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- Category: Politics
- Published on Sunday, 18 April 2010 23:40
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 2004
Nigerians, yesterday, got an inkling of what to expect in the 2011 general elections as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, unleashed verbal missiles on ex-Military President Ibrahim Babangida, questioning the democratic credentials of the ex-military leader.
Both former leaders clashed in
Atiku made his remark after Babangida spoke at the event, where he flaunted his past efforts at building a virile democratic institution in the country.
Babangida, while advocating true federalism, had also insisted that elections should not be a do-or-die affair, an impression often given by some politicians.
Atiku, in his remark, reeled out the anti-democratic and anti-rule of law tendencies of Babangida’s government, in reaction to General Babangida’s comments that if not for people like Justice Oguntade in the judiciary, Atiku would not have been able to contest an election.
"When President Babangida was speaking about the number of cases I initiated to exercise my legal right, I wish those opportunities were available to me during his tenure when I was disqualified three times and eventually disbarred in an era when many people, including professionals in diverse fields put money first, at the expense of quality service delivery," Atiku said.
The former vice president paid glowing tributes to the erudition and courage displayed by Justice Oguntade throughout his long spell at the bench.
According to Atiku, "It is difficult to highlight honesty and integrity in an epoch when cowards are kings; it is difficult to promote courage when charlatans bestride the land in their borrowed robes. It is difficult to see the value of borrowed pride in a period when lying has become pastime of some people in power; it is very hard to understand why honesty can be the best policy.
"In an era when many people believe that justice can be bought and sold, it is perplexing that people would gather in
In his remarks earlier, Babangida said: "Nigerian citizenship and the problems of conducting free and fair elections should always be dealt with as challenges without necessarily turning them into the language of certain leaders, of ‘do-or-die’ affair, or areas that could destroy and disintegrate this great nation."
While pointing out his efforts at building democracy, during his military regime and voicing his vision for governance, the former military president said "What I am saying is that there is nothing inherently wrong with the presidential system. If I were again in position to act, what to do is to trim down the unnecessary baggage of undue human and personnel attachments to the major actors and functionaries (elected and appointed) of the presidential system.
"I am saying that this country, everything put together, deserves slim governance in personnel and recurrent expenditures.
"I do not wish to engage in criticism, but certainly, our recent experience, since the return to elected, constitutional, democratic and civilian governance in 1999, clearly indicate that we have seen too many of what the pre-eminent professor of constitutional law, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, has referred to as ‘subversion of the rule of law and democracy.’
"There are many people in governance, which need not be in governance; maybe they are only in the governance corridors, yet being fully catered for with too many public resources," Babangida concluded.
In his speech, Justice Oguntade called on all Nigerians to brace up for the challenges of enthroning true democracy and rule of law in the nation.
According to the eminent jurist, without the enthronement of the rule of law, Nigerians may continue to remain at the base of development.
Present at the event were Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church, Dr. David Oyedepo; Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos; Ewi of Ado, Oba Rufus Adejugbe Aladesanmi III; President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN); Solicitor-General of Lagos State, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), who represented Gov Babatunde Fashola; former NBA chairman, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Marvel Akpoyibo and former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha.