Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) has restated the association’s commitment to a transparent electoral process.
He spoke at this year’s Founders Day Lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), held at the Nigerian Judicial Institute, Abuja.
Mahmoud, represented by the First-Vice President Mr. Caleb Dajan said NBA had been working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to promote electoral integrity in the country.
He said: “The duty of the NBA Election Observer Group is to observe Nigeria elections and give report of their observations on the process and conduct of the elections.
“In view of the above, the NBA in conjunction with INEC has since 2011 till date, engaged lawyers that would act as observers representing the NBA in Elections.
“The elections observation exercise provides the opportunity for lawyers to display the very fabric on which the law profession is built upon: integrity, excellence, courage and professionalism in the way and manner they observe the election.”
Dejan said the election monitoring group was in line with NBA’s determination to provide an unbiased reportage and stance on the conduct of elections.
The keynote speaker, former INEC chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega said electoral integrity was the key to democratisation.
“No matter how elections are regularly held, if they do not represent the true voters, in which vote does not actually and truly count, vitiate the substance attributes of democracy and undermine democracy, then such election lacks integrity.
“The extent and magnitude of electoral fraud is what undermines electoral integrity and that electoral integrity is now considered globally as a serious business deserving serious attention,” he said.
NIALS Director-General Prof. Adedeji Adekunle (SAN) said the Institute has introduced an online learning model to enable students learn in the comfort of their homes.
He also said that the founding fathers designed the institute such that it will not only advance in research and learning but in law, adding that the Institute has not only discharged its duty in terms of research but on how legal and social disputes are resolved.
At the event were prominent personalities including: Chief Adegboyega Solomon Awomolo (SAN) and his wife Chief Victoria Olufunmilayo Awomolo (SAN), Senator Shehu Sani, Kwara State Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmad, Nigerian Copyright Commission Director-General Mr. Afam Ezekude, Cardinal John Olorunfem Onaiyekan, Chairman Federal Road Safety Commission board, Mr. Bukhari Bello, Commissioner, Nigerian Law Reform Commission P.C Okorie, among others.