By Nasir Isa
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has expressed concern over the legal processes in Nigeria, saying that without social justice, legal justice is ultimately unattainable.
The Vice President was speaking on Monday, 8th February, 2022 in Bayero University, Kano at the 53rd Nigerian Association of Law Teachers’ Annual Conference with the theme: Law, Democracy and Electoral Process.
Professor Osinbajo reiterated that the whole idea of democracy is the people who determine who their leaders are and the electoral law must bow to the will of the people and that the appropriate interpretation must favour them.
He stated that the social justice refers to the economic and social right of the people to include the right to shelter, employment, education, reasonable minimum living wage, care for elderly, employment benefit and welfare of the physically challenged.
The Vice President, who was the Special Guest of Honour, said it was the federal government’s commitment to improving the electoral process, noting that the bill is in the process of being passed into law. He added that it has been a robust engagement between government and civil society groups, noting that it is hoped that it would be one with the broader consensus of all the stakeholders.
Professor Osinbajo called on the INEC to improve its capacity by deploying the appropriate technology to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2023.
The Vice President, however, unveiled NALT’s Manual on Legal Research Basic Guide for Law faculties and legal research institutions in Nigeria. The book was adopted in 2015 and revised in 2021.
The Chairman of the occasion, A.B Mahmoud SAN, said the choice of the theme was apt as it captured many issues concerning the interpretation of electoral process, legal system and democracy in Nigeria, saying that he was confident that the conference would critically address them.
In his remark, the Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje expressed appreciation over the NALT’s decision to hold its 53rd Conference in Kano, saying that the theme was all encompassing as far as electoral process and democracy are concerned. He said democracy would not thrive without a strong and viable legal process for sustainable development.
The Governor said there must be a concerted effort among all the relevant stakeholders to ensure sustainable democracy in Nigeria.
In his remark, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Sagir Adamu Abbas, the topics drawn from the central theme of the conference are deliberately aimed at tasking our legal scholars towards providing workable interpretations of our electoral laws to facilitate the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.
“As we all know, conducting a free and fair election is one of the cardinal principles of democracy and also a pillar that sustains democratic governance and norms.Nigeria has been facing serious challenges in the conduct of free and fair elections leading to political instability, social unrest and numerous litigations. It is, therefore, my hope that the outcome of this year’s NALT Conference will serve as a panacea to the lingering problems bedeviling electoral processes in this country,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Dean, Faculty of Law, Professor Usman Muhammad Shuaib Zannuraini, while welcoming participants to the conference, said 25 scholarly papers would be presented and discussed by various legal and other experts drawn from from various faculties of law, related institutions and other agencies dealing with election matters.
Professor Zanuuraini, ho is the President of NALT, particularly paid tribute to the Vice President, Governor of Kano, A.B Mahmoud, Chairman Board of Trustee of NALT, Professor Popoola and many other dignitaries, as well as the participants for gracing the occasion.
The Conference will last for three days, 8th to 10th February, 2022.