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NBA conference: Sanusi defends El-rufai, says he is a nationalist, not a bigot

MOHAMMED Sanusi, the former Emir of Kano has criticised the decision of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to disinvite Nasir El-rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State as a speaker from this year NBA annual conference.

Sanusi said this on Sunday during a visit to Kaduna since his dethronement earlier this year, noting that the Kaduna State Governor is a nationalist and has never ever associated with any ethnic or religious bigotry.

He said the NBA should have used the opportunity to engage with him rather than withdraw El-Rufai’s invitation.

The former CBN governor also described the decision to withdraw his invitation as sad for freedom of speech in Nigeria.

“Anybody who knows him, knows he has never ever associated with any ethnic or religious bigotry. All our friends and people never know us as northerners because we are just Nigerians,” he said.

“If you feel that the Governor of Kaduna SState is not doing well, you should invite him to your conference and ask him, and let him explain himself on what he’s doing and tell him what you think he’s doing wrong. You will learn something form him and he’ll learn something from you,” he said.

“If you disagree with someone, having him in your hall and telling him your view is the best and he can defend himself. And if they’re things he needs to improve, he’ll take them on board and if they’re things you don’t know of, you’ll be better informed. I think NBA has lost an opportunity to interrogate the Governor and collectively rub minds to identify areas that need to be addressed for the purpose of governance.”

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NBA had voted last week voted to remove El-rufai, as a speaker from the 60th Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) annual conference starting on August 26.

His removal follows protest by lawyers who argued that El-Rufai should be removed from among the speakers lined up for the conference due to the killings in the Southern Kaduna and his record for disregarding rule of law.

Lawyers had on Tuesday threatened to boycott the event if the Governor of Kaduna State was not removed as one of the speakers.

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They had taken to Twitter to demand his exclusion from the panel, describing him as ill-fit to address lawyers or be a part of such gathering.

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