NBA visits President Jonathan over Rivers crisis

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday assured that he would curb political excesses overheating the polity ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Responding to concerns expressed by a delegation of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, led by its President, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN), Jonathan said that the rising political tension in the country was uncalled for.
“The political tension in the country is mainly built around the 2015 elections which should not be the case. It is quite disturbing. The year 2015 is still far off. I expect politicians to focus on the business of governance now. We must do what we were elected to do first. We will do our best to curb the overheating of the polity,” President Jonathan told the delegation, which included three former presidents of the NBA.

The President also said that he had asked for a detailed brief on the security situation in Rivers State and assured the delegation that necessary action would be taken to ensure adherence to the rule of law in the state and the maintenance of law and order.
Addressing other issues raised by the delegation, Jonathan said that his administration was implementing the right policies, programmes and projects to accelerate economic development and boost employment in the country.
He called for patience from Nigerians, saying that the results of the present administration’s efforts in areas such as power supply would become even more apparent in due course.

Jonathan also assured the NBA that his administration would ensure positive reformation and strengthening of Nigeria’s judicial system, including the resolution of issues related to increased funding for the judiciary.
He reaffirmed his commitment to the progressive reformation of Nigeria’s electoral processes to guarantee that all votes cast in elections truly count and that elections in the country are accepted by all objective stakeholders as free, fair and credible.

Jonathan urged the NBA and other professional associations in the country to find ways of interacting with government on a regular basis, saying that the associations are established not to antagonise government, but to contribute to national growth and development.

He accepted the NBA’s invitation to open the association’s Annual General Conference at Tinapa, Cross River State, next month, promising to personally honour the invitation if his official schedule permits.
Earlier, Wali called on the President to wade into the political crisis in Rivers State. Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, Wali stated that it was necessary for Jonathan to intervene in the crisis and ensure that peace returns to the state and for law and order to prevail. “We talked about security.

We pointedly talked about Rivers State. We expressed our concern that we were very disturbed about what is coming out from Rivers State. We appealed to the President to do all that he can lawfully do to ensure that peace returns to Port Harcourt and law and order prevails. And at all times the principles of the rule of law must be adhered to.
We made that clear to the president,” Wali said. The NBA president noted that the association also discussed other issues bordering on security, economy, rule of law, funding and the independence of the judiciary. “We talked about the issue of the independence and funding for the judiciary. We talked about the rule of law because we believe that that is a strong issue in any civilised society and we talked about the economy. We appreciate the fact that the government is working. We have lots of reports.

“But our concern is also that the impact on the average Nigerian. It is good enough to have the statistics, but we will like it to be moved to the next level where the average Nigerian gets the impact of what the government is doing,” Wali added.
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