How bad planning marred Olumide Akpata’s last conference as NBA president
Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), on Wednesday displayed what has been described as ‘terrible unlawyerly attributes’ at the ongoing Annual General Conference (AGC) of the association in Lagos.
Conference delegates on Tuesday were reported to have looted and vandalised of the accreditation centre at Eko Atlantic City in Lagos, and NBA president, Olumide Akpata, who confirmed the incident, said it was a national embarrassment.
It was the last conference to be organized by the Akpata-led administration, and observers have noted that it was a badly planned conference, obviously the worst in his administration and, perhaps, one of the worst in recent times.
Akpata confirmed that the registration centre for the collection of materials by delegates was broken into, vandalised, and looted by some delegates with most of the conference materials carted away and lawyers/registration officers injured.
He said: “It is a sad commentary. But this is really who we are. We must not delude ourselves. We are as good as our weakest link.”
The NBA president explained that the Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP) had explained that it insisted on top quality bags for the conferees, leading to its rejection of the low-quality bags supplied by the vendor.
He wondered why the conferees were not patient, more so when the quality bags had been supplied.
But a conference delegate who spoke with Nigerian Sketch said “it was deluding for Mr Akpata to blame delegates, moreso that his excuses for the bad organization of the conference were not cogent.
“Biko, how you wan explain say you have not sorted out conference materials with whoever you gave the contract to supply them until the conference resumed?”
He said rejecting materials because they did not meet the agreed standards is not a new thing. “But, that is an issue he and his committee should have resolved if they are organized enough to know and respect what we call ‘timeline and schedule’.
“This also showed that they did not contract the supply to credible people. No credible person or organization whom you have paid as and when due will supply anything below the agreed standard.
“I think this calls for investigation. Could it be that they have brought the so-called ‘Nigerian factor’ into this materials supply thing? Did they pay the suppliers the correct fees or there were some dirty deals that rake off some funds, resulting in low-quality materials?”
The Warri-based delegate, who declined being named, concluded that “I feel bad that this administration ended up with an embarrassingly untidy conference that gave rise to the disgrace of the ‘noble profession’ in Nigeria. Let’s not pretend about this. Mr Olumide Akpata deserved to be knocked for this. There is no shifting blames.”
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