For all their famed learnedness, members of the Nigerian legal fraternity are an incredibly docile lot who have normalized a toxic work environment to levels bothering on absurdity. The yNBA is a very decent work of fiction that Xrays the abuse that junior lawyers suffer in the hands of their principals.
The premise of the commentary is the toxic relationship between Otunba Yemi Carrington, an egomaniac Senior Advocate and the young lawyers in his elite practice. The awful relationship comes to a head one morning when he wakes to a mass resignation of all twenty-eight employees. With his inflated ego deflated by the desertion of his subjects, Otunba Yemi goes about to correct what he considers an insult to his image and his prime opponent is Jiboye, the brave and stellar young associate who has more than one score to settle with his former boss. With matters of the heart muddling the waters, each man feels slighted and their manhood questioned.
The battle between Otunba and Jiboye is merely a frame in a larger canvas which The yNBA paints exquisitely. The abuse of power dynamics within the Nigerian legal fraternity is explored in depth. With physical, verbal and even sexual abuses all par for the course in the industry. As the book rightly depicts, while a few brave ones like Dele and Fireman (both are forerunners to Jiboye in the struggle for liberation) have made a statement against the tyranny of senior lawyers in the profession, the majority remain emasculated by the abuse that young lawyers have to put up with.
The yNBA is a well-structured book as it goes back and forth from the present (2016) to the past (2006) seamlessly. The writing is easy and wit ha decent dose of humour. A downside is the pursuit of linguistic purity that the author and her editor embark on when it comes to Yoruba names. I appreciate the use of accents to denote the tonal pronunciations of Yoruba names but it grates when even words like Oga are accented yet a basic non-Yoruba word like “Igbo” is repeatedly spelt as “Ibo”. With such errors, the accents in the Yoruba names then appear pretentious and slightly distracting. Another downside in the book is a tendency to overindulge in flowery descriptions. There is really no need for the reader to be reminded that Orange juice is mustard yellow in colour or that a bank card is a plastic rectangle. This tendency to overindulge in adjectives chips away at the conciseness of the book. In all, The yNBA is a very good easy read and is recommended.