Lawyers in Edo State have extolled a senior legal practitioner in the state, Emmanuel Olayiwola Afolabi, Esquire for his vision, ideas, initiative, creativity and contributions towards the advancement and development of young lawyers, and the NBA in the state, and Nigeria in general.
The lawyers both experienced and young lawyers made the statements in an edition of the Barrister Olayiwola Afolabi, Esq. Annual Legal Coaching and Mentorship Clinic (LCMC) 2021 in Benin City.
The clinic was put together to “coach and mentor ” young lawyers who have the passion and zeal to pursue their careers with professionalism.
Former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Razaq Isenalome thanked Emmanuel Olayiwola Afolabi for his contributions towards the advancement of the body and helping to build the capacity of young lawyers in Edo state.
Isenalome said because of Afolabi’s good deeds for people and for the progress of the state and Nigeria, very soon he will be celebrated.
They described the legal icon as somebody who has the passion and wisdom to build the capacity of young lawyers and contribute to the advancement of the profession in the state and Nigeria.
Speaking on the topic, “An Unhappy Union? Renegotiation of Nigeria’s Legal Frameworks in the Light of Rising Insecurity and Secessionist Agitations,” the keynote speaker, Dr. Gabriel Arishe said some of the reasons why people are agitating for secession is the faulty structure of government.
Dr. Arishe, an associate professor and head of department, Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Benin, said since independence in 1960, there has always been discontent and contestations in Nigeria.
The professor of Law said the discontents are based on religious ideology, ethnic representation in political offices, access to political power, revenue allocation and the political structure of the country.
He said the people unhappy in Nigeria are interest groups-ethnic, religious or social; the unprotected, citizens who are without economic security, victims of violent crimes and injustice, those who are not in political authority and those who are repressed, oppressed and persecuted.
He described the problem further as, “political safety valves have been blocked, electoral authoritarianism with attendant crisis of legitimacy, non-existence of distributive justice, constitutional heavy lifting (regulation of the economy) and faulty structure of government that promote consumption, not efficiency.”
Concluding, Arishe stated that any worthwhile renegotiation must be rooted on sound philosophies of statehood, which are- promotion of economic well-being of people, protection of private property, security of life, freedom of religion, speech and distribution of justice that bring and guarantee equity.
The key speaker
Dr. Arishe commended Afolabi Esq for his immense impact on the advancement of the Bar in the state and Nigeria and for the building the capacity of young lawyers.
In his address, the NBA chairman in Edo State, Pius Oiwoh Esq, described Emmanuel Olayiwola Afolabi Esq. as a man with a “Lionheart”, due to his generosity towards the promotion of the legal profession in the state and Nigeria.
Oiowh Esq said the NBA recognizes the impact of his contributions and thanked him for rewarding all those who participated in an essay writing competition with cash prize, awards to student of the Faculty of Law, Uniben as well as awards to deserving members of the bar.
Contributing to the discussion, chairman, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Comrade Abraham Oviawe, Esq. said people are calling for secession because there is a lot of oppression, injustice and corruption in Nigeria.
He thanked Afolabi for organizing the event, and for advancing the knowledge of young lawyers in the state and Nigeria.
In his address, the host, Emmanuel Olayiwola Afolabi Esq said the theme of the event aptly captured the prevailing mood of a nation that has been lately plagued with so many ill- factors such as, rising insecurity, monumental corruption, domestic terrorism and a general sense of disillusionment amongst the populace.
He lamented: “A natural response to this myriad of challenges have been an increased intensity around conversations, relating to self-determination amongst the core intellectuals of the various socio-political regions of the country.
“Whilst amongst the not too interested (the cry was), ‘to-your-tents-O-Israel”, now it appears to be the overwhelming body language. No doubt, the issues highlighted above bestir an urgent need to address the problems of our nation.
“One common point of agreement amongst various spheres of the divide seems to be the critical place of our legal system in addressing and tackling the various problems bedeviling our society,” Afolabi stated.
Responding to comments on his contributions to lawyers and the Bar, he said impacting on human beings has been his passion right from time. He said it is an avenue through which he can contribute his quotas and gains to humanity.
Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Iryn Omorogiuwa Esq. said there is a lot of injustice in the present government leading to the cry of secession in Nigeria.
Omorogiuwa said there is marginalization in almost every part of the country, which has resulted to killings, rape and other forms of violence against girls and women. She thanked the host for organizing the event and for his contributions to lawyers and the NBA in Edo state and Nigeria.
Chairman Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State, Comrade Roland Osakwe, also commended the host for his contributions to the Bar and building the capacity of lawyers in the state.
The NUJ boss said Nigeria has not failed yet, stressing that the nation needs the collective efforts of all Nigerians to survive.