The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, has called on lawyers in the country to be conscious of the strategic place they occupy in the nurturing of the nation’s democracy.
Noting that lawyers will be playing critical role during and after the 2023 general elections, Maikyau called on lawyers to shun practices and not to things that would short-change the coming generation of lawyers.
This was contained in his New Year message to the members of the NBA and Nigerians.
Maikyau said, “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 reawaken 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.”
The NBA President stressed that lawyers have all it takes to rebuild Nigeria, adding that they must operate with that mindset.
He added, “2023 is a momentous year in our country, with the general elections coming up on 25 February and 11 March, 2023. 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 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 do 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 fulfillment, knowing that the privilege of the gift of 2023 was judiciously and purposefully used.”
The NBA President also restated the resolve of the association to get justice for a Lagos-based lawyer, Mobolanle Raheem, who was recently shot dead by a trigger-happy policeman, as well as another Nigerian, Gafaru Buraimoh, who was similarly extrajudicially killed by the police.