Nigeria Needs Inspirational,Transformative Leadership-Adoke



adoke 750Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation,Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke ,SAN has recommended inspirational and transformative leadership for Nigeria as the nation grapples with the challenges .Adoke who spoke today at the 2013 Annual General Conference, Nigerian Bar Association, International Conference Centre, Tinapa Calabar said “the myriad of challenges we face as a nation calls for inspirational and transformational leadership with the requisite capacity to appreciate the dynamics of our current realities. We need a leadership that is sincere, committed, courageous, accountable and above all, humane. In my respectful view, Nigeria has the requisite leadership both at federal and state levels to make our nation great.
President Harry Truman put it admiringly thus -“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”.

He added that “The administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR is already implementing the Transformation Agenda, which seeks to reform governance and other critical sectors of the economy. The transformation is expected to place Nigeria on a firm footing and generally prepare Nigeria to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, as well as, address her peculiar challenges.

Adoke said he is “ however of the reasoned view that Government cannot do it all alone. Success can only be achieved through a workable partnership and concerted efforts between Government, the organized private sector, labour, patriotic and public-spirited individuals and professional associations such as the Nigerian Bar Association. In this respect, I must commend the current leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association for the laudable initiatives the Association has implemented to tackle some our of developmental challenges especially in the area of security, electoral and constitutional reforms. The leadership of the Bar have not only demonstrated that our association is a worthy partner in the Nigerian project through constructive engagement with government, but have also contributed to finding solutions to pressing national problems.

“As we focus on the theme and sub-themes of this year’s Conference, let us be reminded of our sacred duties to our nation- the duty to be loyal and patriotic citizens; the duty to foster national unity and cohesion; the duty to contribute to the quest for democratic consolidation; the duty to shun corruption in all its ramifications; the duty to promote economic prosperity and the duty to conduct our affairs responsibly with due regard for the sensibilities of other
Nigerians.

ADDRESS BY MR. MOHAMMED BELLO ADOKE, SAN, CFR
Honourable Attorney General of the Federation
and Minister of Justice

AT THE 2013 ANNUAL GENERAL CONFERENCE, NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION, INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, TINAPA CALABAR, CROSS RIVER STATE

26THAUGUST, 2013

PROTOCOLS
1. I am delighted to have been invited to present an Address at the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). I commend our amiable President, His Excellency, Mr. OkeyWali, SAN for his inspirational leadership and the Members of the Executive Committee for their committed service to our great Association.

2. The theme of this year’s conference-“Law, Leadership and Challenges of Nationhood in the 21st Century Nigeria”is particularly significant, as it takes cognizance of the centrality of law in the economic and socio-political spheres of our Nation, as well as, Nigeria’s quest for transformational leadership as we prepare to celebrate100 years of our existence as a Nation. I therefore congratulate the leadership of the Bar for this initiative and for organizing what promises to be a very successful conference.

3. Permit me to also congratulate our host Governor, His Excellency, Governor Liyel Imoke, whom you will all agree, is a worthy Ambassador of the Bar in governance in the present democratic dispensation. The developmental strides we have witnessed since our arrival, bears glowing testimony of his astuteness and able leadership in handling the affairs of the State.

4. Your Excellences, Distinguished Conferees, Ladies and Gentlemen, the pre-eminent position of the law in the development agenda of nation States cannot be overemphasized. Through the works of Dean Roscoe Pound, we have come to appreciate the potency and limitations of law as a tool of social engineering. You will agree that our journey to nationhood clearly exemplifies this thesis. As we will recall, in the decade after independence, our laws significantly altered in character, as the State became less concerned with issues of power and authority in the face of the urgent need to set the newly independent nation on the path to economic growth and prosperity.

5. There is no doubt that any society, which desires to bring about social justice, and development will ultimately address the functionality and centrality of law. In my respectful view, social justice and a developmental perspective to nation’s legal system requires that the rule of law must be sacrosanct. This fundamental concept entails that rights (including economic rights) are protected and that arbitrary powers of the State are curbed by the prescription of rules and codes that regulate and sanction.

6. By the same token, in a constitutional democracy like Nigeria, the rule of law connotes not only that the judiciary is independent but that judicial orders and judgments of courts are obeyed and enforced. This is more so when only the courts of law are mandated to state with finality the position of the law as it governs the affairs of the society and the nation. Amidst the controversies that attend political rivalries and contests within and outside political parties; in the course of evolving sustainable constitutional principles for our democracy and in the face
of security challenges, the courts have dispensed justice according to the law and our constitutional evolution has benefitted immensely from their interventions. As we prepare to celebrate 100 years of nationhood, we must continue to have faith in the ability of the law to regulate our conduct both in public and private spheres and serve as a mechanism for resolving disputes.

