Prince Ajibola, who is the proprietor of the Crescent University, Abeokuta, gave this verdict last Wednesday (April 9, 2014), at a Public Lecture and Launch of a Journal, The Jurist, in his honour. The event was hosted by the University of Ilorin Law Students’ Society.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who is also a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said he had heard and read a lot about the University of Ilorin and when he stepped on the University campus, he was not disappointed at all.
“We congratulate you for having this big University and I am proud to be here to see things for myself,” he said, adding that the nation is always looking forward to the University’s performance. “You are the pride of Nigeria”, he added.
Prince Ajibola pointed out that he was greatly impressed by the “intimidating garden, which you have here. Indeed, this University is one of the largest in the country in terms of expanse of land and buildings. This University is the first on the list in Nigeria in terms of everything. It is the 33rd on the list of universities in Africa and 555th in the world.”
The octogenarian, who is also a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), described the University as a great citadel of learning reputed to be the first in innovation. He, however, charged the University to strive to become number one in Africa and to be actively visible among the best universities in the world.
Prince Ajibola, who was accompanied to Ilorin by a retinue of traditional rulers from his native Owu Kingdom in Ogun State, including the paramount ruler, the Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosumu, thanked the Law students for the great honour done him.
In his lecture on the occasion, the Guest Speaker, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, disagreed with the notion that the judiciary was the last hope of the poor in the country, pointing out that the poor cannot afford legal services in the country as the judiciary is structured to favour the rich.
The legal luminary, who spoke on the theme, “An Appraisal of the Role of the Judiciary in the Entrenchment of Rule of Law in Nigeria”, lamented that the culture of corruption, which has not spared the judiciary, could lead to judicial anarchy if the situation is not arrested.
Mr. Aturu stressed that the culture of impunity in the nation is alien to a country under the rule of law. He noted that corruption in the judiciary is systemic, suggesting that all the stakeholders must team up to address the problem.
The Guest Lecturer recommended that cases of corruption should be tried within six months just like electoral cases, stressing that this would go a long way in tackling the problem of corruption in the country.
The Chairman of the occasion, Hon. Justice Dahiru Musdapher, retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, admonished the students to emulate the honouree. He said, “I believe our young Law students and lawyers seated here should strive to emulate the honouree’s life because it is one that radiates and epitomizes the ideal life of a lawyer or what the life of a lawyer should be.”
Justice Musdapher told the students never to forget that “integrity, hard work, discipline coupled with high moral standards are the keys to a successful life as a lawyer.”
In his address, entitled “Great Expectations”, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, observed that all vices and evils that are common in the country could be traced to the weakness of the rule of law. He said that without the rule of law, a society becomes lawless. He said therefore that it is the responsibility of the legal experts, the bench and the bar, to save the society from sinking.
Prof. Ambali told the legal experts, “When people are killed with impunity, when armed robbers operate in the day and at night, when innocent people are kidnapped while seeking their daily livelihood or even inside their houses and end up in Soka forest, for example, when people die because they are seeking a job, when prostitution is rife and evil people establish baby factories; our great expectations are justice, order and the rule of law. Our great expectations, like Charles Dickens’ own, are that there will be eventual triumph of good over evil, that order will overcome disorder and that the rule of law will replace the rule of impunity and insecurity.”
The Ag. Dean of the Faculty of Law, Dr. Yusuf I. Arowosaiye, in his welcome address, explained that the conception of the idea of a student-based journal in the Faculty of Law of the University was borne out the vision of the founding fathers of the Faculty to provide an academic platform for the students to develop writing and editing skills.
Dr. Arowosaiye added that the Journal would also help the students in expressing their views on any legal matter, and would serve as an avenue to celebrate men and women who have given a good account of themselves in the development of legal jurisprudence, legal education, practice and administration of justice.
Among those who attended the programme were the former Inspector General of Police, Chief Sunday Adewusi; another traditional ruler from Owu, Oba Obafemi Ogunleye; Chief Brown Akinpelu and Chief Akin Ogunmakinde, also from Owu; Chief Olufolake Solanke, the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali (SAN), the Vice-Chancellor of the Crescent University, Abeokuta, Professor A. Okeleye; and the Registrar of Crescent University, Abeokuta, Mr. Ademola Ajibola, as well as Principal Officers, Deans and Directors of the University of Ilorin.