As the 2019 general elections draw closer, a Professor of Law in the University of Ilorin, Prof. Wahab Egbewole, has called on the Nigerian Judiciary to “up its game” by sticking to the avowed principle of justice without fear, favour, affection or ill will.
Egbewole spoke on Thursday at the 2nd Anniversary Public Lecture series of the Faculty of Law of Al-Hikma University, Ilorin, where he delivered the lecture, titled: “Sustaining The Nigerian Project; Cross Current of Law, Justice,Politics and Religion Revisited.”
The former Dean Faculty of Law particularly complained that “the 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 “must 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”.
The university Don also said many of the major crises in Nigeria are a result of the 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: “In 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.”
The former NBA chair also alluded to what he described as “a glaring disconnect between the rule of law and Justice in Nigeria,” adding: “Law as it ought to be, and the judiciary as the temple of justice for the common man finds a discolouration.
“Law 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 longer.”
Egbewole therefore called for urgent harmonisation and simultaneous realignment of law, justice, politics and religion “to ensure that instead of being a hindrance to the society, their qualities are used for the benefits of the society.”
He also called for justifiable and equal distribution of Nigeria’s resources among the components by the stakeholders as a way of ensuring stability and peace in the progress of Nigeria.