Olumide Akpata spoke on the Nigerian judiciary at the just concluded International Bar Association IBA Rule of Law Symposium in the video below.
People will ask what did he do to right the wrongs as NBA president during his time. But I don’t think with respect that the question should be what did he do when he was NBA president. No it shouldn’t be. I think the question should be what are we doing as a profession in Nigeria to put an end to the ills he spoke of.
Are these ills not staring us on the face. Can we collectively join hands as legal practitioners both on the Bench and at the Bar to put an end to these ills. Or we have been castrated by those who have held the judiciary in the jugglar.
Can we in clear conscience say today that in our dear country Nigeria all is well with the legal profession. Will it be profitable and beneficial to go around pretending that these ills do not exist. Speaking about ills which are even visible to blind does not amount to washing our dirty linen in public in my respectful view. No it does not.
I did not support President Olumide Akpata to become NBA President. No I did not and I did not pretend about it, but he earned my respect here in this contribution and I think time to make appointment to the Bench merit based and transparent is now.
He spoke my mine in this contribution and the minds of many reasonable legal practitioners with decent legal practice. Things have got to change peacefully in the ways and manner the legal profession practices law in Nigeria, otherwise the consequences of our continuous pretences that all is well will be too grevious to remedied in future.
Let nobody decieve us with rethorics that we operate rule of law in Nigeria. No we have replaced the rule of law with state captured institutions. We have replaced rule of law with political slavery and those who engaged in institutional slavery are too conformable with the legal profession going into darkness of extinction.
It is on these basis that judicial appointments seem to be based on whom you know rather than what you know. In all, appointments to the Bench seem to have become institutionalized hereditary, either by blood, political, religious or social connection. Whichever is the case justice has become so opened eyed that it can now see. Too bad for the purity of the profession. I doff my heart my President.
– Okutepa, SAN
Watch the video below :