NBA 2017 conference is one of its kind, says Tetengi

Garba Tetengi (SAN)

Garba Tetengi (SAN), alternate chair of the conference planning committee in this interview with YETUNDE AYOBAMI-OJO and KEHINDE OLATUNJI expresses his view about the historic NBA 2017 conference.

What do you have to say about the forthcoming NBA conference?
The conference is the first of its kind in the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA). The electronic revolution that was started by the past NBA leadership has now been continued by this present administration. This administration has taken it farther that even registration, which used to be manual is now being digitalized just as it is done in the international bar association. It is a revolutionary step that is different from other conferences by the NBA. So, we are taking the lawyers a step further than we were.

Are we expecting international delegates?
The conference is for African continent. Like I said before, it is a step forward for Nigerian lawyers, and also the Africa lawyers because this is the first time the NBA will be holding its conference and its doors will be opened to international delegates.  So, definitely it is all about building institutions. The point is that you cannot make any progress in the third world; if you don’t have strong institutions that is thriving and can sustain every aspect of the political system including the economy. So, it is a step forward. Secondly, it is trying to revolutionize the Nigeria lawyer from the manual to what is obtainable now in the world. Most of our colleagues go to the international bar association conferences and they could see what is happening there. I even go to specialized conferences of the international bar association and I could see the difference. The institutions are not available in the Nigeria. So the conference is trying to revolutionize the whole system so as to ensure that we have strong institutions Nigeria.  

How many people have registered for the conference?
Over 10,000 have registered so far.

How do we address the challenges in the judiciary?
The vice president who is a lawyer and a senior advocate is coming. He will be there to give the keynote address. So, you could see that the government is interested in building institutions that will thrive in the political system. The chief justice of Nigeria will be there and also his own contributions, I believe shows that the government is giving its full support in ensuring that this conference succeeds.

What do you think of policy implementation in Nigeria?
We are looking at the level of individuals, not the government now. We are looking at the Nigeria lawyer. They should see what is thriving in other parts of the world and see how we can buy in and also make it better than what it is today. So, it is not necessarily about government. If it is government, we know very well that governmental institutions have problems. For instance, the institute I went to is an institute that is supervised by the president of the country but usually given to the vice president to supervise. These are institutions that build leadership in the country. They travel to various places. They come, write their reports and give their theses to the government to implement, but there is always one problem or the other. If you go to the presidency now, you would see a lot of theses that had been written by participants at the national institute and these are things that should be looked into in conducting the affairs of this country. They are studies based on empirical evidence of things that are happening in the world and if we apply them, of course, it would better our lives as a country but unfortunately, the problem of implementation has always been the issue in this country. So, we pray and hope that government will look at the part of our communiqué that will have direct bearing on governance. They should look at it with an open eye and see how these policies can be implemented so that it would better the lives of lawyers.

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