The announcement of the resignation of the President of the Ghana Bar Association, Nii Osadu Mills at the annual conference of the association in Kumasi on Monday received loud applause among members of the legal profession.
The clapping among the gathering was so intense that it drowned the announcement by the acting National President and National Vice President of the GBA, Benson Nutsukpi.
According to the acting National President, the former President (Nii Osadu Mills) informed a meeting of the GBA Council of his resignation on the eve of the commencement of the association's annual conference at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi.
He said Nii Osadu Mills' resignation was not related to the conference and would therefore not affect the conference, adding that business would go on as usual, a statement which received a thunderous applause from the participants.
Addressing the conference, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Joe Ghartey, said the legal profession and the judiciary were bracing themselves to face the challenges and opportunities that would accrue from the emergence of the oil and gas industry.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice said his outfit had sent five lawyers to the University of Aberdeen to do a Masters' programme in oil and gas law. Two others would also be sent abroad for a Masters' pogramme in natural resource law whilst five more lawyers would leave next year to pursue a Masters degree in oil and gas law.
This intervention, according to Joe Ghartey, is to ensure that the nation is ready to exploit the benefits of the oil find.
He called for the need for the establishment of a committee on oil and gas within the Ghana Bar Association to ensure that the legal profession in Ghana prepares itself for the inevitable globalization that would occur when the oil and gas industry is developed.
The Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, charged the GBA to develop the legal profession to internationally accept standards to enhance and leverage the responsibility of the profession in Ghana and the rest of the world.This, Her Ladyship noted, would reinforce the competitive advantage of Ghanaian lawyers in terms of their employability and engagement.
She noted that against the backdrop of globalization, the face of legal practice worldwide is undergoing profound changes and charged the lawyers to prepare themselves adequately for the challenges that it brings.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, said the role of the Bar and the Bench in helping to fashion out the future direction of the nation's democracy could not be overstressed, saying from the period of colonization through independence and even during the turbulent years of military dictatorship, the Bar and the Bench had played significant roles in preserving the dignity of Ghanaians, sometimes at the peril of the lives of some of their members.
"Indeed some lawyers and judges have paid dearly in the pursuit of their calling and their belief but that should not dent our resolve to uphold the tenet of democracy since it is the best known path to ensure freedom and justice', said the Ashanti Regional Minister.
The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II appealed to the GBA to ensure that the nation proceeds through a free and fair election by asking politicians to conduct the election in a peaceful manner.