NBA urges INEC to maintain its independence, integrity
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to maintain its independence and integrity in the conduct of the presidential, governorship and National Assembly elections.
The NBA president, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, made the call on Tuesday in Abuja while addressing a news conference on the state of the nation.
Mr Maikyau also pledged the NBA’s support within its legal powers to protect the integrity of the electoral process.
“I charge INEC to maintain its independence as we unequivocally, as a bar, declare our support to help ward off any attempt to undermine the integrity of the electoral process and neutrality of INEC,” Mr Maikyau said.
He commended INEC for extending the deadline for collecting Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), saying it indicated the commission’s readiness and willingness to give every eligible Nigerian the opportunity to exercise their franchise.
The NBA boss also said that while ensuring that lawyers were not intimidated by the political class, sanctions would be meted out on any erring lawyer or judicial officer.
“Similarly, members of the bar who misconduct themselves while participating in the resolution of electoral disputes will face disciplinary action at the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) and the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC), where Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) are involved.”
The NBA president again apologised to Nigerians for what he said was an abdication of responsibility on the part of the legal profession.
“The legal profession, to a great extent, has not held the government accountable on behalf of the people of this nation, and this does not necessarily mean being confrontational with the government.”
He, however, said there were times when it was necessary and inevitable to go into confrontations to drive home specific points or achieve certain desired goals and objectives for the common good of the people.
He referred to the dialogue on the state of the nation the association held on Monday and said that resolutions reached would be articulated and sent to all presidential candidates.