Ex NBA scribe, Adesina warns politicians over justice, development

Ogunsakin Mustapha
6 Min Read
Dele Adesina SAN

A senior lawyer, and former General Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Dele Adesina SAN has warned that justice and progress may continue to elude Nigeria until her politicians get priorities about governance right.

“In my humble opinion, until the politicians who rule over us get our priorities right, nothing, absolutely nothing will be right including our justice system and so many existential life issues in Nigeria, such as the economy and security”, he enthused.

Adesina, a life member of the Body of Benchers BoB, Nigeria’s legal system apex body, gave this warning at the Annual Lecture of the Faculty of Law, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State on March 23, 2023. The lecture was titled: “Law, Politics, and Challenges of Prosecuting Economic and Financial Crimes in Nigeria”. Annually, the faculty organizes a lecture where prominent Nigerians stimulate and reorientate public discussion on contemporary and topical legal issues and promote academic legal training with the view to expanding the frontiers of knowledge, stimulating academic excellence for law students and endearing the legal profession to the general public. Prominent legal minds like the late Chief Ernest Shonekan, a former Head of State, and the late Chief Babatunde Ibironke SAN, a former Director General of the Nigerian Law School had delivered the lecture in times past.

VC OOU, Prof Ayodeji Agboola handling a gift to Dele Adesina SAN after the lecture

In his 56 page lecture, Adesina said: “For democracy to endure, it must guarantee justice to all manner of people according to law”, adding that Nigeria system as presently constituted will continue to deny justice to litigants of both civil and criminal cases, and even the society as long as the country fails to deal with the problems facing the judiciary. ” Investment in the judiciary is an investment in justice. Investment in justice is an investment in democracy, and I submit that investment in democracy is an investment in the development of the people “, Adesina said.

The senior lawyer lamented the arrogance of politicians who he claimed have run the country aground, increasing the level of poverty of the people while they amass communal wealth that belongs to the people. “One thing that baffles me is the way we address our problems. We all know our problems as a nation and I dare say that we know the solutions to these problems. However, we always technically avoid the problems believing that they will solve themselves”, he said.

One such problem, according to the erudite lawyer, is the penchant of politicians, particularly at the state levels, who enjoy embarking on white elephant projects to the detriment of the welfare and development of their people. These projects to him have made many governors richer than the states they govern. ” With the exception of a very negligible few, this country has had the misfortune of producing, particularly at the state levels leaders who have consistently and continually placed the nation at their service rather than placing themselves at the service of the nation”, he said and quoted a statement of the Federal government which blamed governors for the rising rate of poverty in Nigeria because of their “preference for construction of airports and other heavy pieces of infrastructure rather than realistically and practically improving the lives of their people”.

Adesina, Prof Agboola with senior staff of Olabisi Onabanjo University after the lecture

Adesina said the poverty, coupled with unsavory political climate makes ” every new day to be a minus from the previous rather than being a plus “, a situation that sees young and energetic Nigerians, ordinarily leaders of tomorrow, and vibrant professionals, jetting out of the country in their multitudes because of despair, discouragement, anguish and hopelessness. ” Until the nation produces leaders that will place themselves at the service of the nation at all levels of governance, the solution to our multifarious problems will remain a mirage and a hope that cannot be fulfilled”, he concluded.

Among dignitaries that attended the lecture are the Alara of Aramoko Ekiti, Oba Olu Adeyemi, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ayodeji Agboola, the University Registrar, Mr Mr Femi Ogunwomoju, Dean Faculty of Law,  Dr. Gbade Akinrimade, former Vice President, NBA, Mr Adekunle Ojo SAN, Mr Gbenga Ogunba, former Chairman, Ijebu-Ode NBA, Chairman, Ikeja NBA, Mr Seyi Olawumi, former Chairmen, Ikeja NBA, Mr Dave Ajetomobi, and Adebamigbe Omole, Chief Adebayo Ayodele, former Chairman, Abeokuta NBA, Publisher, Gavel International, Mustapha Ogunsakin, and Otunba Olumide Olaiya.

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