PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO AT INTERACTIVE SESSION OF THE 58TH ANNUAL GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

At the interactive session of the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), with the theme: Transition, Transformation & Sustainable Institutions; He shared  few thoughts.

There is a great deal of moral and institutional decay. Beyond government actions, every Nigerian has a responsibility to ensure that there is consequence for wrongdoing.

There is a need to establish a system of consequence for misdeeds, and for wrongdoing.

One of the major problems we have had is with the legal process, ensuring that the legal process is able to deliver justice within a reasonable time, especially where the matters concern issues of public corruption and all of that. There are several cases that have been in courts. The government is frequently criticized for not being able to secure convictions, there are arguments back and forth… but all of this has to do with our administration of justice system, and we are very much a part of it.

So, I think that there is a sense in which, to an extent, we must accept some responsibility. The law society, for example, in England, accepts responsibility for the discipline of lawyers, even when lawyers engage in dilatory tactics in courts. So, if a lawyer wants to delay a case as a strategy for either winning the case or hoping that, years after, the matter would be forgotten, that kind of lawyer would lose his shirt in any other jurisdiction. But here, it’s become an accepted tactic; dilatory tactics is part of our system of doing business.

I think that, beyond government, strong institutions such as the NBA (Nigerian Bar Association), must really rise to the occasion; and it really calls for self-regulation. Government is not going make the laws to change that, and this is an ecosystem we are in control of; we should be able to say, “we are going to put our foot down here, we are not going to allow a situation where the administration of justice is ineffective.” Because once it is ineffective, building a moral society is undermined almost entirely.

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Oludare J. Olusan
Oludare J. Olusan 235 posts

Publisher, Entrepreneur, Author and founder of The African portal.

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