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Kalu urges bridging of gap between govt and citizenry

By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Richard Eromosele
LAGOS—Prominent present and past political office holders, yesterday, in Lagos admitted that there was indeed, a widening gulf between the government and the governed.

Ex-Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who led the discussion as the guest speaker at the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja annual lecture in memory of the late Alao Aka-Bashorun, a former national president of NBA, attributed the various crises in the country to the widening gap between the government and the governed.

Kalu, who spoke on, ”The Search for the Soul of the Nigerian Nation: The Disconnect between the Government and the Governed in Nigeria,” noted that:“I dare to posit that the social tension we witness in different parts of our country can be traced to the disconnect between the governed and those in government.” The session was part of a week-long programme slated to mark this year’s annual Law Week activities of NBA,  Ikeja.

Speaking on the main topic, ”The Search for the Soul of the Nigerian Nation,” Prof. Itse Sagay blamed lack of fiscal federalism for the challenges confronting the country.

He noted that “everything is at the whims of the federal government,” hence, it was difficult for the states to operate properly as expected in a federal state.

Insisting that something urgent must be done to save the country from collapse, Sagay said for things to work properly and the country to move forward, everybody must be ready to participate in redeeming the nation.

Prof Pat Utomi, another discussant at the occasion  attributed the genesis of the challenges of indigeneship and settlers  to the colonial masters, adding that they created  “a system of divide and rule.”

He spoke on the topic, “The Issue of Indigeneship and Settlers in the Nigerian Nations, The Root Causes.”

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Inumidun Akande, said  “The bar cannot exist without the bench, so also the bench cannot function without the bar.”

She was represented by Justice Ayo Phillips, who told the gathering of lawyers that “we all have stakes in the quick administration and dispensation of justice.

“I imagine what the society will look like without the law and the legal practitioners,” urging the NBA to continue to stand against corruption and lawlessness.

Mrs Atinuke, the widow of Alao Aka-Bashorun, said that she was lucky to have married her husband, describing him as a man of integrity and core believer in the promotion of social justice.

“He was a man of the people by the people and for the people,”  Atinuke said, while commending the NBA for organizing the lecture in honour of her husband to remember the legacy he left behind.

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who moderated the lecture, attributed the major challenges confronting Nigeria to poverty.

While lauding the late Aka Bashorun for his service to the nation, he expressed optimism that the soul of the country would be strengthened with the concerted efforts of well_meaning Nigerians.

Other speakers at the event, include Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere Renewal Group spokesperson, Mr Yinka Odumakin, an activist, Mr Debo Adeshina want Nigerians to learn from Bashorun.


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