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HomeNewsNBA Blues Season 1: Lagos Branch 25/06/18

NBA Blues Season 1: Lagos Branch 25/06/18

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I was woken up by the alarm at 4:30 am. I got off the bed and looked at the alarm on my itel 362 mobile phone. I so much hated to wake up this early in the day. However I hated the traffic even more and I was mindful of the fact that if I did not hit the road the by 5:20 am, I could be stuck in the traffic for almost 2hrs or more on a bad day. As such it was necessary to awake as early as I did. I had my bath and left the house at 5:14 am.

As I was opening the gate of the house I saw two guys approaching in the street; it was not unusual to see people that early, but at the same time, one could not be too careful. I did not want to be robbed on a Monday morning. Not that it would make me feel any better if I was robbed on any other day of the week, it was just that Lagosians, especially traders, have this attitude to Mondays, that if you had your Monday started on a good note, you could as well be assured that the rest of the day would be good and by extension, the rest of the week. Perhaps, I was feeling like a trader that morning.

The two men passed by, I saw them with their rosaries. It was most likely they were coming from the mosque. Those were the kinds of people one saw at that time; folks returning from church vigils and from the mosque after early morning prayers; and petty robbers too. I felt some relief. The Monday morning was still on the right course. I drove out of the house, alighted to shut the gate and jumped back into the car before some bad guy came along. The road was free until I got to the third mainland bridge where there was a light traffic. As I drove along I could not help hoping that another person had not jumped off the bridge to pull another suicide stunt. There was news of one lady who parked her Ford explorer three days earlier and jumped off the bridge.

Thankfully the slight traffic was not as a result of a suicide mission, but due to the fact that two cars had broke down at the UNILAG part of the stretch of the bridge. In thirty four minutes I was in Lagos Island. I wanted to use the ATM. I wanted a GT BANK ATM. I contemplated which ATM to use. It was 5:50 am. The one on Moloney Street was close to the Police Force Headquarters, Lagos Annex and directly opposite an annex office of the Ministry of Defence for retired military officers. There were usually armed guards there. It was most unlikely that a robber would be lurking around that ATM. The other close alternative was the one on Catholic Mission Street opposite St. Nicholas Hospital. ATMs on the island were generally safe to use but one could never tell. It was a Monday morning. I just wanted the day to get off to a good start, for the whole day to be rewarding and the whole week to be positive. I used the ATM on Moloney Street. As I slotted in my debit card I made silent prayers that nothing would go wrong. I did not want the machine to seize my card nor did I want my account to be debited only for the cash not to be dispensed to me. There should be no hitch this Monday morning. The ATM spat the money like it had been itching to do so all night. The money came out like kids from the un-aided birth of a goat. No complications.

I took that as a positive sign. It seemed the day would be a good Monday and the week a good one. I moved to the court premises. The gate was still locked. I did not want to disturb the security guys. They should enjoy their sleep. It was just 6:03 am. I parked along the fence of the court at Tafawa Balewa Square end of the court. I dozed off. The sound of a car horn woke me. There were then three cars at the entrance of the gate. One of the lawyers came down and entered through the small gate for pedestrians. He was going to wake the security guys. They would be awake by then anyway. It was 6:35 am. They opened the gate and we all drove in and packed in various lots in the park after which I dozed off a second time.

The rays of the rising sun woke me up. I moved immediately to the Corporate Affairs Commission. After conducting my business at the Lagos Office of the Corporate Affairs Commission around 11:45 am, I looked for something to do pending the commencement of the Lagos NBA monthly general meetings, one of the several reasons I came to Lagos Island that day. There was nothing to do except browse on the phone. It was going to start at 1:00 pm. I took time to reminisce on the last time I attended the Lagos NBA general meeting. Pa Gomez was the side attraction of that day as he always was whenever he was in attendance.

