Ahead of the 62nd Annual General Conference (AGC) of the the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) scheduled to hold from 19th to 26th August 2022 in Lagos, the NBA Technical Committee on Conference Planning 2022 has released a schedule of programmes for the conference.

According to the schedule, there will be a total of six plenaries and five groups of breakout sessions over a three-day period spanning 22nd to 24th August.

A breakdown of the programme schedule shows that the first plenary, which comes up on 22nd August, will have the key presidential candidates in Nigeria’s forthcoming 2023 general elections speak on the topic “Democratic Transitions in 21st Century Nigeria: 2023 and Beyond”.

Underscoring the importance of the Presidential Candidates’ plenary, the TCCP said it would present an opportunity to critically assess Nigeria’s democratic journey since 1999, identify key challenges which have perennially bedeviled the polity, and evaluate sustainable solutions to these challenges.

“With the poor state of our economy, mounting insecurity, comatose education system, decaying infrastructure, persistent inter-ethnic crises and general high cost of living, the 2023 elections may be a watershed moment for Nigeria. This session will provide a platform for the key presidential candidates in the 2023 elections to give insights on their respective roadmaps for addressing Nigeria’s key challenges and leading Nigeria’s next democratic transition,” Tobenna Erojikwe, TCCP Chairman, said.

The second plenary on “Energy Transitions, Revenue Challenges for the Nigerian Federation” will examine the options open to Nigeria in meeting its growing revenue demands, how state governments are dealing with the declining federal allocations and potential alternative options for generating revenue, the global push for energy transition, as well as Nigeria’s preparedness for a future without oil.

This is set against the background of Nigeria’s dwindling revenue amid declining global demand for oil, climate change concerns, perennial challenges of oil theft and vandalism, and a global move away from fossil fuels.

“NBA in Transition: Conversation with the NBA Presidents” will be the focus of the first plenary on 23rd August. The session will examine how the laudable initiatives of the current NBA administration, which will complete its two-year tenure in office at the conclusion of the 2022 Annual General Conference, have built on the efforts of previous NBA administrations and the foundation it lays for future administrations. It will also examine transition and sustainability of projects executed by successive NBA administrations and identify ways of keeping the NBA responsive to the needs of its members and the society at large.

The plenary on “Efficient Justice Delivery: A Review of the Outcomes of the Justice Sector Summit” will build on the outcome of the recent Justice Sector Summit where solutions were proffered to diverse issues affecting the justice sector via a communiqué issued at the end of the Summit. The session will review the state of implementation of the recommendations of the Justice Sector Summit and identify practical solutions to any impediments to implementing the outcomes of the Summit.

On 24th August, the first plenary, the MacArthur Foundation Session, will focus on “Impact of the ACJA on the Administration of Criminal Justice”. It will assess the impact of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) on the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria since its enactment, undertake a comparative review of changes to the administration of criminal justice in states where the ACJA has been re-enacted and provide recommendations for optimizing the provisions of the ACJA.

The plenary on “Health and Wellbeing” will provide tips on how lawyers can achieve a decent work-life balance notwithstanding busy schedules and the demands of their jobs, examine habits which lawyers ought to inculcate and maintain to stay fit and healthy while on and off work, and provide useful tips and advice on how lawyers may deal with, or seek help for, depression and mental health challenges.

The programme schedule released by the TCCP shows that the breakout sessions are grouped into five. A further breakdown shows that the first breakout session, which comes up on 22nd August, will feature the Technology Transitions session sponsored by Meta, owners of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, on the topic “Towards an Effective Privacy and Data Protection Regime: The Role of the Nigerian Lawyer”.

Other sub-themes in this group are “AfCFTA: Nigerian Lawyers’ Capacity to Service a Globalized Economy”, which will analyse the changes to international trade in Africa since the signing of the AfCFTA and the expectations associated with operating in a globalized economy, highlight and explain the potential areas of strength and deficiencies for Nigerian lawyers, and proffer actionable plans for remedying the deficiencies; “Financial Technology Transitions: Regulating Innovation”, and “Security Issues and the Nigerian Federation”.

The second day, 23rd August, will have two groups of breakout sessions. The first will tackle topics that include “Building a Respectable Bar: Issues Arising on the Regulation of the Legal Profession in Nigeria”; “The Fit for Purpose Lawyer: Reflections on the State of Legal Education in Nigeria”; “Legal Ethics and Etiquettes: Restoring the Dignity of the Legal Profession in Nigeria”; and Lagos State Govt Showcase Session, while the second will feature “Lawyers’ Earning Capacity: A Discussion on the NBA Remuneration Committee Report”; “Technology and the Law: Creating a Digital NBA”; “Spotlight on Brutality, Abuse of Office and Harassment of Lawyers by Security Agencies”; and “Financing Your Practice and the NBA Access to Finance Scheme”.

On 24th August, the first group of breakout sessions will involve the different sections of the NBA. The NBA Women Forum session will deal with “Altering the Narrative: The Role of Law and Policy in Positioning Women for Hegemonic Status”; Section on Business Law (SBL) will explore “Building Sustainable Regulatory Institutions”; Section on Legal Practice (SLP) will focus on “Exploring Practical Strategies for Tackling the Problem of Forum-Shopping and Conflicting Court Decisions in Nigeria”; while Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) will tackle the topic “Undermining the Judiciary: Implications on the Rule of Law and Justice Administration”.

The last breakout session will feature Young Lawyers’ Forum (Job Fair) and Human Rights Institute, as well as sessions on “Delays in the Administration of Justice: Are Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms the Answer?” and “Lawyers with Disability: Strategies for Achieving Inclusiveness and Equality”.

The 2022 NBA Annual General Conference, themed “Bold Transitions”, will hold at the Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island, Lagos. Renowned Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, will be the Keynote Speaker.