By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has broken the silence on the withdrawal of invitation to him by the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.
NBA had invited the governor to speak at its 2020 Annual General Conference, but decided to withdraw the invitation after over 700 lawyers signed to get the invitation withdrawn.
But El-Rufai, in a statement on Thursday said he was not moved by NBA’s decision, as he never sought the body’s platform to speak.
Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser to the Governor (Media and Communication), said when lawyer friends requested 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.
“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 decision about who speaks at its event is clearly the NBA’s, Malam El-Rufai wishes to make clear that he did not seek the platform and is not agitated that he has one less speaking engagement.
“However, the circumstances of the last few days warrant some comments. 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,” he said.
He said for an association, whose bread and butter was about justice to make a ruling based on the stridency of people who lampoon judicial processes against certain individuals without hearing the other side was odd.
According to Adekeye, it bore noting that in its response to pressure, the NBA leadership had signaled an unfortunate embrace of injustice, unfairness, absence of fair hearing and total disregard for the rule of law.
“The defamatory statements in the petition is another matter entirely, and they will get the appropriate response.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai has taken several actions on the security, institutional and technology fronts to address the legacy of violent strife in the state.
“He is the governor that made permanent military and police bases a reality in southern Kaduna, after close to 40 years of waiting. He is the governor that set up a Peace Commission to nudge communities to embrace their responsibility to live in peace and harmony.
“He has done this with equality of concern for all residents, not just those with access to the media and who are able to mobilise sentiment even when they are part of the problem. 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 said.
Adekeye added that “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.”