The Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, has urged African lawyers to stand up against arbitrary exercise of power by elected leaders in the continent.
Tambuwal, who is also the Chairman Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, gave the advice in his keynote address at the 2020 Virtual Conference organised by the African Bar Association (AfBA) in Niamey, Niger Republic, made available to newsmen in Abuja.
He said it was time to insist that every State in Africa must be governed according to the wishes of the people and dictates of the Constitution.
He also called on African lawyers to ensure that right policies were put in place, to engender effective business support and capacity building.
“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 bounding 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.
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, said that there was need for lawyers to reset the agenda of the continent to align with the current socio-economic and political realities.
He said that was key, given the fact that no meaningful progress had been made since, after the political decolonisation of the continent,
“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 globalisation. 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 that right policies are put in place, to engender effective business support, capacity building, imbibe technology and product innovation.
“Right policies to access sufficient financing of small and medium enterprises so as to improve employment generation, enhance productivity, and promote social inclusion.
Tambuwal said that the macro-economic objectives of any nation could not be realised without supporting and improving the capacities and competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises.
“African lawyers must lead, must strive to make Africa a free, democratic, continent, a just and egalitarian society, and a land full of opportunities for citizens”.
Tambuwal, speaking of the coronavirus pandemic, said that COVID-19 had affected the efforts toward promoting integration and harmony in the continent.
He added that the response of the continent would determine how quickly it would get back on track, saying failure to do respond well would make the continent to risk reversing the gains achieve over the years.
“This presents an opportunity for the continent to recommit itself to the path of sustainable development goals.”