Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, says strict adherence to the rule of law, was the only way to prevent tyranny and oppression in a democracy.
He made this known in Enugu on Monday, while speaking on the topic: “Strengthening the Foundations of Rule of Law in Nigeria,” at a public lecture in honour of the late Prof. George Amadi.
At the lecture, organised by the Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria and the Prof. G. O. S Amadi Foundation at the Moot Court Complex, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Ekweremadu stressed that the rule of law was indispensable in any society that craves for justice, equity, and fairness.
Ekweremadu, an alumnus and former lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Nigeria, noted that the foundation of the rule of law in Nigeria was the 1999 constitution, as amended, stating that to make the foundation strong, Nigerians have a duty and a role to play.
“We must all be ready and willing to live by the spirit and letters of our laws. Much of our problems are not about the laws themselves, but about our disrespect for them,” Ekweremadu said, insisting that Nigerians must imbibe the attitude and culture that places premium on obedience to the rule of law to strengthen its foundations.
Lead by example
The Deputy President of the Senate also called on leaders at all levels to lead by example, saying that it was one sure way to entrench the rule of law in Nigeria.
“It is very clear, therefore, that impunity and lawlessness are contagious. If those at the helms of leadership have no respect for the rule of law, their subordinates are not likely to respect the rule of law also. If they by any means show that the law is meant to catch their opponents and perceived enemies alone, they have unwittingly licensed their purported friends to scorn the rules and break the laws. And certainly, as a leader, you cannot choose which law or court verdict to obey or which to disobey”, he declared.
Drawing from the words of the American statesman and former President, Thomas Jefferson, Ekweremadu maintained that even under the best of leadership, no man was good enough to exercise power outside the dictates of the Constitution or law, as that would amount to an invitation to tyranny and anarchy.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the event, Hon. Justice Peter Umeadi, Chief Judge of Anambra, who described Senator Ekweremadu as “an icon” and a worthy alumnus of the UNN, emphasised the need for strict adherence to the process of arraignment, stating that there is nothing like “Holden Charge” under the Nigerian legal system.
Justice Umeadi said:“The process of arraignment is a strict part of the law. If you don’t observe it, then everything you have done would have been rendered null and void.”