Yejide Gbenga – Ogundare
The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), has called on the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau (SAN), to retract a statement he allegedly made accusing BOSAN of breaching its own rules by failing to accord the Attorney General of the Federation due recognition as chairman of the body.
The NBA President was said to have made the statement in his valedictory address during a valedictory session in honour of a retired judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Buba held in Abuja on February 9, 2023.
However, BOSAN in a statement signed by its secretary, Olumide Sofowora SAN expressed dismay, describing the criticism as unfair and unfounded.
The body stated that that the NBA President has unrestricted assess to the meetings of BOSAN where he could have laid down his complaints, or conveyed it through a letter addressed directly to the body, but rather chose a public gathering.
The letter reads “The attention of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria has been drawn to remarks made by your goodself at a Special Court Session held at the Federal High Court in honour of Hon. Justice Ibrahim Nyaure Buba on 9th February 2023.
“In your address, you accused the Body of blatantly breaching its own Rules, regarding the chairmanship of BOSAN, by failing to accord to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation due recognition as Chairman of the Body.
“We are quite dismayed by the stinging criticism of the body, as these remarks are not only unfair but quite unfounded. It is all the more disheartening that such criticisms were leveled at a public gathering, when such complaints could very easily have been made at any of the meetings of the Body or even conveyed through a letter addressed directly to the Body.
“Ordinarily, as a Senior Advocate, you are very much at liberty to address such complaints or observations for the consideration of the body. The privileged position you occupy as President of the NBA however affords you even greater access to and attention by the body.
“The Honourable Attorney General, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN has never complained to the body about his having been undermined in his role as Chairman of the body. His interactions with the body in fact suggest the contrary. On one occasion when he attended one of the meetings in Lagos to address the body on the events surrounding the removal of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen, CON, as CJN, he actually presided over that meeting, even though Prof Ben Nwabueze (SAN) was in attendance.
“Again the last time the body held its meeting in Abuja, the venue of the meeting was at the Federal Ministry of Justice at his instance, though on that occasion, the Attorney General sent apologies for his absence, having concluded the arrangements for receiving members.
“Mr Abubakar Malam (SAN) is well regarded by the body and has not been treated in a manner different from former occupants of the office. The Attorney General is by the Constitution of the Body, Chairman during his tenure and whenever the Attorney General is present at any meeting of the Body, he presides over the meeting as Chairman but in his absence the most Senior of Senior Advocates in attendance presides over the meeting.
“The body conventionally regards the most senior of Senior Advocates living as the proxy of the Attorney General or as a Protem Chairman, as the Body well appreciates that the Attorney General cannot be fully immersed in the day to day activities of the Body in an executive capacity, whilst in office.
“The Attorney General of the Federation is routinely served with notices of our meetings and it has always been delightful to have him in attendance. Indeed it has been a matter of regret that our Attorneys Generals over time have not been as involved with the activities of the Body as members would wish.
“It is for the above reasons that the Body is piqued by the remarks made by you at the Special Court Session and it is our hope that you will at the earliest opportunity endeavour to correct the wrong impression of the Body which has been created by your speech. Please accept the assurances of our continued support as you continue to discharge your duties as President of the NBA,” BOSAN stated.