Hold elected leaders accountable, NBA urges Nigerians


The Nigerian Bar Association has urged Nigerians to hold elected officials accountable ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The NBA Calabar Branch Chairman and former Attorney General of Cross River State, Attah Ochinke, made the call in Calabar during activities to mark Bar Week.

He said, “Before now, each time we have elections as it is in Nigeria today if you the ordinary citizen make a comment about how the government is being run it is as if you are poke-nosing, criticizing or meddling with constituted authority.

“What they (Nigerians) don’t realise is that it is actually our right and as citizens, we are doing our duty if we stand up to our duty.

“If there is corruption and we point at the government official involved and say you’re wrong, we are doing the right thing.

“So, we the people must participate in democratic governance by standing up to make our point when the occasion demands.

“Democracy is not self-enforcing, if you don’t enforce it, stand up as a people to guide it, it will derail. Also, the people we elected into government should realise that they do not own the government because we elected them.”

He added, “We hope to raise the consciousness of the people to understand that the vote they are going to cast means they are going to hire people that will conduct their affairs.

“So, when you go to vote understand the consequences of your vote which is that you are choosing people who will manage your affairs for the next four years.”

Ochinke said with the theme for this year’s Bar Week which is ‘We, the people: Agenda for national consensus’, they hope to “discuss the rights of the people, the position of the people in democratic governance and to what extent the ordinary citizen should be involved in governance.”

Also speaking, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Chairperson of the organising committee for the bar week, Nella Andem Ewa, said Nigeria’s reality inspired the theme of this year’s event.

According to her, “it is time to interrogate the issues that beset Nigeria as a nation, interrogate our thought process, and see if we can identify a consensus for the development of the country.

“Our reality inspired the theme for this year’s Bar Week – what are the most troubling issues that we have and yet no one is acknowledging that we have it.

“We are at that point in our history where we have to interrogate issues. What is that repeated issue we continue to ask even when we debate, even for the man who had never opened the book, it seems to go back to the constitution.

“This goes back to we the people, does it answer the questions we all are asking in terms of our aspirations or is it that it has never been a reflection of what we actually agreed to do together?

“The question now is, are we at that stage where we really must interrogate the issues that continue to beset us as people, then we must interrogate our thought process and see if we can identify a consensus.” (Punch)

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