Jonathan Begs NBA : Let Your President Become My Honorary Adviser



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President Jonathan

By Danlami Nmodu

President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerian Bar Association NBA to review its rules so that the NBA president could become a honorary adviser to the president.Jonathan made this position known on Monday in his address to the opening ceremony of the 2012 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja

Said Jonathan ,”The  President of the Nigerian Economic Society is currently a honorary adviser to the President, and a member of the Economic Management Team, in which position, he is able to serve as a liaison between the Nigerian Economic Society and the administration. This allows us to get direct inputs into our economic policies from that critical constituency.

He noted pointedly:”I should like to see the President of the Nigeria Bar Association in a similar role. The NBA is a very important institution and your views, perspectives and inputs will be useful to help us drive needed changes for accelerated growth.”

Jonathan  suggested that “If there are any limitations in terms of your Association’s rules of engagement, I urge that the NBA should take a second look at its own rules and guidelines, to enable the NBA President take up public responsibility as a honorary legal adviser to the President.”

“This is not a political appointment, but an opportunity for the association to effectively make inputs into the development of more inclusive economic, legal and political institutions that are vital for our growth as a nation”,Jonathan said.

Nations develop and grow when there are inclusive political and economic institutions. Inclusiveness does not mean homogeneity of views, but rather an opportunity to harness diversity for growth and prosperity and the future of our nation.

Reead the full text of the President’s address below:

Address By  His Excellency, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR  President, Federal Republic of Nigeria At the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, Held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja Monday, 27th August, 2012

PROTOCOLS

Let me express my appreciation to the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for giving me this opportunity to interact with all of you on this occasion and to declare open the 52nd Annual General Conference of your Association. I consider the theme of this year’s Conference, “Nigeria as an Emerging Market: Redefining our Laws and Politics for Growth”, most appropriate, especially now.

The chosen theme is evidently in agreement with our Administration’s resolve and commitment to diversify Nigeria’s economic base, strengthen the country’s economic and political institutions, and reposition Nigeria as an attractive destination for investments. I commend the President, Nigerian Bar Association and members of the Executive Committee for drawing attention to such a subject of great national importance.

Your Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, our administration regards the NBA as a partner-in-progress in our collective endeavour to improve our laws, political systems, and the economy. The NBA has carved a niche for itself with the active role that it continues to play in the socio-political and economic life of our country.

I can attest to the fact that this Administration has benefited from the views and positions taken by your members on critical matters of national concern. We look forward to the NBA remaining a partner in the development of our dear country.

Let me seize this opportunity to state clearly, that our administration is fully committed to pluralistic, institutional representation in the governance process. That is why we seek to harness the diversity of views of critical institutions in defining how we shape our economic, social, and political developmental pathways. In this regard, we expect professional associations to be part of the building process, and play a role in government.

The President of the Nigerian Economic Society is currently a honorary adviser to the President, and a member of the Economic Management Team, in which position, he is able to serve as a liaison between the Nigerian Economic Society and the administration. This allows us to get direct inputs into our economic policies from that critical constituency.

I should like to see the President of the Nigeria Bar Association in a similar role. The NBA is a very important institution and your views, perspectives and inputs will be useful to help us drive needed changes for accelerated growth.

If there are any limitations in terms of your Association’s rules of engagement, I urge that the NBA should take a second look at its own rules and guidelines, to enable the NBA President take up public responsibility as a honorary legal adviser to the President.

This is not a political appointment, but an opportunity for the association to effectively make inputs into the development of more inclusive economic, legal and political institutions that are vital for our growth as a nation.

Nations develop and grow when there are inclusive political and economic institutions. Inclusiveness does not mean homogeneity of views, but rather an opportunity to harness diversity for growth and prosperity and the future of our nation.

To ensure success in this endeavour, and specifically to project Nigeria’s potentials as an emerging market, our administration has introduced various policies and initiatives to build a strong and dynamic economy, inspire investor confidence, and attract investments into critical sectors.

