The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, has called the members to recognise their roles in the development of Nigeria, adding that they are best equipped to restore, reform, and reposition the country during these difficult times.
This was contained in his New Year message delivered on Sunday, January 1, to celebrate the beginning of 2023.
According to Maikyau, Nigeria is going through difficult times. He noted that the election period was another test for legal professionals to wake up to their obligations, adding they owed Nigerians honesty in electoral process.
The message read in part, “Having entered the new year, I feel constrained to remind us of our place as members of the legal profession and the critical role we play in nation-building. We must re-awaken to our primary responsibilities to our nation, the people, and our clients. Our nation is going through challenging times, and there is no other body more equipped to bring it back on the path of recovery, reformation, and repositioning than the body of legal professionals.
“We are privileged to have all it takes to rebuild Nigeria and we must allow that consciousness to pervade our minds and influence our actions as we do all we can to make Nigeria great again.
“2023 is a momentous year in our country, with the general election coming up on February 25 and March 11, 2023, respectively. As lawyers, we must remember that we have very important roles to play in determining the outcomes of these elections; either as voters alongside other Nigerians, or as counsel advising the political parties and candidates, or in handling the cases that may arise from the elections. Consequently, we owe Nigerians sincere and honest participation in all the stages of the electoral process.
“We also owe ourselves the duty to preserve the legal space for the next generation of lawyers. For this reason, we must shun all forms of unprofessional and unethical practices that may cast the legal profession in bad light and undermine our place in the society. We also have an obligation to the younger members of the profession; the duty of deliberate and sincere mentorship – which is the only way the ideal legal profession will abide to next generations.
“As we interact with fellow Nigerians at all levels, we must always bear in mind that our primary call is to justice – to ensure that justice is done in all circumstances irrespective of who is involved. Therefore, justice, and not remuneration for service, must remain our primary motivation in all we do; we are ministers in the Temple of Justice, and it is to justice that we owe our primary allegiance.
“In this new year, we must commit individually and collectively to the protection and preservation of the integrity and independence of the Judiciary and the Bar. We must fervently promote the rule of law in our country, so that when this year comes to an end, we can look back with pride and fulfilment, knowing that the privilege of the gift of 2023 was judiciously and purposefully used.
“We remain committed to our promises to the Bar and the people of Nigeria, not the least of which is the pursuit of justice for our beloved Mobolanle Raheem and Gafaru Buraimoh (both of blessed memory) whose lives were cut short by the senseless and barbaric acts of persons who had the duty to protect them. As we continue to pray for God’s comfort for their families and loved ones, we must allow our humanity to find expression in our daily interactions and refuse to be numb and insensitive to the unfortunate bloodshed that appears to be our daily experience in different parts of the country.”