By Kolade Larewaju
ABEOKUTA â€“THE President of Nigeria Bar Association, (NBA) Mr. Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu weekend, said no amount of electoral reform or judiciary system could give Nigeria free and fair elections, if Nigerians themselves refused to take practical steps to ensure that their votes count.
The NBA boss who spoke as a guest lecturer at â€œSanyaolu Memorial Lectureâ€ organised by the Ogun State chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors in honour of their late chairman, said â€œdecisions on election petitions from the appeal courts had in recent times placed the judiciary at the fore front on national discuss.â€
Speaking on â€œAccess to Justice and Legal Process: Making Institutions Responsiveâ€, Akeredolu insisted that for equal access to legal process the judiciary, police and lawyers had a major role to play.
He was of the view that from all indications, those in power were determined to entrench themselves by hook or crook hence andÂ the only options left for the electorate was to ensure that they (those in power) donâ€™t have their ways.
â€œNigeria is retrogressing. We donâ€™t have robust debate at the national and the state assembly anymore. The people at the helm of affairs are not ready to leave. They bribe the police to steal ballot papers.
They are ready to bribe judges. So for them to leave we must fight them. No amount of reforms or judicial system can give us free and fair election until the politicians change their attitudes and if they failed to change we must fight them. We canâ€™t continue like this.â€