Our Transformation Agenda seeks to turn Nigeria’s huge potential into developmental realities. There is now increased focus on the diversification of our economy, away from almost total dependence on oil and gas.

Furthermore, our various policies will ensure that Nigeria reclaims its pride of place especially in the areas of commerce and agriculture. We are also exploring the vast opportunities in the mining sector. Rapid industrialization is also receiving attention as all hands are on deck to ensure that the power sector is reformed and strengthened to support sustained industrial growth.

The Power Sector Reform Act 2010 which is the flagship legislation in this regard is being faithfully implemented to achieve the desired outcome. I am hopeful that before 2015, significant progress would have been made in power generation and distribution

In any emerging economy, attracting investments into all sectors of the economy is a critical driver for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Our laws must enhance and protect creativity and innovation and property rights that form the foundations for economic growth. Exploitative political institutions and extractive economic institutions hinder economic growth, progress and shared prosperity.

That is why our administration has commenced an investment climate reform programme which involves reviewing or developing all investment-related laws and policies including credit, public and private governance structures, trade, tax, competition and anti-trust laws.

I have already approved the establishment of a Competitiveness Council to improve our competitiveness and we have started implementing a new visa regime which allows investors to obtain a 10-year visa in their home country and visa at the point of entry in certain circumstances.

This Administration is also committed to the development of critical infrastructure to support our industrialization drive and efforts to attract investments. To this end, our roads and airports are currently undergoing resurfacing and remodeling to bring them in line with the demands of the 21st century.

We are however not unmindful of the security challenges in the country and the effect on our developmental aspirations. Government is working assiduously to combat the spate of acts of terrorism in the country.  We are constantly reviewing our strategies with a view to strengthening identified areas of weakness.

Our laws against terrorism have been reviewed to encapsulate global best practices.  In this regard, the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 has undergone comprehensive review and a new Terrorism (Prohibition Bill 2012 has been proposed.

Let me assure you that our administration is strongly committed to identifying, and pursuing, at every turn, ways of solving Nigeria’s basic problems to protect and promote the people’s best interests. Whatever may be the nature of current challenges, in parts of the country, we remain committed to the indivisibility of Nigeria, and the well-being of the people.

We are also conscious of the fact that the existence of laws alone, without effective prosecution will not yield the desired objective.  Government is therefore committed to strengthening the capacity of our law enforcement agencies for optimal performance.

I believe that we can count on the support and partnership of the Nigerian Bar Association in our common desire to have efficient and effective prosecution of the war against corruption, to which government is resolutely committed.

Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I wish to draw your attention to the ongoing efforts to amend the Constitution.  While divergent views have been expressed on the modalities for carrying out the proposed Constitutional amendments, it is important to appreciate the existence of democratic structures in the country, which irrespective of our individual opinions, cannot be wished away.

Those structures must be encouraged and supported to discharge their constitutional responsibilities, with inputs from the generality of the people.

On our part, we are determined to give our people the opportunity to express their views and to contribute meaningfully to the making of a Constitution within the scope of existing democratic structures. There is no doubt that the Nigeria Bar Association, institutionally and through its members, has always played a pivotal role in the constitution making process in this country.

It is my fervent hope that you will individually and collectively contribute your quota in shaping a Constitution that will meet the yearnings of the people for economic growth and prosperity.

Finally, let me assure you of this Administration’s resolve to give due cognizance to every suggestion that will contribute to the improvement of our governance structures and processes for growth and development. Our doors are always open to fresh ideas.

In this connection I look forward to the Communiqué and outcome of this Conference, which is expected to go a long way in proffering solutions to our socio-political and developmental challenges.

I, once more, congratulate the Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association for organising what promises to be a very eventful Annual General Conference.

Let me again commend the outgoing Executives of your noble Association, on the successful completion of their tenure, and congratulate the President and incoming Executives who were recently elected. I look forward to partnering with you for the economic and socio-political development of our country.

It is now my singular honour and pleasure to declare open, the 2012 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association.

I thank you and wish you fruitful deliberation.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

 

 

 


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