12:48 pm
I strolled in to the High Court’s foyer. I saw the familiar faces of Lagos NBA politics. All in several caucuses exchanging pleasantries and jokes. Of course, there were cross exchange of pleasantries among members of different caucuses. Some personalities could not just be ignored. And there were those who were there not because of the Lagos NBA politics but because of the national NBA politics and they needed to get the block votes from their primary base, their local NBA branch. There were senior members of the bar in attendance. There was Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, Chief Wale Taiwo, Chief Busari, SAN among others.

1:10 pm
The Lagos NBA President called the meeting to order. He called on Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo, the President of the African Bar Association to give the opening prayer which the latter gave in 15 seconds, very swift. I loved that. The President welcomed members and took time to call the names of the senior members and acknowledged their presence. He did not fail to state that it was Mazi Afam Osigwe that was hosting members that day. The handsome Mazi Osigwe stood up and took a bow to the resounding applause of the audience. We went through the minutes for corrections and amendments. It appeared most people did not receive the minutes of the meeting held in May 2018. Anyway, we continued the meeting. One Mr. Chidi Anya moved for the adoption of the minutes and one Mr. David seconded it.

1:55 pm
Matters arising
Lekki land matter – the President gave a report of some land in Lekki in respect of which some developers would be paid off. I could not make head or tail of the matter. I guess I would need to see past minutes to be seised of the matter. I needed to attend meetings more, I thought.

Land for Bar Centre – a deal was scuttled in respect of one land as same could not be bought. The President told members to let the association know of any land within the walking distance of the court available for purchase.

2:10 pm
NEC Report – the President called the Secretary to give the report on the last NEC meeting. The Secretary promptly did that. Afterwards, Mr. Akande, a senior member of the Bar, asked why observers were not allowed to attend the last NEC meeting. The Secretary responded and cited, the distance, the small space of the venue and the security reasons. Chief Akande pointed out that the distance should not be an issue. He however, did not make comments on the other reasons cited by the Secretary.

2:40 pm
Financial Report – the President called on the Treasurer to give the report. She gave a summary after which the President invited members to ask questions and make comments. On interest rates on investments, Chief Taiwo stated that we could get higher rates in the financial market for the fixed income deposits. The President stated that it was the best they could get at the time as adequate consultations were made. He however encouraged members to inform the association of better rates. Another member suggested treasury bills. The Treasurer stated that treasury bills (TBs) rates were very low and the association got better deals than what the TBs were offering.

2:56 pm
Knowledge sharing session – one Mr. Ayodele was introduced to members who gave a lecture on Marginal Oil Fields and the opportunities available for lawyers. At the end of his lecture the soft spoken Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN was called upon by the president to give a vote of thanks to Mr. Ayodele on behalf of the association. Chief Ngige, SAN was also called to give thanks to Mazi Afam Osigwe for hosting members.

3:25 pm
Any Other Matter
Major incident of the meeting which caught my attention – a colleague raised the issue of the filing fees under the Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules, 2009 (FHREPR). The learned colleague stated that under the rules foresaid, the maximum amount for filing fees should not be more than N500 and on reaching the High Court of Lagos State Registry to file processes pursuant to same, he was informed that the filing fees as contained in the FHREPR did not apply to the court. He stated that he paid almost N30, 000 in filing fees. The President said something about a form the member would fill and the matter would be taken up.

There was also the matter of a colleague who was suffering from a rare ailment and could not afford to pay the hospital (LUTH) bills. I could not get the name of the strange ailment. The Association had to step in to help the member. Then the issue of health insurance and its advantages for members were discussed. I should also add that Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN pledged the sum of N500, 000 to support the ailing member. The meeting came to an end at about 3:55 pm.

Post Meeting Moves
I moved out of the foyer and on the stair case I exchanged pleasantries with some colleagues and an old classmate we used to call Saint Bayo. He introduced me to a couple of guys who were working for some aspirants in the National Elections of the NBA. I moved on to the car park. It was 4:45 pm.

It was not a bad Monday. The rest of the week should be good, I thought.

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