LAW PERSONALITY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Recently you congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for signing Order No.10 of 2020 into law why? You also requested him to extend the Order to include obedience to orders of courts of competent jurisdiction, why.
Yes, on 22/5/2020 on my twitter handle @me_llord, with humility, I congratulated Mr. President on “the bold, irreversible step in entrenching the rule of law”. By irreversible, I meant that the genie has left the bottle! On the same tweet I said “the offshoot should be obedience to decision of court of competent jurisdiction, whether favourable or not and seek appropriate redress according to law.” I should think that is self explanatory. In all situation change is hard to accept such that the issuance of Executive Order no 10 of 2020 broke the glass ceiling. The independence of the Judiciary rests on the constitutional concept of separation of powers which drive the rule of law. All these would be a mirage without financial autonomy for the Judiciary. In my speech of the legal year ceremonies of 2014/2015 on 22/9/2014 I said inter alia, “it is fitting that I would start with praising the effort of JUSUN in ushering in the much needed financial autonomy to the Judiciary in Nigeria. I have been constant and continue in the expression of my faith and appreciation to the contribution of the Judiciary staff. At no time more than now should I ask of all Judiciary staff in Anambra State in particular and the Nigeria Judiciary in general to stand up and take a bow…… These men and women who guard sometimes with their lives, the files, documents, exhibits and other court property without which the courts cannot function. They turn up to their duty posts daily under rain and sunshine sometimes with their meagre salaries to produce vital documents that are of grave importance to the life and death struggles that represent many a legal battle. Maybe since these facts happens daily we tend to take them for granted. But I consider them heroic deeds…. The best moment of the Judiciary staff seems to have arrived. They filed a suit for financial autonomy for the State Judiciaries pursuant to Section 121(3) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999. Judgement was given in their favour. When the various States Governments delayed in obeying the judgement of the court they embarked on a nationwide strike which was only called off to allow those states still sitting on the fence to obey …. I congratulate JUSUN for this historic feat” The way the legal profession is fashioned the Bar is the bulwark of Bench. Ideally the Bar should be in the forefront of the struggle in Nigeria for financial autonomy for the Judiciary. I doubt if that is the case. Rather the JUSUN with their meagre salaries are the ones who went to court and won financial autonomy for the courts which the Governors neither implemented nor appealed against. The senior lawyers who earn fees from court appearances were nowhere to be found. I speak here with all sense of responsibility that the leading lights of the Bar were harassing and intimidating the JUSUN to stop their fight. There may be few senior lawyers who have sympathy for the cause of the independence of Judiciary and did something about it but we would not fail to chronicle that Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN on his own went to court to enforce the financial autonomy of the Judiciary. Like JUSUN he got a court judgement which the Governors neither implemented nor appealed against. The mainstream media should also review its role because in the final analysis everyone runs to the court for protection. The full import of independence of the Judiciary mean that even Judges also would face the wrath of the law if they transgress in their official duties. They would be tried according to law and if found guilty would suffer the penalty for their offence. The same would apply to all and sundry. Nobody is above the law. It is with this mindset that we need to support financial autonomy on the basis of separation of powers, to strengthen the rule of law as a corner stone for the development of our country Nigeria. On this subject the JUSUN are the undisputed heroes.