According to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the legitimate victor of the 2023 presidential election.
The group of attorneys claimed it was incorrect for anyone to refer to Tinubu as an illegitimate president because the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has not overturned the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) proclamation of his victory.
Remember that Tinubu’s INEC proclamation as the winner of the presidential election on February 25th is being contested at the tribunal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Yakubu Maikyau, the president of the NBA, rejected claims that Tinubu is an unconstitutional president while reacting to a number of problems involving the position of many Nigerians and answering questions at the distribution of a communique of the 63rd annual NBA conference in Abuja.
He emphasised that in order for the insinuation to be true, the court would have to rule that the petitions contesting his victory are legitimate.
“As at today, there is only one president and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in the person of President Bola Tinubu,” he said.
Maikyau emphasised that Tinubu cannot be referred to as an unlawful president since he did not become president of Nigeria out of his own free will, but rather in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and the authority authorised to declare him the victor of the process by which he won.
Such implication, in his opinion, is deemed to be misleading the public.
Speaking on the controversy surrounding his visit to President Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Maikyau claimed it was pointless because his behaviour was not in violation of the law.
He said: “It is based on the provisions of the Constitution and the relevant extant laws promulgated by the National Assembly. No, we have the constitution. We have the Electoral Act, it prescribes everything. And then, we have the Evidence Act, which says that if a declaration is made by a public officer, that declaration is presumed to be right. And that everything needed to be done for that to happen had been done. There is nowhere you will find any law that says because an election is being challenged, then a person’s election that is being challenged is an illegal government, is unconstitutional.
“That is wrong, that is absolutely an abdication of our responsibility to give direction to the people of the country. We are misleading the people. And let me tell you, we (lawyers) are very influential because of the position we hold because the people of this country expect us to guide them on the provisions of the law.
“That is why we must be measured in the way we speak. We can’t afford to speak anyhow because of that responsibility. So, please, I went to the president because today, there is only one president and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic. If you are a petitioner in the Election Petition Tribunal, the law calls you a petitioner, not president.
“And that is the law. If there’s anybody who questions this position of the law, let me know. So, that is why we went to him. We are very cultured people, if the law says this is what it is, we will follow it.”
The NBA urged the federal and state governments to prioritise their efforts on improving rural infrastructure, electricity generation, agricultural productivity, and employment opportunities.
Additionally, it recommended paying more emphasis to entrepreneurship education and young employment.
Reading the communique of the body of lawyers, Maikyau said: “Conference issued a cautionary message, highlighting the diminishing relevance of Nigeria’s current natural resources in the face of the imperative shift towards renewable energy solutions driven by climate change concerns. It stressed the urgency of embracing the new economic realities of the 21st century that will overshadow the significance of present natural resources.
“Beneficial policies for the revitalization of the Nigerian economy must be formulated and implemented for the sake of not just the current generation but for future generations as well. Some of these policies may have consequences that are not immediately comfortable but will be beneficial for the overall economy and in the long term. Citizens are therefore encouraged to be patient in the renewed hope for the development and growth of the economy of this great nation.
“The importance of a strong, independent judiciary was emphasised. The conference affirmed the need for an urgent upward review of judicial remuneration. The conference recommends the separation of Judicial Remuneration from the public sector, including the removal of the remuneration of judicial officers from the purview of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC.)
“Conference also recommended an independent salary scale for judicial officers, and that urgent attention be paid to the plight of magistrates and other lower court judges.
“The Conference recommended that the federal and state governments extend financial support to pro bono schemes in Nigeria to bolster their effectiveness.”
The Nigerian Bar Association and other pertinent parties must work together to improve the delivery of pro bono services and close the justice access gap.
In terms of security, the conference suggested doable solutions to security issues. These include increased regional cooperation, media awareness campaigns, thorough police reforms, religious school regulation, strengthened judicial systems, and the respect for human rights. They also include community involvement in policing. Adopting State security forces, managing land properly, acquiring international resources, and carefully carrying out approved plans were also recommended.In terms of security, the conference suggested doable solutions to security issues. These include increased regional cooperation, media awareness campaigns, thorough police reforms, religious school regulation, strengthened judicial systems, and the respect for human rights. They also include community involvement in policing. Adopting State security forces, managing land properly, acquiring international resources, and carefully carrying out approved plans were also recommended.
The NBA also exhorted people to speak up and be watchful in order to actively battle insecurity. It urged the legal profession to look into measures to improve Nigeria’s access to funding to aid in the fight against insecurity. Overall, the Conference emphasised the necessity for thorough, multifaceted efforts to tackle the problems facing the country.
The association also advocated for legislative action to close loopholes in the Armed Forces Act and other legal frameworks, strengthening rules and holding military personnel accountable in low-intensity wars