Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says he is not deterred by the decision of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to remove him as one of its speakers for the body’s 2020 Conference.
The NBA had, following a petition against the governor by some lawyers – due to security issues in Kaduna – yanked of El-Rufai’s name as a speaker in the event scheduled to hold virtually from August 24-26, 2020.
But in a statement on behalf of the governor, Special Adviser to the former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muyiwa Adekeye said his principal will continue to speak on matters of national importance.
The National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association at its ongoing meeting resolves that the invitation to the Kaduna State Governor, H.E. Nasir El-Rufai by the 2020 Annual General Conference Planning committee be withdrawn and decision communicated to the Governor.
— Nigerian Bar Association (@NigBarAssoc) August 20, 2020
“When lawyer friends requested Malam Nasir El-Rufai to accept the invitation of the NBA to participate in a panel discussion on national identity, he accepted as part of his commitment to having a national conversation and the evolution of a national consensus,” Muyiwa said.
“NBA platform or not, these worthy conversations must continue. He will continue to make his voice heard on the things our country needs to do for its progress.”
While the NBA has the right to determine who speaks at its event, El-Rufai says he did not seek the lawyers’ platform and do not see the development as enough reason to be agitated.
El-Rufai believes with happenings in the lead up to the NBA’s decision, there is a need to clear the air just as he accused the lawyers’ body of following what he described as a “one-sided narrative.”
The NBA leadership, as far as the Kaduna leader is concerned, have by removing him as a speaker in the conference, embraced injustice, unfairness and an indifference to the rule of law.
“For an association, whose bread and butter is about justice to make a ruling based on the stridency of people who lampoon judicial processes against certain individuals without hearing the other side is odd,” the statement explained.
“It bears noting that in its response to pressure, the NBA leadership has signalled an unfortunate embrace of injustice, unfairness, absence of fair hearing and total disregard for the rule of law.”
Although he claims there are several defamatory statements in the petition that led to his withdrawal from the conference, the statement noted that it is a matter that will be treated differently.
‘Constituency For Peace’
While reeling out his principal’s efforts in peace-building and his development strides, El-Rufai’s aide said Kaduna is not the only state experiencing security challenges in the country and assured that in spite of the challenges, the Kaduna governor will not be deterred in his quest to address the situation.
“His investments in building a constituency for peace, anchored on the rule of law, respect for the citizenship rights of everyone and an embrace of the obligations of a common humanity will continue,” he added.
“Those who have chosen to pretend that it is only Kaduna State that is experiencing the security challenges in North-West, or that it is only one part of the state that is affected can enjoy the illusion.
“Malam El-Rufai remains focused on the tough and hard work of stopping the bleeding and the needless breaking of bones.”