By Romanus Okoye, Lagos
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will be a guest speaker at the forthcoming annual conference of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public Interest Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) holding at Ibadan, Oyo State.
The event, which is billed hold from Sunday, May 23, to Wednesday, May 26, at the world-class Jogor Centre in Ibadan, Oyo State, will be declared open by Governor Seyi Makinde.
The theme of the conference is “The role of public interest in governance in Nigeria.” Aside from the eagerly awaited opening ceremony, a plenary session on “the imperatives of public interest in governance in Nigeria” will hold immediately afterwards.
While briefing journalists Tuesday at Ikeja, Chairman, NBA-SPIDEL Central Planning Committee, Monday Ubani, said, ‘the technical sessions will hold on May 24 and May 25 with varying sub-themes including “Internal security: a prerequisite for national development (legality and efficacy of regional vigilantes and other security frameworks);” “Internal security: A prerequisite for national development (legality and efficacy of public inquiry by state governments – issues on violent protests and recovery of assets);” and “When the state truly defends: Assessing the role of Office of the Public Defender of Lagos State & other institutional schemes for access to justice by the public.”
Other sessions are “Anti-corruption model: assets declaration, public access and emerging issues;” “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Assessing Nigeria’s progress – focus discussion on gender equality, climate action, peace, justice and strong institutions;” “Third party data capturing for national identification numbers project: national security and privacy issues;” “Paternity fraud in Nigeria: Legal and social implications;” “Showcase session on public interest lawyering: Capacity building and enhancement of practice skills on public interest lawyering – a continuing professional development perspective;” and “NBA Public Interest Litigation Committee: Broadening the strategy for NBA’s intervention in public interest lawyering.”
With over 60 leading speakers having confirmed their participation, the annual conference promises to be highly intellectually rewarding. Some of the speakers include Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Senator Ahmed Lawan; Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Tanko Muhammad, and House of Representatives Speaker Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila.
Other speakers are the Attorney General & Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN; NBA President Mr Olumide Akpata; former Senate President Prof Ike Ekweremadu; EFCC Chairman Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa; INEC Chairman Prof Mahmud Yakubu; ICPC Chairman Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN; Legal Aid Council Director-General Mr Aliyu Abubakar; National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Executive Secretary Mr Tony Ojukwu; Oyo State Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice Prof Oyelowo Oyewo, SAN; and leading political economist Prof Pat Utomi.
Aside from Minority Senate Leader Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Senator Dino Melaye, the human rights community is fully represented by fiery human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, SAN; Prof Chidi Odinkalu, Aisha Yesufu, Chief Mike Ozekhome, Mr Ebun Adegboruwa, Mr Jiti Ogunye, Mr Liborous Oshoma and Mallam Mahdi Shehu, among others.
Among the governors that have committed to attend the annual conference are the host governor, Engr Seyi Makinde; Ondo State Governor Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed. Other speakers are Oyo State Chief Judge Justice Munta Abimbola, and pioneer NBA-SPIDEL Chairman Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, among others.
The hybrid conference will host delegates at the expansive Jogor Centre in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols, while several sideline social events and a state banquet have been planned to ensure that delegates experience the best that the ancient city of Ibadan can offer.
Governor Makinde had during a courtesy visit by NBA-SPIDEL delegation assured that adequate security would be provided for the delegates throughout their stay in Ibadan.
Curtains will be drawn on the conference with the election of a new leadership to take over from current NBA-SPIDEL Chairman Prof Paul Ananaba, SAN, following his outstanding revival of the once moribund but influential NBA section.