‘NBA work­ing to ad­dress rot in le­gal pro­fes­sion’

Chukwu Machukwu-Ume is a Se­nior Ad­vo­cate of Nige­ria. In this in­ter­view, he speaks on the con­duct of lawyers, cri­te­ria for SAN among others. Ex­cerpts:

Daily Trust - - LAW - By John Chuks Azu

There have been re­cent con­cerns over the con­duct of lawyers. What is your view?

Yes, some mem­bers of the NBA are in way run­ning against ex­pec­ta­tion. The le­gal pro­fes­sion must re­main a no­ble one. We are ex­pected to be above board as that is the only way when we will be able to com­mand the re­spect and con­fi­dence of the pub­lic. A learned gentle­man is to be like the Cae­sar’s wife. To­day, cer­tainly we are.

Of course, in every 12 there must be a Ju­das any­way and he was there 2000 years ago. It is not worth los­ing sleep for. Even that Ju­das is in every other call­ing. The same rot has crept into the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion, the Po­lice, and the po­lit­i­cal class. The politi­cians who are sup­posed to be states­men to mould Nige­ria into a na­tion-state, are they re­ally states­men? Votes are now sold and bought while elec­tion re­sults are ma­nip­u­lated in the hid­den tiny rooms. Par­ents now buy exam marks for their chil­dren. Build­ings are col­laps­ing bury­ing many alive. The loose Nige­rian men­tal­ity, the short-cut ap­proach, the half-bake order is fast be­com­ing the norms and the so­ci­ety gen­er­ally is suf­fer­ing.

It is cheer­ing to note that the NBA is work­ing round the clock to en­sure that all the noted lapses in the no­ble pro­fes­sion are ad­dressed and pun­ished. Re­cently a SAN was pun­ished. So what is im­por­tant is that every lawyer that is found want­ing is brought to book. Is the NBA liv­ing up to ex­pec­ta­tion? Yes.

The cri­te­ria for ap­point­ment as SAN has been crit­i­cised by some peo­ple. What is your opin­ion on it?

No one goes to exam ex­pect­ing to fail. When it is se­lec­tion every­body ex­pects to be se­lected. El­e­va­tion to the sta­tus of Learned Silk is such won­der­ful phe­nom­ena that can­di­dates de­vote a lot of en­ergy to at­tain it. Nor­mally when you strug­gle very hard to write an exam and could not make it, no one ex­pects you to sing Hal­leluiahs. All the same, adopt­ing the spirit of sports­man­ship is bet­ter.

Cer­tainly, there is no way all the 300 ap­pli­cants in a year will be el­e­vated. It’s not pos­si­ble. Oth­er­wise the aura will be gone and there will be noth­ing to strug­gle for and work hard to be­come it. And the fact you didn’t make it this year is not the same thing that your door is closed. Fight­ing or crit­i­cis­ing the sys­tem, I am not sure that will be the best way out. I know what I went through, but each time I did not make it, I blamed my­self, ad­just my­self and worked ex­tra mile.

What is your take on the on-go­ing con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment in the Na­tional As­sem­bly es­pe­cially, the drop­ping of de­vo­lu­tion of power bill has at­tracted much out­cry?

The out­come so far is as un­for­tu­nate as it is cos­metic but not most un­ex­pected. De­vo­lu­tion is not there but where are we go­ing with­out it. Ola Ro­timi put it this way: “Our hus­band has gone mad again.”

Any­way, the most im­por­tant thing is 2019 is com­ing. It will de­fine real states­men and sep­a­rate them from parochial and self­ish politi­cians. If the Nige­ri­ans want de­vo­lu­tion of power, they go for par­ties cum can­di­dates that are for it. There is need for us to sit up now. There is press­ing need to hold par­ties and can­di­dates ac­count­able to their stands and pledges dur­ing elec­tion­eer­ing.

The Se­nate re­moved the pow­ers of the pres­i­dent to as­sent to the con­sti­tu­tion, how will these amend­ments pass through legally?

What will guide the on­go­ing amend­ment by the 8th Na­tional As­sem­bly is law as at to­day. But do not for­get all do not stop at pres­i­den­tial veto.

Pro­fes­sor Mo­hammed Taofik Ladan

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