Eminent personalities including the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Austin Alege, SAN on Tuesday condemned the spate of impeachment of speakers in Nigeria by minority legislators, saying it was a bad omen
for the sustenance of the nation’s democracy.
The eminent personalities, who spoke at the 60th anniversary of the Ibadan Bar, particularly frowned at the recent impeachment of the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, by minority members of the House.
For instance, the CJN, who was represented by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Ogwuta Nwali, described such developments as nothing but an affront on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which political office holders had sworn to protect in the discharge of their responsibilities.
The NBA President, on his own, expressed dissatisfaction with the police invasion of the National Assembly and the locking of the members of the House of Representatives, stressing that such an act was an unnecessary interference in the activities of the legislative arm of government, even as he condemned the scaling of fence by the federal lawmakers.
For Governor Ajimobi, there is the need for all players on the political scene to abide by the rules of the game in the interest of Nigeria and the generality of the people, particularly as the 2015 elections draw near, stating that all organs of government should play their roles within the bounds of law and constitutional principles.
As a demonstration of playing by the rules, he condemned the use of military personnel in the conduct of elections, saying this was unknown in the history of democratic governance all over the world and should, therefore, no longer be tolerated in the country.
“As a Governor sworn to an Oath of Allegiance to uphold the Constitution of our land and as a law-abiding citizen of this country, I bear a responsibility to respect the law and the Constitution, as well as to express my displeasure whenever the law or the Constitution is being violated. This is a duty that every citizen of this country must not shy away from, if we want this democracy to endure and thrive,” he said.
The governor said that legal practitioners, more than other professionals, must appreciate the dangers inherent in an environment where the Constitution was being infringed upon and that the Ibadan Bar, being the conscience of other branches in the country, should take the lead.
Governor Ajimobi, while stating that his administration operates an open-door policy, called on the Bar to always make its constructive advice available to his government so that Oyo State could be moved forward.
They all paid tribute to the Ibadan Bar for being the first in the country and for its landmark achievements in the development of The Bar in Nigeria.
“The Ibadan Bar has come a long way with unparalled achievements in the advocacy of respect for human rights, good governance and corruption-free society. It is against this background that I wish to state that this Bar cannot afford to keep aloof in the face of numerous challenges currently bedevilling our nation.
“Loss of human lives and property on a daily basis as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency must not elude the attention of this Bar. Rape on democracy and democratic norms is an issue that the Ibadan Bar must lead the pack to speak against in the polity. To my mind, this is another opportunity for the Ibadan Bar to lend its voice in the support of democracy and rule of law,” Ajimobi said.