7. Your Excellences, Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, the 21st Century has brought in its wake, a number of challenges for nation states whether developed or developing. Most prominent of these challenges include:
• how to ensure the security of lives and property in the face of increasing global terrorism;
• how to protect the rights and liberties of the people in the midst of competing social norms, and
• how to achieve economic development and improvement in living conditions of the people.

8. These global challenges have impacted nation-states in different ways and intensity depending on their level of development. While developed economies have on account of their superior educational, economic and technological capabilities been able to better manage these challenges; developing nations have continued to lag behind due to weak governance institutions, poor industrial base and near absence of democratic values and norms.

9. In Nigeria, the challenges of nationhood are more pronounced in the areas of security, fostering of national unity and democratic consolidation. The threat of global terrorism hitherto considered an alien phenomenon has unfortunately found a place in our nation. Media reports of terrorist attacks on innocent citizens, members of the armed forces and police and our critical infrastructure have continued to weigh heavily on the cost of governance and the ability of the
citizenry to carry out their social and economic activities with grave consequences for the nation. In its determined effort to combat the insurgency; government has had to impose a State of Emergency in three states in the Northeast geopolitical zone, (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe) .

10. Democracy and liberalism that it engenders in the political space have also brought about its own challenges especially to the unity and corporate existence of our nation. The freedom of expression, association and freedom of thought and conscience guaranteed by the Constitution, have unwittingly become tools in the hands of politicians and their associates to promote division, hatred and discontentment in the polity. The quest for power and determination of certain persons and sections of the country to wrestle power from incumbent political office
holders have led to the issuance of all manner of threats with grave implications for our national unity.

11. Another major challenge to our nationhood is how to improve on the living conditions of our people. Our constitution clearly provides that security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.While successive governments since independence, have grappled with the economic problems of the country, there are still noticeable incidences of poverty, hunger and disease, unemployment and poor infrastructure which have continued to impact negatively on the well being of the people. Although, this administration has unveiled a programme of action to deal with these issues, it is obvious that success can only be achieved
with concerted efforts from the public and private sector to deal with these developmental challenges.

12. The 21st Century has also brought about globalization -the shrinking of national borders and frontiers. This poses challenge for governance, as Nigeria can no longer afford to be insular in its policies and programmes. Nigeria must therefore position herself to take advantage of the liberalization of global economies to compete favourably with other countries for the attraction of investments and market penetration, as well as, limit the disadvantages associated with the integration of global financial system such as the recent financial crises that engulfed Europe and America.

13. Your Excellences, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, the myriad of challenges we face as a nation calls for inspirational and transformational leadership with the requisite capacity to appreciate the dynamics of our current realities. We need a leadership that is sincere, committed, courageous, accountable and above all, humane. In my respectful view, Nigeria has the requisite leadership both at federal and state levels to make our nation great.
President Harry Truman put it admiringly thus -“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”.

The administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR is already implementing the Transformation Agenda, which seeks to reform governance and other critical sectors of the economy. The transformation is expected to place Nigeria on a firm footing and generally prepare Nigeria to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, as well as, address her peculiar challenges.

14. I am however of the reasoned view that Government cannot do it all alone. Success can only be achieved through a workable partnership and concerted efforts between Government, the organized private sector, labour, patriotic and public-spirited individuals and professional associations such as the Nigerian Bar Association. In this respect, I must commend the current leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association for the laudable initiatives the Association has implemented to tackle some our of developmental challenges especially in the area of security,
electoral and constitutional reforms. The leadership of the Bar have not only demonstrated that our association is a worthy partner in the Nigerian project through constructive engagement with government, but have also contributed to finding solutions to pressing national problems.

15. As we focus on the theme and sub-themes of this year’s Conference, let us be reminded of our sacred duties to our nation- the duty to be loyal and patriotic citizens; the duty to foster national unity and cohesion; the duty to contribute to the quest for democratic consolidation; the duty to shun corruption in all its ramifications; the duty to promote economic prosperity and the duty to conduct our affairs responsibly with due regard for the sensibilities of other
Nigerians.

16. Your Excellences, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Programme of Events for this Conference indicates that eminent jurists, practitioners and scholars have been invited to lead discussions on the various sub-themes. It is therefore my firm belief that this Conference will provide a forum for frank exchanges and robust consideration of our national challenges with a view to proffering viable solutions. Let me assure you of Government’s readiness and determination to take on board, all the suggestions and recommendations that would flow from this conference.

17. Once more, I thank you for inviting me and wish you all a cordial and fruitful conference.

MR MOHAMMED BELLO ADOKE, SAN, CFR
Honourable Attorney General of the Federation
and Minister of Justice

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