*We’re Proposing The Establishment Of Office Of The Public Defender, Says Makinde
A former governor of Imo State, Sen. Rochas Okorocha, gave the admonition in Ibadan while speaking at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Spidel annual conference, held at Jogor Centre, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Speaking on the theme: “The Imperatives of Public Interest in Governance in Nigeria,” Okorocha noted that poverty ravaging the citizens of Nigeria has become devastating, as it has grown to its climax.
According to him, the high rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria is sending a signal that the Nigerian state is sitting on a time bomb that could explode at any point in time if the menace is not quickly addressed.
He equally advised the government to rule based on people’s interest and devoid of personal interest.
His words: “The blame game must stop, leaders must take responsibility. This nation is ours, it makes it incumbent on us to take responsibility.”
“There is a co-relationship between poverty and insecurity. For as long as these two issues are not holistically addressed, there is no way out,” Okorocha observed.
On his part, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who declared the conference opened, said the role of public interest is crucial in achieving good governance.
Makinde said: “The Role of Public Interest in Governance in Nigeria. Today in Nigeria, everyone wants good governance. But the methods of achieving it seem to keep eluding us. When it comes to the relationship between public interest and governance, things get even trickier.”
“For example, getting the balance right regarding availability of information in the public interest and classified information that should not be in the public domain. We are living in an age where people are demanding more from those in authority. Citizens are calling for greater transparency and accountability, and they are demanding more inclusiveness. I hope that we would have moved several steps closer to finding that balance at the end of your deliberations.”
“I will refer to one of the actions our administration has taken to defend public interest and make legal aid available to indigent citizens. Our Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Oyelowo Oyewo, transmitted an executive bill to the Oyo State House of Assembly proposing the establishment of the Office of the Public Defender.”
(Cambridge University Press, January, 2021) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, FCIArb, Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti
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