Lawyers always get a bad rap. They are frequently called cheats, liars, and almost any bad word you can think of under the sun. Despite the bad reputation, Nigerian lawyers and the Judiciary in particular have been exemplary during the political election fiasco. These actions buck the stereotype that lawyers are bad. I noted that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) intervened by advising INEC to stay out of pre-election legal cases. Additionally, other writers have decidedly giving the Judiciary a 'thumbs up' for its ability to remain unbiased and avoid becoming a 'tool' during the election process. Check out Imnakoya's article for his thoughts on the importance of the Judiciary, as an example.
I have always been proud to be a lawyer because despite the reputation, lawyers have historically been crucial in social change all over the world. Nevertheless, I was never prouder to be a lawyer than when I read that the NBA will be protesting the election results. According to the Champion newspaper, the organization believes that the recent election process undermined democratic progress. The NBA president, Mr. Abgbakoba, stated,
"As far as we are concerned, there was [sic] no election in Nigeria. This same flaws [sic] happened in 1993, and thousands of people were killed as a result, same was the case in 1999 and 2003. This is 2007 and if we do not put a check to it now, then it would become a norm and trend which will continue to trail our
The planned protest is meant to be symbolic and it is supported by the West African Bar Association. Both are appealing the Court of Appeals to declare that the presidential tribunal begin forthwith.
Considering the fact that attempts to protest by ordinary Nigerians were stalled by armed police officers and military officers and the uncooperative weather on May 1st, it is wonderful to see that other Nigerians are willing to stand up to the challenge of informing the government (both OBJ's and Yar'Adua's soon-to-be administration) that they were disappointed in the election process. Donzman recently commented on this blog that Nigeria's civil society is non-existent. I hope that this and other actions on behalf of courageous Nigerians will help to prove him wrong and change his opinion on the Nigerian spirit and its fortitude to withstand the domination of bullies and oppressors.
PS. There will be a special announcement on Friday the 18th about May 29th....