Why it is wrong to call Tinubu an illegal president – NBA

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has stated that it is incorrect to label President Bola Tinubu as an illegal president, as his declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not been overturned by the court.

According to the NBA, “there is only one President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and that is President Bola Tinubu.”

The NBA president, Mr. Yakubu Mailyau (SAN), clarified this during the presentation of the communique of the 63rd annual NBA conference in Abuja.

He also expressed surprise at the rejection of the proposed amendment to the association’s current constitution.

According to him, the well-intentioned amendments aimed at the financial and ethical development of the members could not have come at a better time, considering the prevailing economic changes the country is undergoing.

Maikyau noted that the reason(s) for the rejection should be advanced by those who rejected it.

According to him, how proposals in the amendment were rejected remains baffling, as one of the proposals is seeking to increase the statutory 10% remittance to the NBA branches based on what the members pay as Bar practicing fees, as contained in the extant constitution.

He said the proposal was an increment from 10 to 20 percent, believing that the increment would give the state branches access to more funds with which to run the affairs of the state organs.

The second proposal was the Stabilization Fund, which he said would expose members to funds for personal development, which was an innovation.

“Our lawyers have been very desirous, and they need support. Young lawyers can make money across the globe on the go by reason of technological know-how. So we’ve been talking about access to finance for our lawyers.

“So that when we put the package together, we have a fund that we described in the proposed constitution as the Stabilization Fund.

“We decided to put it in the constitution to reinforce that fund so that nobody comes tomorrow and will do something different.

“What was the purpose of that proposal is to say, okay, for instance, now we have a deposit of N1.5 billion.”

On the controversy over his visit to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Maikyau said it was unnecessary because he had not acted in contravention of the constitution.

He said President Tinubu did not get to the Presidential Villa on his own volition but through what the constitution says and according to the body empowered to pronounce him as the winner of the process through which he won.

“It is based on the provisions of the Constitution and the relevant extant laws promulgated by the National Assembly.

No, we have the constitution. We have the Electoral Act, it prescribes everything. And then we have the Evidence Act, which says that if a declaration is made by a public officer, that declaration is presumed to be right. And that everything that needed to be done for that to happen had been done.

“There is nowhere you will find any law that says because an election is being challenged, then a person’s election that is being challenged is an illegal government, is unconstitutional.

“That is wrong, that is absolutely an abdication of our responsibility to give direction to the people of the country.

“We are misleading the people. And let me tell you, we (lawyers) are very influential by reason of the position we hold because the people of this country expect us to guide them on the provisions of the law.

“That is why we must be measured in the way we speak. We can’t afford to speak anyhow because of that responsibility.”

“So please, I went to the president because today, there is only one president and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic. If you are a petitioner in the Election Petition Tribunal, the law calls you a petitioner, not president.

“And that is the law. If there’s anybody who questions this position of the law, let me know. So, that is why we went to him. We are very cultured people, if the law says this is what it is, we will follow it.”

Meanwhile,the NBA has called on the Federal & State Governments to refocus efforts on infrastructure development, improve power generation, improve agricultural productivity, and expand jobs in rural areas.

In addition, the group said there should also be greater attention on youth employment through education and entrepreneurship skills training.

Maikyau who read communique, said: “Conference issued a cautionary message, highlighting the diminishing relevance of Nigeria’s current natural resources in the face of the imperative shift towards renewable energy solutions driven by climate change concerns. It stressed the urgency of embracing the new economic realities of the 21st century that will overshadow the significance of present natural resources.

Beneficial policies for the revitalization of the Nigerian economy must be formulated and implemented for the sake of not just the current generation but for future generations as well. Some of these policies may have consequences that are not immediately comfortable but will be beneficial for the overall economy and in the long term. Citizens are therefore encouraged to be patient in the renewed hope for the development and growth of the economy of this great nation.

The importance of a strong, independent judiciary was emphasized. Conference affirmed the need for an urgent upward review of judicial remuneration. Conference recommends the separation of Judicial Remuneration from public sector including the removal of the remuneration of judicial officers from the purview of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission {RMAFC}. Conference also recommended an independent salary scale for judicial officers. Conference recommends that urgent attention be paid to the plight of magistrates and other lower court judges.

19/ Conference recommends that the Federal and State governments extend financial support to pro bono schemes in Nigeria to bolster their effectiveness. That there must be collaborative efforts between the Nigerian Bar Association and other relevant stakeholders to enhance the provision of pro bono services and narrowing the gap in access to justice.

On security, the conference recommended practical strategies to address security concerns. These include community involvement in policing, youth engagement through job creation, enhanced regional cooperation, media sensitization, comprehensive police reforms, religious school regulation, strengthening the judiciary, and observance of human rights. The adoption of State security forces, proper land management, international resource acquisition, and meticulous implementation of approved plans were also suggested.

In addition, the NBA urged citizens to actively contribute to combating insecurity by being vigilant and speaking up. It called upon the legal community to explore ways of enhancing Nigeria’s access to finance to support the fight against insecurity. Overall, the Conference underscored the need for comprehensive, multi-faceted efforts to address the nation’s challenges.

The association further recommended legislative intervention to address gaps in the Armed Forces Act and other legal frameworks, enhancing regulations and accountability for military personnel involved in low intensity conflicts.


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