‘THE TASK BEFORE MAIKYAU,’ BY JIBRIN OKUTEPA
MAIKYAU REGIME MUST HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
In the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association NBA annual conference many ugly incidents happened. The outgone NBA president Mr Olumide Akpata publicly acknowledged that some lawyers stole conference bags and other items.
To me this was ridiculous and a shame. When I decided to read law and by the grace of God I became a lawyer, I read and I was fascinated by the premium the legal profession placed on honestly, integrity and candour. Members of the legal profession were looked upon as the beacons of hope for humanity and the society at large.
In the just concluded conference of NBA lawyers again at different sessions or fora engaged in our usual talk show that really produce nothing concrete. I have consistently spoken my mind on the hypocrisy in us as lawyers. On this day 28th August 2020 this is what I wrote on the annual gathering of lawyers at our AGC: “Talk is cheap. In the on going virtual AGC of NBA, NBA is again engaging in cheap talks. Even some of those whose conducts are responsible for grave injustice we suffered in the profession and in this country are at the virtual conference pontificating as angels. Some of these personalities reel out beautifully couched statements and principles of law that they hardly give effect to when the opportunities present itself to them in their respective capabilities.
I think the greatest enemies of Nigerians in getting justice in our courts or even getting political and economic justice are members of the legal profession.
I say this because when you look at the three arms of Government, it is the legal profession that has one arm of government exclusively devoted to its members.
In addition the legal profession is an ancient profession of considerable antiquity with code of ethics which bind its members either on the bench or at the Bar.
“Evidence abound of open desecration of the ethics of the legal profession which has been condoned without sanctions.”
Most archaic and legal jargon that has constituted complete road blocks to attainments of justice are propounded and pronounced upon by members of the legal profession. Principles of law that have denied Nigerians electorate justice in Nigeria are set by members of the legal profession. The duties to pronounce sanctions and apply them have been donated to the legal profession. This is because execution is part of the compendium of judicial powers under section 6(6) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
The legal profession is by my understanding, a profession of light and profession that can be used and should be used as instrument of social engineering.
What we see in Nigeria appears that the legal profession has conspired with itself to deny Nigerian society justice. We seem to enjoy and elevate technical justice far and above substantial justice. We seem to enjoy more of jurisdictional jurisprudence compared to attaining substantial justice. In most judgment, you can see injustice permeating the reasoning for judgement.
Until the legal profession retrace it’s steps and give justice to Nigerians, whatever talk show in the gathering of members of the legal profession will be nothing but legal jamboree devoid of any utilitarian value to Nigerian people. Nigerians are tired of annual gathering of talks of the legal profession without practical achievements. The conduct of members of the legal profession must be above board before the legal profession can rightly take the leading role reserved for it in the Nigerian society”.
For me the legal profession is the enemy of itself. I have always held this view and I still hold it today.
On 28th August 2019 I wrote that on the point that the legal profession is the enemy of itself. This is what i said : “The legal profession is the enemy of itself. Until the legal profession stops acting in sabotage of its own or itself nobody will take us serious. Political class will do everything to subvert the will of the people if we as members of the legal profession, decide to promote technicalities, and decide not to come to the aid of the people or the will of the people.
Nigerians no longer fear law either as made by law makers or as interpreted by the courts because the courts themselves have chosen to accommodate wrong doers under technicalities and all other legal gymnastics that is completely devoid of real justice.
While I believe the the right to fair hearing is worth respecting and protected, violators of the rights of other persons or the vast majority of the people should be denied judicial protection while still in contempt, if the awe with which laws and orders of court are meant to be held is to be restored and respected by all and sundry.
When I reflect on the going on in Nigeria where people deliberately violate laws and court orders and dare you to go to court or where those who disobeyed court orders return to the same court or other courts to seek remedies and taunt you and they are accommodated and accorded protection, I feel terribly demoralised about our tremendous prosperity to stomach wrongs.
Honestly we are heading to anarchy and chaos if we do not retrace our steps in the legal profession and do what is right.
I see people may soon decide not to have respect and faith in our legal system unless we do something that gives the people hope that they can get justice in our courts and enjoy its fruits thereof in their life time. The future of the legal profession looks very bleak to me given the way we are going”.
As one of my learned friends Mercy Elisha Njila Esq put it: “The future really looks bleak. Most worrisome is the vile behavior amongst colleagues Moral decadence. Have you all notice how colleagues disrespect themselves, the rule of law and also aid clients to do same. Learned Friends must learn to go back to what our profession was. The very essence of it, the same that endeared people like me to study law. It’s really sad but it’s true. It is a collective conscious act if we must avoid the bleak and gloomy days that lurks ahead in our Profession”
The task before us all is very heavy indeed. The legal profession needs to be restored back to its lost and enviable glory of the past. The Y C Maikyau SAN led NBA leadership has the burden duty to hit the ground running in this regards. Both the old and young members of the lega profession must come together to restore the profession back to light.
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