NBA PRESIDENT CONVENES NATIONAL DIALOGUE ON THE STATE OF THE NATION
Dear Learned Seniors and Friends,
Sir Christopher Sapara Williams, on the role of the lawyer to the nation, said:
“the legal practitioner lives for the direction of his people and the advancement of the cause of his county”
Also, Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, CJN (of blessed memory), on the critical role lawyers play in the life of a nation, made the following profound statement:
“The respect in which the Bar in any country is held is the best indicator of the freedom in that country.”
It is clear from the above-quoted statements that, as privileged members of the legal profession. We cannot afford to fail to discharge our primary responsibility of providing leadership and guidance on matters that affect the socio-economic and political development of our nation. In doing this, we must continue to demonstrate a high regard for professional and ethical standards in order to earn the respect of the government and the people.
We are set to go to the polls in about 5 weeks, to elect our representatives who will run the affairs of government; executive and legislature, for the next four years. For this purpose, we have the responsibility to provide guidance and leadership to the Nigerian people, from the point of view of our privileged position as members of the legal profession.
In my Inaugural Address on 26 August 2022, I noted amongst other things, that:
“There has not been any time in this country when Nigerians have looked more to the Bar as they do now, for a way out of the rather bleak situation, and they are certainly looking in the right direction. We are the ones who, by the privilege of our training and expertise, are positioned to ask the right questions, interrogate the system and call those saddled with the responsibility of providing security for the lives and properties of Nigerians, to account for their stewardship. Permit me to borrow from a biblical expression and to say that; just as the entire world is eagerly waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, so are Nigerians eagerly waiting for the discharge of the leadership responsibility and interventions of the members of the legal profession. We have what it takes to precipitate the leadership that will bring the succour and freedom Nigerians deserve and we cannot afford to shirk from that responsibility.”
I went on to say that the need to continuously engage government at all levels is necessary to, amongst other things, generate discussions that will provide Nigerians with sufficient information to guide them in making their choice of persons to occupy elective offices in the upcoming general elections. Nigerians must be satisfied, given the concrete realities of our nation, with the practical solutions that are being proposed by those seeking elective offices as it relates to the current security, economic and political challenges. Consistent with our duty to the people, we cannot allow the nation to be misled, as Abraham Lincoln once said: “let the people know the truth and the country will be safe”.
In furtherance to this commitment, I have convened the NBA STATE OF THE NATION DIALOGUE, at which we shall invite the Presidential Candidates, to speak to us on the three broad subjects of security, economy, and the administration of justice. This is scheduled to hold on the 30 January 2023.
Thereafter, on 31 January 2023, I shall deliver a State of the Nation Address which will articulate the position of the Bar on the three main areas of the Dialogue, and present our expectations, on behalf of the people of Nigeria, from this government and, subsequently, from the next government as may be constituted by the winners in the forthcoming elections.
I invite you all to share your thoughts on these subjects, with the possible recommendations we should make. By this, we shall bring to bear our collective views and will, as members of the legal profession (Bench/Bar), in the discharge of our responsibility to guide the Nigerian people.
Your contributions/recommendations should be sent to me via email to email@example.com and should reach me on or before the close of work on Monday, 23 January 2023.
Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN