A Professor of Law, Osita Ogbu has called on the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to strengthen its constitution in line with the doctrine of the Rule of Law.
Ogbu made the call on Monday in an interview with newsmen in Enugu.
The former Dean, Faculty of Law, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, said that the current constitution of the association was not supreme to other considerations.
The former Enugu branch NBA chairman said that he had sent a memorandum to the Constitution Review Committee of the NBA on the issue among other fundamental matters.
“I must commend the NBA president for taking the bold step of initiating the process of amending the constitution and for other innovations in the running of the association,” he said.
Ogbu said that the ongoing amendment of the association’s constitution presented the opportunity to address issues that bothered on the flaws in the document.
According to him, the structure and composition of NBA National Executive Committee (NEC) are other areas that need to be looked into.
“The aims of the NBA include the promotion and protection of the principles of the rule of law in line with Article 3(k) of the NBA Constitution 2015, and paragraph 2(4) of the Third Schedule to the NBA Constitution.
“Sadly, the NBA Constitution is not supreme as no article of the constitution expresses its supremacy,” he said.
He said that Article 5 of the constitution, ironically, placed the supreme authority of the NBA on the General Meetingwhose decisions were final.
“This provision negates the supremacy of the NBA constitution.and appears to be in conflict with the amendment provision in Section 20 of the constitution.
“Going by Dicey’s theory of the rule of law, the constitution of the NBA contravenes the first principle of the rule of law, that is, absolute supremacy of the law as opposed to arbitrary rule,” he said..
According to Ogbu, there is the possibility of arbitrariness in the running of the affairs of the NBA in the absence of supremacy of its constitution.
On the structure of the NBA NEC, Ogbu said that the membership as presently constituted was in excess of 500.
“This large number has logistics implications and also increases the cost of running the association. It reduces the funds that should have been available for programmes and projects,” he said.
He called for the drastic reduction of NEC members for easy administration and decision making.
“The NBA has made very critical interventions toward the promotion of the rule of law and ensuring that the various governments in Nigeria are run on the basis of the rule of law.
“It will, therefore, be embarrassing if the Federal Government or a state government should one day remind the NBA that its constitution is not based on the principles of the rule of law,” Ogbu said.