Eminent lawyers in Nigeria have expressed concern at the level of corruption ravaging the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and urged that steps be taken curb the trend such that the society will have confidence in the judicial system.
Many of the speakers at the Crusade for Justice, forum which held in Lagos were of the opinion that the judiciary must be rid of corruption to facilitate enthronement of good governance in the country.
The Theme at the forum, “Good Governance and An Effective Justice Delivery System as Critical Requirements for a Stable Polity, offered speakers opportunities to critique the overwhelming corruption in the country.
Richard Nwankwo President/Founder Crusade for Justice and the host in his address, traced back to history the essence of the “Law and Bar’ associations/societies’’ all over the globe, their relevance as key to checks and balances in a state, as role players in striving for excellence and the mechanism for the demand of the strict adherence to the rule of law and good gvernance of a given state/country.
Nwankwo, pointed out that today, the corruption eroding the Nigerian Bar Association has so reduced it to a laughing stock.
He went further to mention the legion of problems the Bar has metamorphoed into during the years starting with its leadership he tagged as “monster emperor” at its head, the huge gap between leadership and followership in the NBA, the absense of relationship amongst rulers and ruled,the absence of checks and balances and the flagrant ignorance of the provisions in the Bar’s constitution, the absence of accountability, transparency and non adherence to the
ideals of the Rule of Law and Constitutionalism.
He fears, if nothing is done urgently, the corrupt practices in today’s Nigeria Bar Association and Nigeria as a whole will remain a futile challenge, recommending an ‘exorcsim- both spiritual to curtail the menace.
Folashade Alli, who spoke on Arbitration as a Justice Delivery Mechanism in a
Developing Economy, Nigeria being a case study, gave insightful information on the need for arbitration in law practices of Nigeria lawyers rather than the usual litigation which is prone to prolonged time consuming and court cases as opposed arbitration.
She said in Arbitration both parties are usually satisfied with the end result of an agreement reached, while the other, (Litigation), is rife with open enemity on either side. She stated also the problems bringing the mechanism of arbitration to work in the Nigerian environment-such as giving it its
place in Nigeria law system which has taken years to enforce.
Dr Muiz Banire, SAN represented by Barrister Ayo Olatunbosun delivered a paper on Good Governance and Democracy in Nigeria Political Setting.
Giving the definition of democracy, he went on to add that good governance is not necessarily synonymous with democracy, in that good governance can be achieved outside democracy.
Banire used the United Arab Emirates as a yardstick, where a monarchical form of government is practised and where its leaders define good governance as “making its citizens happy”,that formulating policies and laws for the benefit and sole purpose of citizens’ hapiness is key.
This indeed, he observed is an alien concept in Nigerias’ democracy today which should be an element for good governance in any society.