Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed Tuesday urged the delegates at the ongoing national conference to ensure that the outcome of the conference comply with the laws of the land.
He also said that, “as the 2015 general election draws nearer, the nation’s judiciary should maintain its impartiality, resist the temptation to descend into the arena at all times, promote strict adherence to the rule of law and uphold the independence of the judiciary as safeguards against political interference and manipulation,â€ he stressed.
Ahmed made these submissions in Ilorin, Kwara State capital yesterday, while declaring open the 2014 biennial law week of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).
According to him: “As our country makes another attempt at dialogue through the national conference, the role of the legal profession in this process is pivotal not only in capturing the letter and spirit of the decisions reached at the conference but also in ensuring that such outcomes comply with the laws of our land”.
He said, “Indeed, the national conference is recommended by its capacity and potential to heal our countryâ€™s woes and give her constituent nationalities a greater sense of belonging in the way our affairs are conducted.
“Although the legitimacy of the 1999 constitution is often challenged due to its military origins and the lack of popular participation in its emergence, I hold that the problem is not with the constitution. Rather, the challenge lies in our tendency to circumvent constitutional provisions and statutory laws by exploiting loopholes and unintended ambiguities.
“No matter the outcome of the conference, therefore, only a change in our national values, especially a willingness to fully apply the rule of law while entrenching equity and justice, will make the outcome meaningful and sustainable”.
“I urge you to wade into the debate on whether the decisions of the conference should be subject to a referendum or be submitted to the National Assembly for ratification. For the avoidance of doubt, your role in the resolution of this imminent impasse will be critical to our democracy”.
He further stated that, “the forthcoming 2015 general election calls for greater caution, especially in the myriad of conflicting court cases and decisions that are bound to ensue as we move towards the elections.
“While some argue that this will enrich jurisprudence, the impact of such overlapping court cases and contradictory rulings portend little good for our growing democracy.
“In view of this, I urge the Judiciary to maintain its impartiality, resist the temptation to descend into the arena at all times, promote strict adherence to the rule of law and uphold the independence of the judiciary as safeguards against political interference and manipulation”.
The governor noted that, â€œThe Judiciary is also enjoined to guard against equivocal judgments whose only effect is to conflate the issues resulting in litigation in the first place and cause confusion in the socio-political space”.
He also urged the NBA to jealously guard the Judiciaryâ€™s reputation as an impartial arbiter and the common manâ€™s last hope.