Former Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) President, Mrs. Boma Ozobia, who stepped down from the position last week in Cape Town at the Association’s 18th Conference, after her two-year tenure had expired has commended CLA's structured succession process to the Nigerian Bar Association.
‘The CLA, the Law Society of England and Wales, the Canadian Law societies and many other Bar councils share this structured succession process, with good reason. It invariably aids continuity and I would recommend it to the NBA as it ensures we are not constantly re-inventing the wheel’, she told THISDAY LAWYER shortly after she handed over to her successor, Mr. Mark Stephens, CBE.
Currently, the NBA presidency is fiercely contested for, with elections held biennially. The next elections are scheduled to hold next year where a new NBA President and executive will emerge. Under the rules only accredited delegates are allowed to vote, although there’s a currently a campaign by some lawyers for ‘one man, one vote’.
Mrs. Ozobia also said she was keenly aware that her tenure would not just be judged for her performance but would be a litmus test for female lawyers, as the first female lawyer to serve as President of the Association.
‘And so I was determined to give it my best shot and to deliver on all fronts.
‘I also realise with hindsight that subliminally, I had viewed this as an opportunity to project the positive about Nigeria and did all I could to fulfill this objective without compromising the impartiality and fairness to all jurisdictions that the role required of me’.
Mrs. Ozobia’s tenure was hugely successful and she is credited with achieving a significant increase in the membership of Nigerian lawyers, judges and academics in the Association.
She also raised Nigeria’s profile with the uncommon patriotism, zeal and diligence with which she attended her responsibilities.