Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has warned politicians not to pollute the Judiciary in their desperate moves to acquire political power by whatever means.
The umbrella body of lawyers reminded politicians that the quest for offices must not divide the people or lead to violence and deaths.
Rather, the NBA, in its Independence Day message, urged politicians to unify people and yield dividends of democracy.
President of the Association, Paul Usoro (SAN), who issued the statement, in Abuja, said do-or-die politicians must not be allowed to debase the temple of justice ahead of next year’s general election.
“Politics must not be our bane; it must be for us, a unifying force and the vehicle for our prosperity and enhanced living standards.
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“These are the critical issues that must occupy our leaders’ minds on this Independence Anniversary day and beyond.
“Politics must not be allowed to debase our temple of justice and the rule of law in our country. Our judiciary and the rule of law must remain sacrosanct,” NBA said.
It noted that the absence of rule of law is anarchy and a descent into abyss, adding that lawyers and the Bench must do their part to build confidence in the Judiciary.
The NBA said, “We must not in the name of politics and for political reasons pollute our fountain of justice.
“The judiciary is one institution that has constantly kept our country united through its pronouncements; the decisions of our courts more often than not ward off ethnic strives, political unrests, chaos, bedlam and riots – the fingerlings of anarchy.
“It is seemly as well that we, as workers and ministers in Nigeria’s temple of justice – ranging from their Lordships to lawyers and other stakeholders in the justice sector – constantly remind ourselves of the need to uphold the core values and sanctity of our noble profession in and through our words, deeds, actions and conducts, at all times.”
The NBA said Nigeria cannot continue to make excuses for its underdevelopment, and called for better management of the country’s abundant resources.
“In making excuses for our 58-year old country, we often fall back on the arcane saying that ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and that a country’s journey to maturity takes longer than that of an individual or a person. That is not true or correct.
“Singapore, illustratively, attained self-government in 1959 and became an independent and sovereign nation in 1965 after the collapse of its merger with Malaysia in 1963 and, as at date, that country is miles ahead of Nigeria in terms of development.
“Yes, Singapore does not have our population size and diversity with its attendant challenges, but it also does not have the gamut of our natural resources ranging from mineral resources, fertile arable land, a pool of talented citizens who continuously make us proud outside Nigeria.
“What has consistently been lacking in our country is, perhaps, the ability to coalesce these abundant resources and talent which, it must be emphasised, can be found in all the nooks and crannies of this great country, into a unified and productive whole that could and would easily turn Nigeria into the figurative Eldorado and, in the process, turn our diversity into strength and our abounding population into a productive work force.
“These are reflections that must today occupy the minds of our leaders, of all strata, as we mark 58 years of Nigeria’s independence and declaration as a sovereign nation.
“This is also particularly apposite as we enter another season of National Elections, the precursor of which has been the recently conducted Osun State Governorship Election.
“With that in mind, our leaders need to consciously resolve, on this Independence Anniversary day of our nation, to make a difference in the lives of our people.
“Governments at all levels must renew their pledges to work for the betterment of the lives of our people thereby recording tangible dividends of independence for the Nigerian people,” NBA said.
The Association praised the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) for calling off its warning strike on the eve of independence anniversary.
“Their maturity in calling off the strike should not be misunderstood as a lack of merit in labour’s demand for an increased minimum wage, from the stagnant N18, 000.00 that takes no account of inflationary and living condition trends.
“It is our hope and expectation that the government negotiators will continue apace with the labour negotiations, notwithstanding the fact that the strike has been called off and, in the process, achieve a resolution that the parties could live with,” the NBA said.