By Mutalubi Adebayo Ojo SAN
The celebration of the new legal year in Oyo State calls for a sober reflection in respect of some areas which require immediate and urgent attention.
A special court session is usually held after the mosque and the church services in some jurisdictions to mark the new legal year. The special court sessions are always used to review the out gone year and also to set agenda for the new legal year.
In Ogun State, keynote speaker or guest speakers are also invited during new legal year service week to discuss topical issues of law.
The leadership of the Ibadan Bar should please seek audience with the Bench to bring on board those great innovations. Setting aside 2days for such programmes are not too much as same would add great colour to our perennial merry making and funfare we are note for during our new legal year services.
Also, the leadership of the Bar should insist that the established convention and tradition of introducing our newly appointed Judges to the Bar must be respected by the Judiciary. Till date, the set of Judges that were from My Lords, Hon. Justices Adeeyo and Lajide are yet to be so introduced to the Bar. Ditto for all other Judges that were appointed after them into the High Court and the Customary Court of Appeal. All these omission are , to say the least , not commendable at all.
Also, the issue of the amendments to the Oyo State High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2010 has been unduly protracted when one considers that we have not made any amendment to our Rules of court since it was enacted in 2010.
The amendment is not a rocket science and one keeps on wondering why the amendment procedures has been going on ad infinitum.
Some states have amended their rules several times since it was enacted. We can copy and paste the salutary amendments from other jurisdictions.
The best thing would have been for our Chief Judge to introduce to us an amended rules at today’s legal year services.
Since the able Committee saddled with that responsibility is yet to complete its assignment, it won’t augur well for the Bar and the Bench if my Lord, the Chief Judge of Oyo State fails , refuses and or neglect to hold all stakeholders interactive session or workshop to have a robust discussion on the draft of the proposed amendment to the rules before same is assented to by My Lord, the Chief Judge.
Furthermore, my Lord the Chief Judge should not make the same mistake made by a former Chief Judge who sent the Rules to the legislature for enactment because the Rules is my Lord’s Rules and not laws for enactment by the parliament. It is only the amendments to the High Court Law of Oyo State that the parliament can so eanct and not the rules of court.
Finally, I am aware that Oyo State Government in 2013 or thereabout awarded the contract for the holistic and comprehensive revision of the Laws of Oyo State to the law firm of Muheez Banire & Associates. The publication and presentation of the revised Laws of Oyo State is long overdue in that the last time a review ( only on monetary , currency denominations and other sundry matters) was done was in the year 2000( about 22 years ago).
All hands must therefore be on deck to bring this law revision to a close as well. All our neighbouring states have done such a comprehensive revision and review of their laws.
Oyo State Government should also set up an efficient and effective Law Reforms Committee or even a Commission under the office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the State.
Very worthy of commendation is the contract awarded by the Oyo State Government for the rehabilitation and renovation of the decaying facilities and infrastructures at the High Court of Justice premises at Ring Road, Ibadan and Iyaganku. This laudable projects or contract would greatly enhance the administration of justice in our state.
However, since Government is a continuity, the state government would have saved the state and the judiciary enormous sum of money if the extent and scope of the jobs to be done in the contract as already captured and mapped out by the Consultants engaged by the state government in 2014, Messrs Remi Osiberu & Associates were factored into this new contract. The said Consultant had already prepared the drawings and bills of quantities of the comprehensive rehabilitation for the Ring Road and Iyaganku premises which would have left the new Contractor to do just a revision of the said Bill of Quantity . It is not too late for the state government to liase with Messrs Remi Osiberu & Associates over this to reduce cost and also for quality control.
I must not conclude this piece without congratulating the Ibadan Bar , all other Bar Associations in Oyo State- Oyo, Ogbomoso and Saki, the judiciary of Oyo State and indeed the Governor and the Governme t of Oyo State over the historic appointment of our own Honourable Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON as the Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari.
My Lord, the newly minted Chief Justice is a worthy and proud Ambassador of Oyo State Bar, Oyo State judiciary and Oyo State Government.
It is my fervent prayers that the good Lord shall make the tenure of the new CJN a new dawn of glorious era , unprecedented positive growth and developments for the judiciary , the legal profession in Nigeria and the entire mankind.
May the good Lord also endow My Lord , the CJN with the needed knowledge, wisdom, the best of health and abiding grace of God to discharge creditably and justly the enormous responsibilities of that exalted office . Amen🙏
Happy New Legal Year 2022/2023.
Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo SAN is former Attorney General, Commissioner for Justice, Oyo State.
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