Osinbajo

Osinbajo: Lawyers Who Found Themselves in Power Are the Most Draconian – Babalakin

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Wale Babalakin, on Friday called on lawyers in the country to stop looking up to their fellow lawyers holding executive and legislative positions to fight for the independence of the judiciary.

Babalakin said history had shown that lawyers who found themselves in the corridors of power were the most draconian, arbitrary and those who mostly treated the rule of law with indifference.

Babalakin spoke in Lagos at the unveiling of the biography of the immediate-past chief judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke.

He was the chief launcher of the biography titled, ‘Opeyemi Oke: A Benchmark on the Bench,” written by a Canada-based law professor, Chidi Oguamanam, and reviewed by the Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof Lanre Fagbohun (SAN).

 The event, which held at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, was chaired by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour of the Supreme Court and attended by Supreme Court Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, on behalf of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad; Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba; among others

Speaking at the event, Babalakin said, “If you think that because today the Vice-President is a lawyer, the Speaker of the House is a lawyer, many governors are lawyers; the minute they wear the executive toga they cease to be interested in the full independence of the judiciary (sic). You are the ones that can save yourselves. You should save yourselves by protecting the system.

“From my own experience, lawyers who found themselves in executive positions are the more draconian, are the more arbitrary and are the most indifferent to the rule of law. So, it is you that can save the profession.”

Babalakin, who noted that people in the executive only remembered the judiciary after leaving office, said he had a good laugh when he learnt that former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was seeking court’s protection from being harassed by the Lagos State House of Assembly.

“What did he do for the judiciary? Did he provide what he should provide?” he asked, telling his colleagues that “when you see any lawyer who is committing an aberration, who is going beyond the limit because of the transient power that he or she has, please caution them.”

In his remarks, Olanipekun described the Lagos State Judiciary as the boldest and freest in the country, saying the recent sacking and replacement of the Kogi State deputy governor, after he was found not guilty by an enquiry panel, could not have happened in Lagos.

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