Why We Suspended The Amendment Of 2015 NBA Constitution—A.B Mahmoud SAN


The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), A. B. Mahmoud SAN, has suspended the proposed amendments to the extant 2015 NBA Constitution and has issued a statement giving reasons for the executive action.
In a statement made at the conclusion of the 2018 NBA Annual General Conference of the Association on Thursday, the 30th of August 2018, Mr Mahmoud said that the amendments had nothing to do with the recently concluded national executives election of the Association and noted that the decision to suspend the amendments  of the constitution was reached after discussions with, Mr Paul Usoro, the President-elect of the Association, and that the A.B Mahmoud administration agreed and decided to steep down the issue of constitutional amendments for the incoming administration to consider.
According to Mr Mahmoud SAN ,there has been lots of concern and lots of interest in the amendments to the constitution.
Essentially what we are trying to do is to modify our governance structures, to take into accounts all of the various recommendations that has come out as a result of our various efforts to reform the association.
Some of the highlights you would have seen in the notice of amendment include the need to address this very bankrupt and unmanageable statutory system. Our elections have become too intensive and unnecessarily destructive and I thought we should take queue from other similar professional associations.
So we have come up with some ideas which we think will address this issues of rancor system over our elections. No other Bar Association manages the way we are doing it at the moment.
Mr Mahmoud also noted that the other nature of objective was also to really create a functional secretariat, to move the professional responsibilities of running the secretariat to a functional secretariat of a Professional Association.
So we would have an Executive Director, who sees himself or herself as a CEO in charge of the organization, in managing its financial and material resources and the human resources as well.
Creating a financial function within the secretariat manned by higher Professionals so that they can manage these things in a very professional way will limit the role of the Bar to really supervising this Professional manager.
Speaking further the Mr Mahmoud said another major objective of the constitutional amendment, is to harmonize NBA branch systems.  According to him we now have one hundred and twenty-five (125) branches and we thought there is need to create some structure to manage it. We came up with the framework of creating what is called STATE BAR COUNCILS”.
This State Bar Councils will serve as carrying point for all the activities of the branches in a particular state. The branches will continue to exist but they will have a framework for managing their affairs and we can delegate more responsibility such as discipline and so on to the State Bar Councils. They will be managing the affairs of the various branch Councils, as in coordinating and maintaining synergy.
For instance, when we want to appoint judges from the state, the judiciary will request us to send in comments and because we already have a synergy with the branch Councils, we will speak with one voice and we will have a greater force in terms of the way we relate.
These are some of the fundamental reforms that we need to really confront. We need to harmonize it, we need to set up the framework of the Nigerian Bar Association. We need to stand up as a Secretariat, but I will leave it in the hands of my able successor.
Mr Mahmoud further made statements regarding the 2018 NBA National executives election, which is to usher in the new administration to run the Association in the coming two years. According to him, the election which was held outside the month of July as required under the NBA  Constitution was ratified at National Executive Committee meeting on Sunday, the 25th of August 2018, as required by the Constitution.
Mr Mahmoud noted however that there were concerns that no audit was carried out after the election. That issue has been discussed and it had been proffered that there will be an audit for the entire process but there was no understanding that the audit was going to be a pre-condition to the declaration of the result and that was exactly what the  ECNBA (Electoral Committee of the NBA) clarified.
Electoral results according to the constitution is required to be declared immediately and being an electronic voting, the result was automatically tallied.
All of us, including myself and the electoral committee, approached this election with utmost concern for stability and integrity. After the verifications and compilation of the voting list we agreed between the candidates and ourselves, the final list of voters was handed over to all the candidates and also published on the NBA website and everyone had access to the verification portal before the commencement of the voting. All these stories that were duplications and all of that is all false.
“Before the voting,  the service providers ran the portal and certified it in the presence of candidates and stakeholders and voting commenced as scheduled. And when the voting closed, the result was automatically read out. These are the basis upon which the results were read out; the contest was very keen, scores were very close, so that was the outcome.
“One of the candidates Chief Arthur Obi-Okafor has written to me for audit which I passed to ECNBA and it was deliberated upon, that an auditor will be appointed to review the exercise and to advise the NBA.
“We are going to do that but we will be moving on with all necessary outcomes, there will be inauguration tomorrow of the newly elected NBA president, and I will like to plead with our colleagues that this process was credible not that it didn’t have hitches, it had hitches but I can assure you that all of us are committed people who believe in integrity, honesty and in NBA. We will not sit down and concoct things, swindle or commit fraud. It is simply unthinkable. All the people appointed to run this process are men of integrity.
“It is legitimate to have grievances in any outcome but please let us put the interest of the Bar above personal interest. An independent auditor will come and look at the process and then report back to us but in the meantime the Association will move on.