1. With an average attendance of more than 12,000 people, (rising this year perhaps to some 20,000 professionals), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference (AGC) represents one of the largest singular gathering of lawyers anywhere in the world.
2. The core objective of the 60th edition of the NBA AGC is to host a world class international conference, with in-depth discourse stirred by a wealth of unparalleled experience, aimed at proliferating the knowledge, skills and inspiration bequeathed in past NBA Conferences, to improve our lot in Africa, build legacy law firms, shape subsequent generations of the African Bar, and more importantly, reposition the Bar to play its critical role in economic and socio-political development on national and continental trade frontiers.
3.The world continues to contend with COVID-19 and the far-reaching healthcare, social, and economic implications of the pandemic. We have all been forced to adapt to a new normal and as we learn to navigate our current reality, it must of course follow that the NBA –as the face of our esteemed profession –demonstrates its readiness and capacity to spearhead this transition.
4. Our focus will be to forge ahead of the current inhibitions in all ramifications. We are not unmindful of the current national frame stemming from the pandemic; bereavements, health concerns, insecurities in varied facets and recession. Our conference will thus be focused on weathering but also stepping over and ahead of these concerns and will thus speak virtually to the essence,without flounce, as we take account of the economic recession we are in, the economic and public health insecurity face; coupled with the bereavement and pain our brethren suffer.
5. We have decided to step forward and have a conference that would shine a light in the darkness and gloom that COVID-19 has brought upon us all. It is abundantly clear that a physical conference for this year is out of the question,but no matter, we are shifting gears, stepping forward and looking to the future, with an overarching aim to restore hope and show a path to success in these trying times. As the fear of the disease continues, there lies in some quarters a greater fear for the economy and survival after COVID-19. We have only one true choice: we must begin to plan the future beyond COVID-19, NOW
6. Consequently, our commitment to this is aptly symbolized in the organization and execution of the first Virtual Annual General Conference of the NBA. We must unearth opportunities and shed light in the dark tunnel of the past dug deeper and made longer by COVID-19.
7. We have thus determined that this year, apart from the novel form factor which the conference is to take, the conference in its substance will also be different from the norm. This year there will be a celebration –not of fanfare and pageantry, but by marking it with something that is relevant, and contemplates the future; of the NBA, and of its members
8. Central to the NBA is the rule of law. These are matters that go to the essence of our Bar, the IBA and many Bar Associations around the world: the commitment to the rule of law –fighting injustice, abuse of power and state terrorism and government brutality in the various guises they come. It is of utmost importance for the NBA that we are shown to be clear in our stand against these injustices as they unfortunately continue to be perpetuated
9. Ultimately, we are presented in these unusual times with a unique opportunity to step forward to take the lead, and to front line the cause and direction for a bar and Nation that are not bound by the past, but instead takes its lessons as they look to the future. According to George Elliot: “We cannot predict the future, but we can create it.”
Conference Theme–Step Forward
10. In keeping with our need to break new grounds at age 60, we had envisaged the need to be ahead and prepared for ‘next tomorrow’ in selecting the theme, even without knowledge of the oncoming pandemic and the consequential impact that it would have nationally and globally. The theme is thus timely.
11. Our theme is even more fitting as in these times, there is a continuing need step forward and to show initiative, show leadership, and show foresight. This year’s conference will centre all the ways in which we can do these, even as we navigate our new normal, and prepare (as much as is possible) for a post COVID-19 world
Conference Date & Registration
12. The conference will hold between August 26 -27 August 2020. As this year’s conference represents innovation and is scheduled to be completely virtual, the NBA is also rising to the challenges of the times with innovation to conference registration.The registration for this year’s conference shall therefore be free of cost for all conferees
13. The conference structure includes:
1. An opening and closing Plenary session/interactive panel with Q&As from the floor:
- plenary sessions, on the State of the Nation and on the Rule of Law with panellists drawn from State representatives and the heads of the three arms of government, past and present world leaders, legal icons, heads of global agencies, key subject matter experts and civil society; and
- A “Through the years with the NBA” showcasing the contributions of the Bar Association through epoch making events in our Nation’s history, with a stimulating exchange between the past and present leadership of the NBA
2. Keynote Addresses on topical issues affecting continent, country and the Bar by world renowned leaders who have been successful change creators and agents;
3. A monumental Debate on our courts of yesterday, today and the future by leading local and international legal icons;
4. Specialised subject-matter oriented sessions hosted by the different sections and fora of the NBA focusing on business law, legal practice, public interest, gender issues and young lawyers;
5. Thematic sessions focusing on the priority themes to discuss the challenges, gaps and recommendations related to raising the standard of the Bar and the lot of legal practitioners in the country
6. A focus on ‘What’s Next’ with the hosting of parallel sessions on strategies for improving the business and the practice of law in Nigeria under the prevailing global circumstances;
7. Innovative Solutions Sessions to discuss examples of promising and innovative practices; Technical Training sessions for lawyers; and
8. Social Sessions to foster bonding and mentoring between bar leaders and millennials.