Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
A Professor of Law at the University of Ilorin, Kwara state, Prof. AbduWahab Egbewole has charged the nationâ€™s judiciary to up its game by sticking to the avowed principle of justice and equity, without fear, favour, affection or ill will.
He said such principle would go a long way in restoring confidence in the judiciary and also protect the democratic governance in the country.
Egbewole made the submission in Ilorin weekend during the 2nd Anniversary Public Lecture series of Faculty of Law of Al-Hikma University, Ilorin, where he delivered the lecture titled, â€˜Sustaining The Nigerian Project; Cross Current of Law, Justice, Politics and Religion Revisitedâ€™.
The former Dean Faculty of Law complained that, â€œthe few bad eggs in the judiciary have continued to tarnish the position and rubbish the very vast majority of hard working, industrious, selfless and highly disciplined judicial officers that permeate the entire strata of the judicial sector.
He noted that the judiciary must constantly strive to live above board, adding that this can be done by ensuring that matters are determined timeously.
Egbewole stressed that the judiciary â€œmust continue to purge the family of the few bad eggs as this will go a long way in instilling the confidence in the public that it is an institution that is truly for all segments of Nigeria; irrespective of status or standing in the society.â€
The don also said many of the major crises in Nigeria are a result of lack of consensus decision-making, which is ultimately caused by the misalignment of law, justice and religion.
Egbewole noted that though no society is bereft of its own challenges, equality, access to justice and freedom which are the basic components to measure the progress of a country like Nigeria, have conspired to work against her progress.
He stressed, â€œIn Nigeria today, it is clear that instead of working together, these concepts have become tools for destabilisation and retardation of the growth of the nation.â€
The former Ilorin NBA chairman also alluded to what he described as â€œa glaring disconnect between the rule of law and justice in Nigeriaâ€, saying that, â€œlaw as it ought to be, and the judiciary as the temple of justice for the common man finds a discolouration.
â€œLaw and justice may well then be described as the rule of the rich, the connected and the connected. It is not literal, golden or mischief in its interpretation any longerâ€, he stressed.
Egbewole therefore called for urgent harmonisation and simultaneous realignment of law, justice, politics and religion â€œto ensure that instead of being a hindrance to the society, their qualities are used for the benefits of the society.â€
He also called for justifiable and equal distribution of Nigeria resources among the components by the stakeholders, as a way to ensure stability and peace in the progress of Nigeria.