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NBA ‘unfair, unjust’ in withdrawing conference invitation – el-Rufai

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Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state has described the withdrawal of invitation to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference as “unfair and unjust” .

In a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye on Thursday night, el-Rufai lamented that the NBA based its decision on a one-sided narrative.

‘’That a professional organisation has elected to endorse a one-sided narrative on a profound national issue is something that its members may wish to reflect upon.

‘’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,’’ he added.

He said that although the decision about who speaks at an NBA event is that of the association’s, ‘’el-Rufai wishes to make clear that he did not seek the platform and is not agitated that he has one less speaking engagement.’’

The governor revealed that he accepted the invitation to participate in a panel discussion on national identity based on the request of a   lawyer friend, adding that he ‘’accepted as part of his commitment to having a national conversation and the evolution of a national consensus.’’

”These worthy conversations must continue irrespective of platform and  el-Rufai  will continue to make his voice heard on the things our country needs to do for its progress.’’

el-Rufai said that he has taken several actions on the security, institutional and technology fronts to address the legacy of violent strife in the state.

He said that the governor established permanent military and police bases a reality in Southern Kaduna, after close to 40 years of waiting, adding that he  ‘’set up a Peace Commission to nudge communities to embrace their responsibility to live in peace and harmony.’’

The governor vowed that  ‘’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.’’

NAN reports that the leadership of the NBA withdrew the invitation extended to el-Rufai to participate in the association’s forthcoming annual general meeting.

In a resolution at the NBA national executive council meeting on Wednesday, the association said the decision would be communicated to the governor.

“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 Meeting Conference Planning Committee be withdrawn and decision communicated to the Governor,” the NBA said via its Twitter handle.

el-Rufai was among the guest speakers slated to participate in a session titled ‘Who is a Nigerian?… A Debate on National Identity.’

Others also billed to speak at the session are Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers; Peter Obi, the former governor of Anambra and vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party at the 2019 election; Tunde Bakare, a cleric and chairman, African Advisory Council of the Royal Commonwealth Society; Oby Ezekwesili, an activist and former federal minister; and Salamatu Suleiman, the immediate past ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security.

Those billed to speak at the conference include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and Tanko Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria; Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president; Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president; and Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The 60th NBA annual general conference, its first-ever virtual event, is themed ‘Step Forward.’(NAN)


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