Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has accused the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Saturday of not granting him a fair hearing before de-inviting him as guest speaker at the association’s 60th Annual General Conference (AGC).
El-Rufai made his grievance known in a protest letter to the NBA through his counsel, Mr. A.U. Mustapha (SAN).
The letter read in part: “The news of the withdrawal by the Annual General Conference Planning Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association its earlier invitation to Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai as a guest speaker in the forthcoming NBA 60th Annual General Conference was received by my humble self with rude shock and bewilderment.”
“It is utterly scandalous, to say the least. My response is principally dictated by the strange circumstance leading to and surrounding the said withdrawal of the invitation, which is based on one-sided allegations contained in a petition by the so-called Open Bar Initiative, which was believed and acted upon by the Annual General Conference Planning Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association without any reference to Governor El-Rufai.”
”The decision taken by the NBA to withdraw their invitation to Governor El-Rufai on the basis of the wild and unsubstantiated allegations contained in the Open Bar Initiative petition without any reference to the governor is not only a naked affront on the rule of law but also a contradiction of the NBA’s motto which held itself out as the custodian, defender and guardian Angel of the rule of law in Nigeria.”
”The implications of this grievous decision by the NBA demonstrate a total disregard for the basic constitutional provision of fair hearing which is the foundation and bedrock of the rule of law designed for the safeguard of fundamental right and freedom in any civilised and democratic society.”
“It therefore beats all imagination that an elitist professional body like the NBA could take a decision that negates the very essence of this fundamental constitutional provision, no matter how tempting or appealing the reason may be.”
Also, a group in the NBA, Radical Agenda Movement, has equalled asked the association to in like manner withdraw the invitation of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State as speakers at the AGC.