BY Innocent Anaba
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has called for a 10-year-ban or more on public office holders found by the courts to have rigged themselves into power, noting that until same was done, cheats will continue to find themselves in power.
Governor Fayemi spoke at the ongoing Nigerian Bar Association, Section on Business Law, NBA-SBL, 7th Annual Business Law Conference, in Lagos, with the theme The Legal Profession in an Emerging Economy.
He renewed his call for the setting up of a special court to prosecute electoral offenders, saying “establishing an electoral court will ensure that those who put themselves into public offices through fraudulent means, and the court holds so, should be banned from holding public office for an upwards of 10 years or more.
NBA President’s speech
Meanwhile, NBA President, Mr. Okey Wali, SAN, in his address, said: “Continuing legal education or professional development has assumed an urgent priority in developed and developing economies.
“It is a lifelong learning process that is indispensable to professional growth and individual competence of lawyers.
“With the dynamic social, political and economic changes taking place in our society, there is increased demand for legal services that are responsive, innovative and effective.
“I believe that continuing legal education is a vital component of legal education. Legal education does not end once a lawyer is admitted to practice law. Indeed, it begins after admission to practice.
“It is for this reason that the NBA established the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, NBA ICLE. Since inception, it has been organising training programmes and workshops covering various areas of law.”
He commended the council and members of SBL under the leadership of Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, for their commitment and determination.
Governor Fayemi, continuing, said: “Consider the issue of electoral fraud. It distorts the legitimacy of governance.
“When a fraudulently ‘elected’ official, who enters into contracts on behalf of government, signs budgets, incurs wage bills, benefits from the entitlements of the office among others, is later adjudged a beneficiary of electoral fraud, ordinarily the justice system in invalidating his tenure should also render all decisions he took in office ipso facto null and void— but this is not so.”
“One can only imagine the chaos that would result from this postulation. These sorts of criminals govern with impunity because they have no pact with the electorate and fear no punishment. Unfortunately, these brigands who leave a legacy of uncompleted highly inflated contracts, unsustainable agreements with labour and other stakeholders in the society, uncoordinated and poorly articulated policy frameworks among others, are let off without as much as a slap on the wrist.
“ Unfortunately, there are very inadequate provisions in our legal codes for the punishment of electoral robbers and their black sheep collaborators in the legal profession who advise them to further institute ridiculous cases to distract legitimately elected governments. These electoral heists carry heavy reputational and fiscal costs for our people.
“In the eyes of the international community, they certainly do us no favours and only enhance depictions of our country as a place where anything goes. If we are serious about improving investor confidence and our prospects as an emerging economy, we have to do something about this aberration to serve as deterrence to others who might be scheming their way to office through the backdoor.”