Okwe Obi, Abuja
Barrister Emma Dibia, former legal adviser to former speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, has described Nigerian laws as “archaic” and need urgent constitutional reforms as a solution to the controversies that have trailed the recent Supreme Court judgments especially in Imo and Bayelsa states.
Dibia who made this call recently while speaking to newsmen in Abuja on the occasion of his 50th birthday as well as the launching of his book entitled “Why Government Fails,” stated that the recent Supreme Court judgments were not the making of the justices of the apex court themselves but offshoots of Nigeria’s obsolete laws which are begging for reforms.
According to Dibia, “no society will function without proper and functional laws. Our laws are not very active, they are bad laws; they are old laws and they are long overdue for reformation. All of that affects us.
“Our major problem in Africa is indiscipline on the part of the government and on the part of the people. If you are disciplined, you won’t be corrupt. It’s actually the bad laws that we have that you saw playing out in those judgements (Imo, Bayelsa) that you heard. Those judgements were not as per the minds of the judges; they followed the law, even if the law is bad, that’s the law. So the book actually proffers solution.
“The book requests for urgent need for reformation, quick reform, not prolonged reform. We have very bad laws, those are things affecting us. For instance the Bayelsa issue, no one said the deputy governor-elect forged his name, just that he changed things severally and he was removed on that basis and it became the will of the people.
“In a functional legal system, they would rather take him out alone and get another deputy not that he would deny even the governor-elect because he didn’t have issues. These are bad laws that are affecting us which I addressed in that book.”
According to ex-legal adviser, though politicians are needed to win elections because of their understanding of the grassroots and mobilisation ability, because of their high-level indiscipline and corruption, they should work at the party level once the party wins elections and not be part of any government that wants to succeed.
“You need politicians to win elections because they know the grassroots; they mobilise, they know all the intrigues, but you don’t need them in government because they will never drop their character when they come into government and take it or leave it, there is no decent politician anywhere in the world.
“So I’m looking forward to a president that would win election, gather his party leaders, explain to them why they can’t come to government, keep them at the party level; we are in a nation-building process.
“Then he goes shopping for those who will run government, look for Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their various fields outside politics, career politicians can’t give us good government; look for them abroad, then go into academia, look for professors.”
Speaking on the performances of the Nigerian Customs Services, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Dibia stated that the successes recorded by those agencies were because their current leaderships were of non-career politicians.