The Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, has charged Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the judiciary to ensure the sanctity of rule of law over any self-serving interest in Nigeria.
He said this barely 24 hours after Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, condemned the manner by which Omoyele Sowore was arrested last Friday by the State Security Services (SSS).
Both of them spoke at the 65th anniversary, and 2019 Law Week of NBA, Ibadan Branch, tagged, “Law, Probity and Good Governance: Practical Approach to Making Nigeria Greater, ongoing in Ibadan.
Akeredolu has said on Monday that “It should be an anathema to the bar that inaction has come upon us. The bar needs to talk on quite a number of things. We must be terror against demagogues. It is when your voice of the bar is heard consistently that it will earn respect.
“Will people go and desecrate our courtrooms and we keep quiet? The bar must condemn it. There is no explanation anybody can give you. Somebody calls it drama. Drama! How? What we saw was not drama, you must stand up to condemn the SSS for what they did in Abuja.
“Our spirit must remain indomitable. Forget about where we are today because enough of us made efforts to say what you have done is wrong and only way out was apology almost immediately but what people believe is different. You must write to justify what is not justifiable.
“If we are not careful, the day will come that people will walk into a judge’s sitting and arrest people with their wig and gown. I am not saying our judges are timid but in the face of gun, most of our judges will shake.”
Speaking yesterday, Ogundoyin noted that the supremacy of the rule of law should remain the only way human rights of a common man could be protected, adding that Nigerian democracy could be deepened through checks and balances among the three arms of government.
“Coincidentally, today 10th of December is International Human Right Day and legal profession is an influential profession which has the influence over policy, defence of rights, and the pursuit of justice.
“The judiciary deserves every respect from us as individuals, public servants, organisations, government agencies and institutes, as the third arm of government. This is the only way you can discharge your constitutional responsibility without fear or favour.
“Nigerian lawyers, like their counterparts all over the world, have civil duty to consolidate Nigerian democracy.”
Ogundoyin listed political instability, social disequilibrium, insecurity, corruption, ineffectiveness of some public institutions, a declining economy, and lack of a democratic culture as some of the problems besetting judicial system in Nigeria.
“I know these are some of the harsh realities and pragmatic constraints legal practitioners are facing which are limiting their ability to deepen democracy, or even to perform their traditional functions.
“We should always be concerned about what we got wrong. The things we got right are alright and it’s a blessing but we need to be concerned about what we got wrong and without free speech/freedom of expression we may not know the things we do wrong.”