….Harps on democratisation and human rights
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Sokoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Bello Tambuwal has harped on the need for African Lawyers to fight against arbitrary exercise of power by elected leaders in the continent.
Tambuwal gave the advice yesterday when he delivered a keynote address at the 2020 Virtual Conference organised by the African Bar Association (AfBA) in Niamey, Niger Republic.
The Governor specifically challenged Lawyers in the continent to lead to ensure that right policies are put in place, to engender effective business support, capacity building, imbibe technology and product innovation and access to sufficient financing of small and medium enterprises.
This, he reasoned, would improve employment generation, enhance productivity, and promote social inclusion.
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, maintained that this is the time to insist that every State in Africa must be governed according to the wishes of the people and dictates of the Constitution.
Democracy, he declared, promotes political inclusiveness and rule of law.
In the words of Tambuwal, “As lawyers, who are trained to promote the rule of law and ensure that the society is governed in accordance with the laws, we have a bounden responsibility to speak out on the side of the people.
“For far too long, our continent has continued to lag on all known indices of human development.
“Yet after over 60 years, after political independence, Africa ought to have made the desired impact.
Regrettably, we have continued to wallow in economic underdevelopment”, he said.
Speaking further at the conference which has the theme, “Resetting Africa`s Socio-Economic and Political Agenda in Post Covid-19 Era”, Tambuwal said, “Given the fact that no meaningful progress has been made since, after the political decolonization of the continent, there is the need for us to reset the agenda to align with the current socio-economic and political realities. And as Lawyers, how can we lead?
“The new political agenda, in my considered view, should focus on democratisation and human rights.
“The rule of strong men and military dictatorship which was the hallmark of leadership for an exceptionally long time in our continent did not lead to sustainable progress.
“It never advanced the fortunes of our people. Rather, it took us several years back without any meaningful development to show for it.
“The world has moved on with democracy and rule of law especially in this age of globalization. We cannot afford to be left behind.
“This is the time to insist that every State in Africa must be governed according to the wishes of the people and dictates of the Constitution. Democracy promotes political inclusiveness and rule of law.
“We must, therefore, say No to arbitrariness in governance. Given our training as lawyers, we are better positioned to fight against arbitrary exercise of power by elected leaders in the continent.
“Lawyers must also lead to ensure right policies are put in place, to engender effective business support, capacity building, imbibe technology and product innovation and access to sufficient financing of small and medium enterprises so as to improve employment generation, enhance productivity, and promote social inclusion.
> “Macro-economic objectives of any nation such as job creation, mobilization of local resources, ease of doing business; rural urban drift and poverty alleviation cannot be realized without supporting and improving the capacities and competitiveness of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises nay the growth and development of the nations’ economy”, he said.
> While noting that coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19, has dealt a heavy blow to the efforts made by the continent towards integration and harmony, Tambuwal said, “How we respond as a continent will determine how quickly we will get back on track, failure of which we risk reversing the gains achieve over the years”.
> He added, “This presents an opportunity for the continent to recommit itself to the path of sustainable development goals. African lawyers must lead, must strive to make Africa a free a democratic, continent, a just and egalitarian society, and a land full of opportunities for citizens”.