Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, was among the few invited to speak at the recently held annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association. However, El-Rufai’s invitation raised an uproar from members of the NBA, Nigerians and human right groups like the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project who faulted the invitation of the Kaduna State governor as a guest speaker at the conference.
The massive rejection which graced the governor’s invitation did not come as a surprise to so many, owing to the fact that the governor was deemed by the organisers as not fit to speak at such a conference, especially one which is organised by the umbrella professional association of legal practitioners in Nigeria.
But, out of all the speakers invited to speak at the annual conference, why was El-Rufai the only one deemed a “misfit”? Why was his rejection so loud that the NBA was left with no other choice but to withdraw his invitation from speaking at the conference as scheduled? Well, countless accusations must have been the reason for El-Rufai’s knockback.
The Kaduna State governor has had so many controversies tied around his neck in recent times. Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, who spoke against El-Rufai’s invitation, said that the governor lacked the moral right to speak at the conference. Falana also noted that given that El-Rufai had been known for flouting court orders, so how could a man of such character be a speaker at a conference which promoted the rule of law.
No doubt, El-Rufai is often criticised for what many call his misguided utterances which had been issues of concern in the polity. Some of his misguided statements were noted during the recent killing in Southern Kaduna. In 2019, El-Rufai was also heard on national television, threatening foreigners concerning the elections, stating that they would leave in “bodybags”. How can that same El-Rufai speak at a conference such as NBA’s? These were some of the reasons those who frowned on El-Rufai’s invitation to the conference highlighted.
However, due to continuous agitations against El-Rufai’s invitation, the NBA in a written statement on August 21, 2020, voided the invitation.
In all these instances, a very great lesson has been taught and it is pertinent for El-Rufai and others to learn from it.
The open dissatisfaction expressed by Nigerians, lawyers and human rights bodies on social media towards El-Rufai’s invitation, is an indication that the governor needs to change his way. If El-Rufai has been a good ambassador of his own brand, no one would have called for his disinvitation from speaking at the conference. His imbroglio is one which should teach him and other political leaders, that the voice of the people is supreme and there is a need to be guided while speaking on issues of general concern to the public through any platform.
There is also a need to treat the people with decency and utmost respect when dealing with them on any issue.
As for El-Rufai, I really doubt if he ever saw this day coming, a day where his words and actions would be used against him by the populace. Take it or leave, El-Rufai’s invitation withdrawal by the NBA is one issue which he and Nigerians will not forget in a hurry.
I think the Kaduna State governor has been made to know his place in the mind of the populace; the issue has also been revealed to him that he is not in the good books of so many Nigerians. I also think El-Rufai must have learnt some bitter lessons from this saga which may force him to change his way or still decide to continue on the same path which has resulted to his rejection. The ball is on his court.