— Says NBA Will No Longer Be Rubber-Stamped At Such Exercise
— Polarization In NBA Abuja May Divide The Branch, If No Resolution Is Arrived At
— Nnewi NBA Branch To Conduct New Election
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata has registered his displeasure at the procedures adopted for the conduct of interviews of judicial nominees presented to the National Judicial Council [C] for elevation to the Court of Appeal.
The president made this disclosure at the National Executive Council meeting of the NBA, in Uyo during his speech.
Mr Akpata who represented NBA virtually, during the NJC meeting noted that some of the Judicial nominees were made to answer very basic sets of questions, which did not seem appropriate in that circumstance.
His approval of the proceedings was further flattened when he learnt that the said Judges ‘would learn on the job’, and the types of questions asked and their manners of answering those questions.
“What I saw and experienced at the NJC meeting on the appointment of judges to the Court of Appeal left me aghast. At a point, I, as a ‘Johnny Just Come'( attendee), had to ask, are these people really going to the Court of Appeal? Important legal issues that were occasionally put to the nominees could not be answered’
The whole proceedings appeared more of an old schoolboys’ meeting. When I wondered at this, I heard things like ‘they will learn on the job’ the president noted.
Similarly, the President also registered his displeasure at the brevity of time allocated for such an important exercise, noting that the council scheduled two hours to interview twenty  Judicial nominees, accordingly each nominee may be allocated approximately six  minutes for the interview.
‘…We were to interview 20 nominees at a point but only 2 hours was allocated for this important exercise. That meant six minutes only for each nominee. What is this? ‘ the president noted.
However, despite his displeasure at the quality of Judicial nominees and the adopted manner of the interview, the President noted that the NBA under his watch will not be a rubber-stamped association, including in its participation at such events and exercises, such as the appointment and elevation of Judges.
A NEC member who does not want his name appear on a media quoted NBA President saying that the process was a sham and improperly conducted, noting that a situation wherein the Judicial nominees were asked to ‘simply take a bow and go’, or how ‘convenient a particular posting may be on the judicial nominee’, was rather a disturbing reality for our Judiciary.
He said the president wondered why proposed judicial personnel who would decide very intricate and complex issues were not interviewed on their areas of specialization as well as serious issues of law.
In another development, the source noted that the current polarization facing the Abuja Branch of NBA is at the forefront of the ongoing NEC meeting with a view of finding an amicable resolution to the polarization.
The source however noted that should NEC and the respective parties fail to reach an amicable resolution, the branch may have to be divided into two. The source noted that the parties were at the NEC meeting but not as officials or leaders of the branch, rather, in their individual capacity. Also, that NEC would see to the conduct of a new election at the Nnewi Branch of the NBA, due to the inability of anyone contesting for the office.
In this article: