Give us new constitution, Afe Babalola tells Fagbemi
• I didn’t lobby for ministerial appointment, says Attorney General
Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, has urged the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, to help build a new Nigeria by bringing about a new constitution, where politics would no longer be regarded as a transactional business.
According to the legal icon, the new constitution, hopefully, “shall mandate political office holders to treat their offices as avenues for rendering service to the people and not for making money and de-emphasising politics as lucrative business.”
Babalola, who stated this at the weekend at ABUAD campus in Ado Ekiti at the reception in honour of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, said: “This is why many Nigerians, including my humble self, have been urging the government to tackle the fundamental structures that have caused the inequality and poverty in the country.”
He noted that tackling the distressing and unhealthy N87 trillion debt inherited by the current government could go beyond scratching the surface of the fundamental problems besetting the country.
“It is a common saying that when a person inherits suffocating debt, he does not only lose his sleep, he cannot plan for any capital investment. While the government may be studying the situation, the truth is that Nigerians are becoming more and more impatient. The age-long adage is that we should not treat leprosy with drugs meant for scabies. I repeat that what we need is a new constitution.
“Fagbemi is a pride to the chambers. He had learnt how to turn things around. I believe that with his experience, he can turn things around and build a new Nigeria through a new constitution under which politics shall no longer be regarded as a transactional business.”
In his remarks, Fagbemi said he never lobbied to be a minister under the current administration, saying he was taken by surprise on the processes that led to his nomination.
“I have accepted, what I now need is advice. We can’t say that we don’t like the way they do things and leave them, we have to be involved even though I am not a politician.
“I don’t want to just savour the encomiums of today without looking at the flipside. The flipside is the challenge the appointment and the office has posed.
“The issues before the country are not a one-man thing. People have the wrong impression that it is the Federal Government alone. We must appreciate the fact that Nigeria is a Federation and when you talk of a federation, each has to man its post.”
The event was attended by the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, some senior lawyers and judges, including Chief Adeniyi Akintola, former Minister of Justice, Chief Akin Olujimi among others.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.