The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), has explained why the association withdrew the invitation it once gave to the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, to speak at this year’s edition of the NBA Annual General Conference.
Usoro said the decision to withdraw the invitation was because the majority of the association’s members objected to the governor’s presence at the conference.
Usoro also apologised to El-Rufai for “the unintended embarrassment” which the invitation withdrawal might have caused him.
The apology was contained in Usoro’s August 21, 2020 letter addressed to the Director-General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Mr Asishana Okauru.
The National Executive Committee of the NBA had on Thursday withdrawn El-Rufai’s invitation as a panelist at the virtual conference scheduled to hold from August 24 to 26.
This followed protests by many lawyers who cited alleged injustice for victims of Southern Kaduna attacks, and accusations by human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), that El-Rufai was promoting impunity through disobedience to court orders.
Usoro stated in his letter that El-Rufai was invited as a panelist at the conference without the input of the NBA NEC as a body.
The NBA president described El-Rufai as a friend but noted that he had to bow to the preponderance of the opinions at the Thursday’s meeting of the NEC for the withdrawal of the invitation extended to the governor.
Usoro, who said he voted against the motion for the withdrawal of the invitation, however, stated that the NEC’s decision had nothing to do with ethnicity or the substance of the allegations levelled against El-Rufai.
Usoro’s letter titled, ‘Nigerian Bar Association 2020 Annual General Conference: Invitation to H/E Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State,’ read in part, “Further to our telcon (Okauru/Usoro) this morning (Friday) on the above subject matter, let me, once again, through your good offices, tender my unreserved apology to His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, for the unintended embarrassment that may have been caused him by the decision of the Nigerian Bar Association National Executive Committee’s decision at its meeting that was held yesterday, August 20, 2020, to dis-invite him as a panelist at one of the sessions scheduled for the upcoming NBA Annual General Conference.