Stepping into the venue of the opening ceremony of the 57th AGC, after the numerous but smooth security checks, one is welcomed by cool background music and projected activities in preparation for the NBA 2017 AGC.
At about 19:07 the National Anthem was sang and Mrs. Priscilia Kuye (the first Female NBA President was called on to lead the opening prayer.
Thereafter, a commentary of the Nigerian Bar Association was aired, exposing the journey so far of the NBA. The Chairman of the Technical Committee on Conference Planning Konyinsola Ajayi, SAN introduced the conference relying on the theme for the conference “African Business:-Penetrating Through Institution Building”.
He welcomed the over 11,000 delegates who had registered for the conference in order to learn from the wealth of knowledge of the various 142 distinguished leaders from all over the world. After this, a slide show of the past and present NBA Presidents was showcased.
Thereafter, the NBA President, A. B. Mahmoud, SAN was called upon for his opening/welcome address. He observed all protocol, recognizing the Bench, Bar, Senior Advocates and all who have honoured the NBA with their presence and contributions.
He reminded that he resumed office as President on the 29th August 2016 and had so many controversies slammed on him and desperately waiting for attention. He stated the various efforts explored to introduce lasting solutions to these challenges. He then exposed that it is the bid to proffer lasting solutions to these challenges that birthed the theme for this conference. In furtherance, he stated that the judicial system is the back bone of any institution,once it is broken, every connecting part of it is affected.
He then called for the need to raise the bar on ethics, law reforms, service delivery and walk in line with the current digital age of the society and it is for this reason that a device was used in place of bags.
On some of the achievements of his administration so far, he mentioned promotion of access to justice, pro bono services, rehabilitation of peace mission teams, diversification of the profession and reform of the criminal justice system. He also stated that they have shown key interest in the Nigerian economy amongst many other fields.
He appreciated the Oba of Lagos state and Governors of Lagos State, Rivers State, Bauchi State, Plateau state, Kano State and Ondo State who made out time to be present in person. He thereafter acknowledged the conference sponsors and partners and commended the TCCP for their achievements.
The representative of the AGF was called up for his address, thereafter the CJN himself addressed delegates urging that best practices in good governance and growth of the legal fields be promoted, stating that good corporate governance promotes excellent financial economy and business environment. He wished all delegates a peaceful and beneficial stay.
In his address, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, after observing all protocol, welcomed the Nigerian President back to the country. He called for an improvement of the weak institutions in the country, capacity building for a better economy just as Lagos state government is on the track of execution of these promotional steps. He noted his confidence that this conference will improve the economy and create an enabling environment for the promotion of the Rule of Law.
The Vice President of Nigeria was represented by former Lagos State Governor and Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN. In the Vice President’s address, he quoted Barak Obama ” Africa doesn’t need strong men but strong institutions. The institutions that last long are those who put in place institutions that will outlive the individuals running the affairs of the institutions.”
He called for the need for mergers and acquisitions to have better strongholds to make marks in the global economy and not just the African economy. He noted that partnerships and law firms can make moves to merge, joining forces to have bigger, more informed and improved services. He also noted that the government have a greater responsibility to introduce reforms to create and enabling business environment.
The ceremony was brought to a close soon thereafter, and all delegates dispersed in order to prepare for the main course the next day- THE SESSIONS!