As the lot falls on my learned senior brother Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN to be the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice following the confirmation by the Senate of his nomination by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s led Federal Government there are many expectations from many of us his colleagues and Nigerians as a whole.
By the grace of God Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN will be sworn in on the 21st August 2023 as the Hon Attorney General of the Federation. Let me join other well wishers to congratulate this erudite Senior Advocate of Nigeria of extraordinary legal skills and knowledge.
I know Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN is a legal colossus and a lawyer of lawyers of no means repute. He is not a legal neophyte and he is well grounded in law and logic. No doubts his skills and knowledge stand him out taller than his height and I have no doubt that he is coming to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation with huge reservoir of knowledge and he is well aware about difficulty terrains of the practical realities of the absence of true rule of law in Nigeria.
While being screened by the Senate Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN was at his best in his answers to the senate. He said that it is better to have bad laws operated by good men than having good laws being operated by bad men. That to me is the summary of what we have in Nigeria. That is the summation of what we his colleagues and Nigerians expect to see. He is a good man appointed to the office of Attorney General of the Federation. He must exhibit the character and attributes of a true and patriotic Attorney General.
As my learned senior brother of the inner Bar with immaculate records of good practice I have no doubt about his capability and capacity to discharge the difficult duties of the office of Attorney General of the Federation creditably and in the most professional manner.
This great pan Nigerian of extraordinary huge legal knowledge is going to the office of Attorney General of the Federation at a time where the confidence of the people in the legal profession has gone down considerably in geometric proportions. Huge challenges are ahead of him. One of the immediate challenges he will need to tackle and very fast is how to restore the already lost confidence of Nigerians in the rule of law and due processes in Nigeria. People believe that any goes in Nigeria. Today justice in Nigeria in it’s purest form is an elusive commodity. The poor and those who have no connections believe rightly in my view that it’s earlier for a camel to go through the eyes of a needle than to get justice quicker and faster in Nigeria. Even when judgments are delivered it is difficult to realize the fruits of that judgments. He is going to the office of Attorney General of the Federation when the legal profession is in dare needs of radical reforms. Most of the judgments of our courts are just based on procedural justice or procedural questions rather than judgments that demonstrate scholarship that meets the needs of the vast majority of our people.
He is coming as Attorney General of the Federation at a time when Nigerians seem fed up with their own country. I have no doubts that Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN is patriotic and knowledgeable in legal issues. As the Hon Attorney General he is the chief law officer of the Federation. But as Chief law officer he has an appointor.
I pray for him to have courage to be loyal to the constitution and the code of conduct for legal practitioners in the legal profession and to do what is right and not to be loyal to individuals or group of individuals to the prejudices of the rule of law and due processes. I pray for him to be led by his conscience and and rule of law and not to allowed himself to be used as instrument of persecution in the guise of prosecution.
He has had Immaculate practice over the years. I pray that his new office will add colours and dignity to his already beautiful career. He must look at the recruitment processes to the Bench and ensure that in conjunction and consultations with relevant stake holders merit rather who you know become pivotal in recruitments to the bench.
He must look at the Supreme Court and find ways to decongest that court. Full compliments of the justices of that court with modern equipment for conductive judicial business should be pursued with evangelical commitments.
Our laws must be amended to make access to justice quicker and faster. Execution of judgment must be given practical attention. I suggest a yearly budget to pay judgment debts and special accounts be opened where money budgetted for payments of judgment debts are kept. Our legal education must be fully funded and improved upon. I suggest convocation of stakeholders meetings to set road maps for justice in Nigeria.