By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
Legal Icon and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA),Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has stressed the need for the practice of true federalism and democracy as designed to pave way for the expected development of the country.
The legal luminary lamented that only Nigeria has been resisting true federalism among the nations of the world practising democracy, describing this untoward development as an aberration and reason why Nigeria has remained undeveloped.
He however, aligned himself with the call by the state governors that Nigeria must use the opportunity of Constitution Amendment to get the nation fully federalised and democratised.
The eminent lawyer also attributed the stalemate being experienced by the passage of the amendment bill in some states to the governors’ insistence that the state police must be approved for subnational stratum, to curb insurgency, killings and kidnapping of Nigerians.
Olanipekun spoke in his Ikere- Ekiti country home on Saturday, while presenting over N30 million cash gifts to students, youth, aged and widows, to mark the 2022 edition of Wole Olanipekun Scholarship and Empowerment Schemes.
Speaking on the state of the nation, Olanipekun said; “We are having this stalemate in the Constitution Amendment because some governors expressed reservations that they will only accept the passage if state police is approved. That is, something like state autonomy.
“I support the governors on this. Nigeria is the only country that practices democracy, where we have only one Police Formation being controlled from Abuja, and this is failing us, this is wronging the system.
“Let us look at our land mass from Calabar to Kaura Namoda, from Bayelsa to Borno, how can it be secured by only the federal police? Look at the size of the Southwest, can it be policed by only federal Police? Even in Lagos alone, it is wrong to have only one Police formation.
“Let us look at London, it has London Metropolitan Police. Havard University alone has Havard University Police Department. Looking at all these, why are we different? Why are our people like this? Why are they failing to allow Nigeria to be fully federalised and democratized?
“Even in the legal profession, we are facing a lot of challenges that started under Gen Sani Abacha’s era. Abacha took all the juridisdictional powers of the State High Courts to the Federal High Courts through Decree 7 of 1994. That was the beginning of the problem we are facing today in Nigeria’s legal profession.
“The jurisdiction of the State High Courts is subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Courts, even when the Federal High Courts were mere revenue courts. This is a jurisdictional fallacy, it can’t work, it has been failing us.
“The governors views were clear. They are not asking for what is utopian, but what ought to be under an ideal democratic situation. So, I align myself totally with the reservations of these governors”.
Olanipekun, who revealed that a total of 1,475 persons had benefited from the scholarship and empowerment schemes as at 2021, urged the youths and students to shun Internet fraud, kidnapping, ritual killing and other vices to safeguard their future.
He said the schemes were conceptualised by him 26 years ago to banish poverty, liberate the people and propel education among the children of the poor.
The legal Icon, urged the new Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji to place high premium priority on the development of the state’s Infrastructure, Education and Internal Security sectors by strenghening Amotekun corps to provide adequate security and rejuvenate the economy.
Lauding the Senior Lawyer for the gesture, Governor Oyebanji, said he was thrilled by the schemes endowed by Olanipekun, promising to replicate similar scheme in his Ikogosi-Ekiti country home to help humanity.
“Government can’t do it alone, I want to appeal to the people of means to help Ekiti to develop education. Whatever you do for humanity is the best. The achievements of any man is measured by the number of those who laugh when his name is mentioned”.
In his lecture titled; “Education, Youth and Community Development’, a Professor of Botany, Prof. Dele Olowokudejo, posited that Nigerian youths can only be productive and shun vices, if they are educationally and technically empowered by governments, corporate bodies and spirited individuals.