital age.”
He further remarked on the various achievements of the NBA over the last 60 years, and indicated that this diamond jubilee presented the opportunity “to interrogate the steps we need to move forward towards the next sixty years.”
On his part, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, remarked that the theme for this year’s conference was fitting for the current times and concurred with Dr. Ajayi, that it was “apt at this time to consider how to step forward.”
He further remarked that it was interesting to note that while Lagos had started the use of “convalescent plasma over four to five months ago” in the treatment of severe COVID-19 cases, “America was just getting to understand it.”
For him, that “is what step forward is about”. He charged the NBA as a “big brother” to Nigeria in terms of age to “step forward” and “show Nigeria real leadership.”
He stated that his government would “continue to give the NBA the enabling environment to do well, and do what they need to do.”
The conference, with over 22,000 attendees, the largest in the NBA’s history, continues till August 29.