Jonathan, Lokpobiri Optimistic Nigeria Will Overcome Present Economic Challenges

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

Former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil) have expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon overcome the current socio-economic challenges facing the country.

 They both stated this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, yesterday, while formally declaring open the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Yenagoa Law Week 2024 with the theme: “The Legal Profession in a Time of Socio-economic Uncertainties.”
The ex-President represented by a lawyer and first-class monarch in Bayelsa, King Collins Daniel, noted that the federal government was doing its best to salvage the situation.

He commended the Somina Johnbull-led NBA Yenagoa for organising the 2024 NBA Law Week 2024 and for the successful hosting of the event, saying the theme was not only apt but well-chosen in view of the present economic hardships in the country.

He said the topic presents an opportunity for a reflection on general governance issues and the need to address them urgently for the wellbeing of the citizenry.
Jonathan said: “May I also remind us that the present economic hardships ravaging this country is not limited to the legal profession as it pervades all professions and sectors, including the high and low. We therefore, need collaborative efforts in finding solutions to it.

“Socio-economic uncertainty is not a new phenomenon in human race. After the First World War, the world also suffered from economic hardships as a result of economic depression which occurred about 1929/30. Nigeria was not also left out.

“Between 1984 and 1987 there were also economic challenges in Nigeria under the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s administration, which led the Federal Government to introduce an economic recovery programme called the Structural Adiustment Programme, codenamed SAP. The country experienced scarcity of essential commodities, and the citizens suffered severe hardship. God was with us and the country bounced back.

“Between 2016 and 2019 the whole world went through another economic recession. Nigeria also had her own share of the hardship, but we were fortunate we were able to get out of the recession in a few years.”
He said the legal profession has credible, intelligent men and women, noting that the ingenuity of the profession in advocating for the common good and better life for the underprivileged had been one of history.

He added: “One good thing about the profession is that it discusses current issues and create fora for intellectual engagements always.
“The galaxy of legal icons gathered here, is a positive development. This great meeting of minds by learned silks, judicial icons, jurists and other brilliant members of the bar will definitely set the tone for fruitful deliberations.

“Lessons learnt will serve useful purpose for policy formulation as well. I therefore, enjoin all participants at this conference to take advantage of the convivial atmosphere, to deliberate on the knotty issue of socio-economic uncertainty by proffering solutions that will lead to speedy economic recovery in our country.”
 Also speaking, Lokpobiri, said whatever economic challenge Nigerians are facing, it was not peculiar to Nigeria.

Lokpobiri said: “Whatever you see here is what happens everywhere in the world. As a government, President Bola Tinubu is doing whatever that is necessary to see how the country can support the most vulnerable people in the society. For any society to be good, there will be times like this for a very bold decision for the interest and prosperity of this country.
“If the president had not taken that decision the day he was sworn in; Nigeria would have been like Venezuela. The government means well and we are doing whatever that is necessary.

“The lawyers like I said there have so many opportunities. Whatever happens here is not different from what happens in New York. For any lawyer to be successful, they must first be hard working, secondly, they must be honest. I want to assure the lawyers that there are so many opportunities that they haven’t explored and I gave a few of them. No lawyer that is hardworking will lack. We want them to hold on and keep the flag flying.”

On her own part, the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Matilda Ayemieye, said the legal practitioners play a vital role in adapting to changes whether by drafting new legislation, challenging unjust law or interpreting the legal proceedings in court.
She said lawyers serve as a cornerstone of stability, justice and governance during times of uncertainty by upholding the law and advocating for fairness.

In his welcome address, Johnbull, thanked all the dignitaries that graced the event.

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