It attempts to take away the attention from the larger issues behind Mallam El-Rufai’s disinvitation. It takes away the focus from the fact that Boko Haram in the entire North East has killed more people in Southern Kaduna this year alone, than.
It attempts to distract us from the fact that the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has developed an uncanny proclivity to blatantly treat court orders, which do not suit his agenda with contempt, impunity, and utmost derision.
It takes away the focus from the fact that fierce critic of Mallam El-Rufai, Abubakar Idris, also known as “Dadiyata”, has been missing since he was abducted in Kaduna State for over one year now. It attempts to distract us from the ordeals of Stephen Kefason, who was captured in a Gestapo style by security agencies allegedly sent by Mallam El-Rufai and kept in detention for over three months, before his eventual release.
The truth, without mincing words, is that Mallam El-Rufai’s disinvitation had nothing to do with his religion or ethnicity. It was solely an angry Bar’s reaction to sustained outcry and outrage by lawyers and well-meaning Nigerians against Mallam El-Rufai’s flagrant abuse of democratic ideals in the administration of Kaduna State. El-Rufai’s invitation was in direct response to widespread protests against his inactivity and lukewarm towards the injustice in Kaduna State and absolutely nothing with ethnicity or religion. Where were these protesters when he was committing these? How come they never raised a finger of protest against genocidal acts, but are dripping oceans of lamentation one a mere dis-invitation of the alleged perpetrator of these acts? It this how to nurture democracy and keep one country?
The other lame argument that has been put forward by the “El-Rufai army” is that his disinvitation offends the core principle of fair hearing. The allusion to lack of fair hearing is simply tantamount to being clever by half. For what it is worth, Mallam El-Rufai was not standing trial before any constitutionally recognized court of record in Section 6 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, such as to activate section 36 thereof. Moreover, the NBA Conference is neither a court of record nor a platform for the resolution of issues that reside best in a court of law. The NEC was neither debating his culpability or otherwise. It simply said the invitation prober if not quenched early enough would distract from the NBA AGM Finish?
El-Rufai’s flagrant disobedience of rule of law and violating of citizens rights are clearly against the objectives of the NBA, as part of the aims of the NBA is to uphold the rule of law.
The inherent power of invitation also comes with disinvitation. He who can hire can also fire. Though the principle of fair hearing is one of the cardinal pillars of law, it comes to play during a trial or a quasi-judicial hearing. The above scenario is not one of these by any means.
The NBA, as an association, however, followed due process in the withdrawal of Governor El-Rufai’s invitation, because the decision was supported by the majority at the NEC meeting present and voting.
With respect to the huffs and puffs of some dissident branches of the NBA to withdraw from the conference, the words of my good friend and brother, Chief Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, are sufficient:
“A branch of the NBA has no authority or mandate to speak for the NBA. Bauchi Branch should be advised on this. The Constitution of the NBA makes NEC the highest decision-making organ of the NBA subject only to Annual General Conference. No branch has the right to dissociate itself from a decision of NBA NEC.
The provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and NBA Constitution referred to in the Bauchi branch Press Release are totally irrelevant to the decision taken by NEC to withdraw the invitation extended to Governor El Rufai to speak at its AGC. In other words, I don’t see how Governor El Rufai’s rights were violated by the decision of the NBA to withdraw the invitation extended to him to speak at its AGC. El Rufai is not entitled to speak at the NBA’s AGC as of right. Inherent in the right to invite is the right to withdraw the invitation”. Shikena.
The NEC is the highest decision-making organ of the NBA, second only to the NBA Annual General Meeting (AGM). The NEC decision was neither a judgment on the person of Mallam El Rufai nor an assessment of his leadership of Kaduna State. The NEC decision simply canceled the TCCP`s invitation to Mallam El Rufai. NEC did not sit in judgment over Mallam El Rufai. It merely took a decision targeted at averting needles, controversy, and in line with the wishes of an overwhelming majority of NBA members.
In conclusion, the ventilations against Mallam El-Rufai’s disinvitation are tantamount to flogging a dead horse. It amounts to absolutely nothing. It is nothing but the Shakespeare words, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and funny and signifying nothing”.