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Nigerian Bar Association | Orowhuo W. A. Okocha Esq: The Importance Of Practice And Training Cannot Be Understated

Nigerian Bar Association | Orowhuo W. A. Okocha Esq: The Importance Of Practice And Training Cannot Be Understated 

As a team player, and an ardent follower of sports, the importance of practice and training cannot be understated. The teams who have rehearsed and practised a specific drill so many times will have no difficulty executing the said drill in the dying minutes of a game, in search of the win.

One of the duties of the Branch Secretary, as provided for by Section 7(3)(d) of the Uniform Bye-Laws, is to keep an up-to-date directory of members of the Branch. A directory is built by inputting information. Information is data. The choice of data to be put into the directory is not expressly stated in the Bye-Laws, and could potentially be subject to the discretion of the Secretary, but should typically contain contact information, including addresses, phone numbers and emails. To my mind, this data can be extended to include additional details like a member’s year of call, his/her financial compliance, including whether or not BPF and Branch Dues were paid as and when due, and attendance at meetings, by stating which monthly meetings were attended within a given period. There are several other categories of data that might be useful and included, depending on the choice of the Branch Secretary, and indeed the opinions of the entire members of the Branch.

The NBA PH Branch App, in its current form, has a “Search Lawyers” tab, which shows the Name, Office Address, Phone Number, Email and Membership Number of any member who is searched for. This suggests that the Branch Secretariat is in possession of a digital database and directory of all its members. The act of searching the database by a given name is, to attempt to embrace ICT terminology, the act of simply applying a search filter on the information on the database.

If additional information such as meeting attendance and financial compliance are included in the database, if the database/directory is regularly updated, and if additional search parameters are included, such as attendance, office address or financial compliance, then it would be possible, by the mere click of a button, to generate a list of members who, for example, all attended the May 2020 Monthly Meeting, who have their offices situated along Ikwerre Road, and who were financially compliant in the year 2018. Of course, certain information, although necessary, is considered sensitive and, even if included, would not be readily available to third parties.

To return to the analogy of regular practice which this post began with, it is my firm belief that if a Branch Secretariat kept and maintained such a digital directory, and regularly updated information, every member would have the opportunity to search the database and determine for himself or herself whether he or she was financially compliant according to the Branch records, and know how many meetings he or she had outstanding to be eligible to contest or vote, or even sponsor a candidate’s nomination, at the next Branch or National elections. He/She could also have the opportunity, at relevant times, to contact the Branch Secretariat if his/her attendance at a specific meeting was inadvertently omitted. If this is done regularly, and at regular intervals, then this might obviate the seemingly herculean task that regularly befalls the Electoral Committee in every election year. All that will be required, as stated earlier, would be to adjust the search parameters, and a list can easily be generated at the click of a button. Again, if regularly updated, members will have the opportunity to correct errors and omissions regularly, without the suspicion of attempts to disenfranchise member(s) arising.

This is what I intend to introduce to our great Branch, if elected and chosen to serve as Secretary. A regularly updated Directory of Members, containing a wide range of information, which can be regularly reviewed by members, to assist Electoral Committees of the future, and to have this be the norm, so as to reduce the rush in the period just before Elections.

This is my promise, and with your support, this is possible.

Vote Oros! Vote Orowhuo W. A. Okocha, Esq., for Secretary, NBA Port Harcourt Branch!!

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