By Mosunmola Ayobami in Ilorin
The Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ali Ahmad, has said Nigeria legislature is suffering due to the nation’s hostile political environment, which discourages lawyers’ participation and involvement in politics.
Citing the example of the United States of America, Ahmad explained that right from District Attorney to State Legislature, Congressman, to contesting for the position of Governor or President, the system encourages lawyers’ participation and it is friendly.
The Speaker made his position on the issue known while fielding questions from journalists in Ilorin recently.
According to his Media Aide, Shuaib Abdulkadir, insisted that lawyers have a lot to contribute to make the country’s legislature stable and work perfectly.
He lamented that even though both Nigeria and US were operating same system which is prescriptive and less of common law, Nigeria could not get it right due to the fact that majority of those at the National Assembly do not have what it is required to be entrusted with such position.
The Speaker said further that another reason deduced for less involvement of lawyers in the nation’s politics is the fact that Nigerian politics has been tagged “dirty” as well as the issue of godfatherism.
Regardless of the hindrances, Ahmad stated that lawyers must be bold, focused and determined to be successful as politicians, stressing that Nigeria could not be an exception.
“The American system is prescriptive, less of common law and it is all about legislation. The lawyers draft the law, interprete it, bend it and the lawyers now come and amend the law that they have bent. So, lawyers are very good politicians in America because the system encourages participation of lawyers. And that is why you see that 70 per cent of legislators in the US are lawyers”
“When you come back to Nigeria, we have the same system with America, heavily prescriptive, less of common law but why are lawyers not getting involved? This is because we believe politics is dirty on one hand and you have the issue of godfatherism before entry point.
“Politics is too important to keep lawyers out perpetually, we have to break it and enter. Lawyers are process-people, politics is process-based just like legislature. Our legislature today is suffering because we have few lawyers there and those we have entrusted our public life with can not manage it.
“That is why lawyers should get involved in politics just like in other countries. If anything suffers, it might be you. And that is why people like you should come out. Your profession and practice might suffer but that is what you have to give up for our society to move forward,” he submitted.