Why we dropped El-Rufai from list of NBA conference speakers, president speaks

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PAUL Usoro, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)  has explained why Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna state was dropped from the list of speakers who were shortlisted for the NBA 2020 conference.

In a letter to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and personally signed by the president, Usoro stated that when the issue came up at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, the preponderance of opinion was that the Governor be dropped.

“There was indeed a motion that was moved and seconded to that effect. Those who spoke in favour of his attendance, including me, were in the minority,” Usoro said.

The NBA president stated how he personally tried to douse the clamour from aggrieved lawyers who pushed for El-Rufai’s removal from the list of speakers lined up for the conference.

Usoro said he was placed in a very difficult and problematic position considering that the governor is a friend to him who he knows as far back as the 1980s.

“Prior to the NEC meeting, I had personally taken urgent and strident steps, working with the Annual General Conference Technical Committee for Conference Planning, to douse the clamour, but we had no success,” he said.

He also apologised to all governors and assured them all that the NBA would do nothing to intentionally embarrass them collectively or individually.

Some Nigerian lawyers had threatened to boycott the annual general conference of the NBA if the governor was not removed as one of the speakers. The aggrieved lawyers were questioning his inclusion based on the current killings in Southern Kaduna under his watch.

However, in response to his removal from the list of speakers, El-Rufai said it is unfortunate that the leadership of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) embraced injustice, unfairness and total disregard for the rule of law by removing his name from the list of speakers in the upcoming NBA annual conference.

The NEC of the NBA removed the Governor on Thursday as a speaker from the conference after pressure mounted from lawyers who kicked against his participation and stated that the association elected to endorse a one-sided narrative on what he called a profound national issue.


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