By Nwamaka Chigbo
THE Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, under the aegis of Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, its national president, held a State of the Nation dialogue on January 30, in Abuja. The maiden event, which focused on three key areas of the polity – economy, security, and administration, had Amina Mohammed, the United Nations deputy secretary general and chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, as the keynote speaker.
Mohammed, charged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to ensure the success of the 2023 general elections, noting that INEC has made a giant stride in ensuring a credible, free, and fair election in the country. She added that it behooves the Nigerian Bar Association to devise a mechanism that would effectively manage conflicts that may arise from the conduct of the elections which commences on February 25, with the presidential and National Assembly polls. She assured of the United Nations’ commitment to ensuring a credible election in Nigeria and made a case for an increase in the number of women in the politics of the country.
In his remarks, Maikyau, on behalf of lawyers in the country, admitted failing the nation in the area of providing direction and leadership for Nigeria, a situation, which he said, was responsible for the unfortunate situation the country finds itself presently.
The NBA president sadly noted that the strident pursuit of fame and money has led lawyers to drift from the focal point of the call to serve the cause of justice
While apologising to Nigerians for failing over the years to ensure right and quality leadership in the helms of affairs, Maikyau assured that the lawyers would henceforth turn a new leaf. In his words: “I dare say, with the utmost respect, that to a large extent, our experience today as a country is a direct result of the legal profession’s abdication of the duty to provide direction and leadership to the people. I must therefore, as one who is privileged to lead the Bar at this time, apologize to Nigerians for the abdication of our role.
“Today, as members of the Bar, we are reputed more for how much fees we charge our clients as opposed to the discharge of our primary call to offer guidance and/or offer ourselves for the advancement of the cause of our country.
“This apology is necessary because, no other group of professionals is called to this privileged position as the lawyers, which also comes with a corresponding responsibility to provide leadership”, he said.
He further stated that lawyers have what it takes to bring about the leadership that will bring the succour and freedom Nigerians deserve, the NBA president, harped on the need to continuously engage government at all levels and thereby generate discussions that will provide Nigerians with sufficient information to guide them in making their choice of persons to occupy elective offices in the upcoming general elections.
Realnews reports that panelists, who spoke on issues relating to security, economy, and justice in their different submissions urged the presidential candidates present to shun religious and ethnic considerations in governance. They also made a case for the engagement of competent and capable hands that would quickly bring about the much-needed dividends of democracy.
The event witnessed an array of distinguished personalities, presidential candidates, renowned scholars in the legal profession, experts, and professionals from relevant fields amongst whom are former Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase, Brigadier General Abubakar Hanafi Sa’ad, Bala Zakakar, Group Captain Sadiq Garba shehu, Babatunde Ajibade SAN, Wale Fapohunda, SAN, and Huwaila Mohammed, who served as panelist with the renowned erstwhile TV Broadcaster, Eugenia Abu, as moderator.
Amongst the presidential candidates in attendance were: Hamza Al-mustapha of the Action Alliance (AA), Omoyele Sowore, African Action Congress, AAC; Dumebi Kachukwu, African Democratic Congress, ADC; Sani Yusuf, Action Democratic Party, ADP; Prof Peter Umeadi, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Prince Adewole Adebayo, Social Democratic Party, SDP, and Daniel Nwanyanwu of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP.
KNTags: Amina Mohammed Nigerian Bar Association Nwamaka Chigbo Zenith Labour Party