These are not the best of times for Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN as he has come under a flurry of criticisms for passing a vote of confidence on the recent General Elections.

Speaking to Shola Soyele on “Law Weekly,’ a CHANNELS TV programme, Maikyau had spoken glowingly about the controversial elections, saying: “I would say that the elections went well. Those who came out were happy to express their franchise. There were challenges, definitely; there were challenges that we got, some infractions. Some of them actually constituted electoral offences. But on the whole, on the whole, I will score INEC as having performed maybe about 78, 80 percent in the delivery of these elections. That will be an A for every exam, notwithstanding all the things that happened – which we are not ignoring.”

This rating did not go down well with most commentators who took to their Twitter handles to lampoon the NBA helmsman.

While leading human rights activist and former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Anselm Odinkalu spotlighted the rating on his verified Twitter handle, many respondents promptly disagreed with Maikyau whose election as NBA President was rejected by his rival, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN.

Meanwhile, Odinkalu has alleged that Maikyau has refused to sign the official NBA Election Observers Report, threatening to publish the report if he continues to withhold assent. CITY LAWYER recalls that NBA was one of the observers accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to monitor the election.

But opening the flood gate of criticisms, Odinkalu wrote on his Twitter handle: “The president of @NigBarAssoc, @YCMaikyauSAN, says he wld score @inecnigeria ‘about 78-80% in the delivery of these elections.’ I’m sure he will tell u to #GoToCourt if u disagree. But it’s still important for u to know what he thinks & to ask him whom he speaks for: The bar?”

Continuing, Odinkalu wrote: “For the record: 1. @NigBarAssoc deployed an election observation team for the presidential election. 2. The #NBA’s election observer team has not yet issued a report. 3. I know for a fact that the @NigBarAssoc election observer team handed in the text of their report to the President of the #NBA at the beginning of this week. 4. I also know for a fact that the President has been unwilling or unable to sign off on the report.”

Responding, one Ike Eso Ogbuji who tweeted @EsoIyke wrote: “The NBA President must have spoken based on his convictions. but I stand firm to say his position does not in any way represent the stance of @NigBarAssoc. I observed the elections and I presume our (NBA) reports were not the bases (sic) upon which this conclusion was reached.”

Mr. Chuma Ngini who tweeted @CNgini wrote: “Exactly. Who does he double speak for?. 80%? after he declined to offer opinion in the Arise TV interview cos he is NBA president. We now know how he contributes to nation-building as NBA president.”

A leading development sector expert, Mr. Stanley Ibe tweeted @ukwuomaibe, saying: “Interesting score. Would be nice to understand the basis for this score. Can we begin with indicators? What indicators make the February 25 elections worthy of this score?”

One Nana who tweeted @nananwadjey wrote: “I’m in severe pain right now. I thought I was going to get a consolation from NBA. I was momentarily blank.”

One Avio, tweeting @Avio09364571, was less sparing, saying: “That man speaks for himself, not us (NBA). I’m sure he’s gotten a pocket full of dollars.”

Dandyson wrote @blesseddandy: “Please call your President to order, else we the Nigerian people will see him as part of the political armed robbers that stole our mandate.”

While one St. Joan of Arc berated the NBA President saying, “You learned colleagues should have voted for Gadzama,” Dr. David Kieghe who tweeted at @dkieghe alleged thus: “It is part of the strategy. PR campaign. Influence the behaviour, words, and actions to legitimise a coronation instead of a democratic elections (sic). BVAS Accreditation + BVAS real time transmission to IReV = polling units real time results = win at polling units = no alterations.”

Another lawyer, Lugard Tare-Otu who tweeted @Lugard_Tareotu wrote: “Honestly, this feedback coming from the President of the Bar is very sad and unfortunate,” while Kassandra Ugochukwu @KassandraUgoch1 wrote: “He speaks for himself and himself alone. I miss Mr. Olumide Akpata,as the NBA President he was fearless. The NBA is going back to the state of ‘As it then was’….”

But it was not all condemnation for the embattled NBA President, as one Amwenche Bitrus @bj_amwenche wrote: “I support his opinion. Earlier there was complaints in uploading results to IREV portal,later they were noise on election malpractices and announcing the presidential election too early. Is fair to rate @inecnigeria 70-80 performance.”

Also joining the fray, one Dan Nigeria who tweeted @Ibrahim11499729 wrote: “Off course he spoke for the Bar. Mind u NBA deployed observers to monitor the elections. He might have spoken based on their report. Though u must not agree with him. But we are with our president on this 100%.”

When CITY LAWYER contacted NBA Publicity Secretary Habeeb Lawal on the allegation that Maikyau is withholding the final NBA Election Observers Report, he debunked the claim. He stated that the association had released two preliminary reports on the election, adding that “The allegation is baseless.”

Lawal stated that NBA has an obligation to send its final report to INEC and also make it available to members, adding that it may await the Governorship and State Assembly Elections before publishing a final report.

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