The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, has come out to commend the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2023 elections.
Speaking on Channels TV on Saturday, Mr. Maikyau, said despite the challenges, INEC performed well in the delivery of the elections.
“There were challenges, definitely. There were some infractions, some of them actually constituted electoral offences but on the whole, I will score INEC as having performed maybe about 78, 80 percent in the delivery of these elections.” He has said.
The NBA President must be reminded that he speaks for the entirety of Nigerian Lawyers and not for himself alone and coming out to commend an election which was marred with voters’ suppression, results manipulation and rigging is not accepted.
International observers and bodies like the United States, European Union, Common Wealth and international observer groups had condemned the conduct of the exercise amid allegations of widespread irregularities, rigging and manipulations of the results. Chatham House had reported despite boasting the biggest electoral register in Africa of 93.4 million voters, fewer than 25 million valid votes were counted in Nigeria’s 2023 election.
It should be recalled that the Nigerian Bar Association had set up an election observer committee and the report of this committee is yet to be released. Mr. Maikyau, SAN, by this statement should clarify if he is speaking for himself or for the NBA National Executive Committee (NEC) or likely trying to influence the report of the NBA Election Observing committee.
In an interview with Arise TV, two days back, when asked about his thought on Section 134 of the Constitution, which has being nationally debated as to whether a candidate needs to win 25% of votes in the FCT to be declared the President. The NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, had said that he would not answer because he was a representative of all lawyers in the federation and doing so will be biased.
If Mr. Maikyau, SAN, had responded this way, why then is he coming out to say the elections were generally free and fair? Is he speaking for all lawyers too? Also, the NBA President had only monitored elections in the Federal Capital Territory and definitely does not have an overall view of how the elections went across the country. And then, it is needful to ask at this stage; where is the report of the NBA Election monitoring team?
The NBA President must remember that he does not speak for himself but for the entire Bar Association in Nigeria and so, he must exercise caution when making claims.