By Okey Ndiribe, Olasunkanmi Akoni & Biodun Ogundare
LAGOSâ€”FORMER Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has warned that Nigeria may disintegrate unless the rule of law is allowed to operate in the conduct of free and fair elections.
He spoke at a colloquium with the theme â€œThis House Must Standâ€ organized by his political associates and friends to mark his 58th birthday.
He further warned: â€œThe consequences of the nation collapsing would be too catastrophic,Â Â immediate measures have to be taken to prevent this possibility.â€
Tinubu said that a fundamental measure that has to be taken to pull the nation back from the brink is the adoption of the report of the Justice Muhammadu Uwais-led Electoral Reform Panel, ERP.
Said he: â€œIf we donâ€™t have free and fair elections, we canâ€™t have rule of law.â€
He called for the sack of the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Maurice Iwu as a first step towards sanitizing the nationâ€™s electoral system.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, cautioned Nigerians against questioning decisions of the nationâ€™s leaders on the basis of ethnicity or religion.
He regretted that some corrupt leaders in the country who had banked their loot in foreign countries had not only denied unemployed Nigerians jobs but ended up creating greater economic prosperity for such countries which were already economically stable.
In a lecture he delivered at the occasion on how a country could function, Dr. Hernando De-Soto, a renowned Peruvian economist stated that the rule of law and the formalization it entails is what is requiredÂ for any nation to attain progress.
He observed that adherence to the rule of law was largely responsible for the wealth of European nations, adding that no nation could make progress if the principle is not allowed to apply.
The dignitaries that attended the event were former governors of the State, Brigadier General Mobolaji Johnson, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, National Chairman of Action Congress, AC, Chief Bisi Akande, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu 1, AC gubernatorial candidates in Anambra, Ekiti, and Osun States, Dr.Chris Ngige, Mr. Kayode Fayemi and Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola, Tinubuâ€™s wife, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, and other prominent Nigerians.
Tinubu, while responding to the topic â€œThis House Must Standâ€ by a panel of discussants led by the current President of Institute for Liberty and Democracy, ILD, Dr. Hernando De Soto, explained that anyone who has witnessed the tragedy of a collapsed building will understand the sorrow, anguish and pain of such scene. He admonished the leadership of the country to ensure that the Nigerian entity must not collapse.
A member of the Presidential Advisory Committee, Maryam Uwais, called on leaders to entrench a free and fair election, intensify its war against corruption and work for the interest of all.
President of West African Bar Association, Femi Falana, while admitting that the nation was on the brink of collapse, said that the nation would only be running round in circles if electoral reforms were not made before the 2011 elections and for leaders to respect the rule of law.
He wondered that three years after the 2007 general elections, some governors were still enjoying questionable mandates, calling on Nigerians to get involved in how the government runs the affairs of the state and the nation.
Fashola, while proposing a toast to the celebrant recalled that since the beginning of the republic, â€œTinubu has been the cornerstone of development in Lagos State.â€ He added that in the history of Nigeria the question of right leadership has always stirred the nation in the face, adding that not only has leadership failed in its 49 years, no one has succeeded in finding a successor for himself.
De Soto, during his presentation stressed division of labour, strict adherence to the rule of law as key factors for the formation of a successful nation.