NBA Members In Trouble For Endorsing Guber Candidate In Akwa Ibom
The Nigerian Bar Association President, Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau,SAN, has instructed the NBA Election Monitoring Group to immediately exclude all members of the Akwa Ibom NBA branch from participating in the monitoring of the forthcoming general election.
Maikyau gave the directive after confirming that the NBA members endorsed a candidate in the Akwa Ibom governorship election.
Recall that the branch members and executives had last week endorsed the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Pastor Umo Eno.
But speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Maikyau described the move as “disgusting”, adding that the NBA remains non-partisan.
He added that those involved will face disciplinary actions.
“I commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for all that it is doing to deliver a free, fair, and credible election to Nigerians. I charge INEC to maintain its independence as we unequivocally, as a Bar, declare our support to help ward off any attempt to undermine the integrity of the electoral process and neutrality of INEC.
“In this regard, my attention was drawn to a social media publication that the Nigerian Bar Association in Akwa Ibom State had endorsed a candidate in the forthcoming election. I took time to verify the information and I have confirmation that this indeed took place. I want to say in no unclear terms that we condemn the action of the few members who embarked on such despicable and disgraceful conduct using the platform of the NBA.
“That declaration was not made for or with the authority of the NBA. It is disgusting and I have already instructed the First Vice President NBA who is leading the NBA Election Monitoring Group, to immediately exclude all the branches of the NBA in Akwa Ibom State from participating in the monitoring of the forthcoming election.
“This exclusion will be communicated to INEC forthwith and members involved in this conduct will also face disciplinary action as may be determined by the NBA.
“NBA is not partisan; we are not a political party, we are representatives of the people, we remain neutral and must be seen to maintain our neutrality at all times – we belong to everyone and to nobody,” the NBA president said.
On the implementation of the demonetisation policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, he said the association consulted with stakeholders across the country and observed the difficulties Nigerians were facing and then decided to appeal for a reconsideration and review of the implementation of the policy.
“We wrote a letter to the Central Bank of Nigeria, other relevant government offices and visited the Minister of Finance in this regard.
“Incidentally, today would have been the last day when the affected Naira Notes would have ceased to be legal tender. While we commend the policy and support government drive to stem corruption and other criminal activities by the implementation of the policy, we shall continue to insist that this is done strictly within the ambits of the law,” he added.
Making reference to the NBA state of the nation dialogue which held on Monday, he explained that the NBA invited all the presidential candidates to use its platform to discuss plans on the three thematic areas of security, economy and administration of justice.
“We shall as NBA articulate our position arising from the State of the Nation Dialogue on the various subjects, on behalf of Nigerians, and make same available to all the presidential candidates before the elections. I must at this point acknowledge and appreciate the presidential candidates who honoured our invitation.
“In no particular order, I thank (1) Alh Ado-Ibrahim Abdulmalik, Young Progressive Party; (2) Major Hamza Alustapha (Rtd), Action Alliance Party; (3) Mr Adebayo Adewole Ebenezer, Social Democratic Party; (4) Mr Kachikwu Dumebi, African Democratic Congress; (5) Mr Nwanyawu Daniel Deberechukwu, Zenith Labour Party; (6) Mr Sani Yabagi Yusuf, Action Democratic Party; (7) Mr Sowore Omoyele Stephen, African Action Congress; (8) Mr Umeadi Peter Nnanna Chukwudi, All Progressives Grand Alliance; (9) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, All Progressives Congress reprented by Liman, SAN,” Maikyau said.
Furthermore, the NBA president urged the general public not to lose confidence in the legal profession.
“The challenges we face as a Body of Legal Professionals where a few amongst us have by their misconduct, brought disdain and disrespect to the Bench and the Bar remain of grave concern. But let me assure Nigerians that those instances professional misconducts (or alleged professional misconduct) do not represent who we are.
“The instances of alleged corrupt practices and professional misconducts constitute a minute fraction of members of the legal profession. They are not our banner, our signposts and thus cannot be a basis for the characterisation of the legal profession in Nigeria.
“I urge Nigerians to repose confidence in the legal profession, hold us to account, report cases of misconduct and we are committed to ensuring that the bad eggs amongst us are singled out, brought to book, and dealt with decisively,” he added.