Former Senator and elder statesman, Joseph Kennedy Waku, has taken iconic lawyer, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) to the cleaners for attacking the National Assembly over the amendments of the constitution.
In this interview, Senator Waku, who is also the chairmen of Council for the Federal University of Technology, Akure, told VINCENT KALU that Prof Sagay, has never been a councilor and so lacks the knowledge of how parliament works.
Foremost lawyer, Prof Itse Sagay came hard on the National Assembly over the constitutional amendments, in which the devolution of powers was avoided, what is your view, as you were part of the institution?
Is Prof Sagay a practicing lawyer? He has been so reckless in public pronouncements. I do not want to refer this as an irresponsible behaviour.
The National Assembly is an institution, as a constitutional lawyer he claims to be, there is a provision that anybody that feels not satisfied over a legislation made should go to court of law and only the court can ascertain that it was a useless law.
I am so surprised that the so-called renowned Professor of law and constitutional lawyer for that matter would be attacking the NASS for that.
I’m so disappointed in him. Firstly, he has never been a local government councilor and he would never be one. So, the working of the NASS is quite different from what he thought.
There is a joy in madness until you become one, therefore, until you become a parliamentarian, you would not know the working. For now, he should shut up.
What is it that actually annoyed you, is it the manner he addressed the NASS?
I’m not even annoyed. I’m disappointed that a person of that status in a society that the younger generation ought to learn from is behaving this way. That is my anger with him. If he has outlived his usefulness in law, then he should better keep quiet.
Number one, he has now become the spokesman of the Federal Executive Council, which is wrong for such an elderly statesman of his status.
I have received so many calls from reputable lawyers, saying that Sagay was on his own. Some of them even attempted to tell me that I should take it that he may be going senile, but I don’t think that he has got to the age of senility. But I think that he is just being arrogant and being misled at the same time.
If you hate an individual in an organisation or institution, you work very hard to make sure that individual does not go back there, but not working against the whole system.
There are bad lawyers in Nigeria, but you cannot condemn and say a set of lawyers or all the lawyers are bad, but you can condemn individuals. When you are criticising them, you are not doing that for vendetta, you are criticising them to amend to good behaviours and better services for this nation.
Was he not joining some other Nigerians to condemn the manner the NASS is tinkering with the constitution, without taking into consideration the devolution of powers that has been the nagging Nigerian question?
The devolution of power is a matter that he should have waited for sometime. The law has not been assented to. If he had listened to the House of Representatives, which said that there is the possibility that they will want to revisit it, perhaps he could not have said what he said.
He could only advise and not condemn in its entirety.
Then Sagay talked about the NASS not passing bills, and not doing that, but he has forgotten that Donald Trump wanted to repeal the Obamacare, his party members in the Senate voted against it, even though they are in the majority. So, that is the working of parliament.
So, I wish he should learn from those people, it is not everything that the Executive brings that you pass. Members of the NASS come from different backgrounds and cultures, and sitting together, they know how to come up with policies or make laws to govern the country for a better Nigeria.
He also talked about 35 per cent on gender, but as a constitutional lawyer, he should know that if that was passed, it is a discriminatory law. The Constitution of Nigeria, says, there shall be no discrimination of tribe or birth, etc.
When the late Prime Minister of Britain, Margaret Thatcher, was running for that office, did the women folk come to campaign for her and to vote for her because she was a woman like them. Do you know what she told them? She told them that, ‘I don’t need sympathy votes; if you are voting for me because I’m a woman, I’m not a disabled person; I’m a competent qualified British citizen, competent of taking Britain forward in any governmental indices’.
So, for any woman in Nigeria to accept this ‘give us our quota’, it is defeatist.
Of course, a few women elected into the parliament, they were not elected because they were women. Their various communities elected them because they were competent. I’m carried that he would have said, ok, let political parties sponsor credible women that can compete and defeat men. That is how it works.
That again showed that he has failed the younger generation of lawyers.
But he said he was speaking on his personal capacity, not as the chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.
We are too old to separate Saturday and Friday; we are too old to do that. Have you ever met your father making love to your mother? If you have not seen them, does it mean they don’t? They do.
Must he tell us that he was speaking on that capacity; before then, where was he?
Why is he keeping side with the Executive, he is being more Catholic than the Pope.
May be, he is so annoyed because of the way the country is going?
Then he should jump into the ring and then try and change things through the electoral process. Not everybody is happy with everybody in the parliament, that is why people change the government.
Who told you that this government couldn’t be changed if Nigerians are fed up with it? It is Nigerians not an individual. It can only work towards ensuring that a better system evolves not by way of insulting persons or insulting the system. The system would remain, and if you insult it, and when you get better people going into the system, where would you find the system?
I think he has overblown his so-called intellectualism. I do believe that his action now is intellectual laziness and rascality.