Don't Waver In Defending Justice, Judicial Autonomy, VP Shettima Tells Lawyers

*** Says President Tinubu's hands-off approach has strengthened democracy

Vice President Kashim Shettima has urged Nigerian lawyers to be unwavering in their defense of the rule of law, justice, and judicial autonomy, saying these pillars are crucial for sustaining the nation's democratic ideals.

VP Shettima made the call on Saturday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during the 30th anniversary celebration of Yusuf Ali & Co., a prominent law firm owned by renowned legal luminary, Malam Yusuf Ali (SAN) (Ghalib Chambers).

Delivering his keynote address titled, "Justice, Truth, and Our Divergent Pursuits of the Ideal Political System," the Vice President applauded President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's non-interference in election proceedings that favoured opposition parties, as well as his refusal to weaponize state instruments to protect perceived allies on trial.

"This commitment to the principle of separation of powers binds us. We shall continue to adhere to it. We shall trust you [lawyers] to do your part in the service of the nation," he said.

The Vice President noted that President Tinubu's hands-off approach has strengthened Nigeria's democracy, setting a precedent for future administrations to uphold the independence of the judiciary.

He urged legal practitioners to emulate this ethos, asserting that true lawyers are those who meticulously prepare for court, argue based on facts and legal principles, and courageously challenge injustice wherever it exists.

The VP extolled the virtues of Yusuf Ali & Co., lauding its unwavering commitment to the principles of justice over the past three decades.

He described the firm as a bastion of excellence, resisting compromise under both military and democratic regimes. "Malam Yusuf O. Ali and his esteemed partners have stood firm because of their unyielding commitment to the lofty ideals of justice," VP Shettima said.

He also highlighted the Federal Government's recent legal action to ensure full financial autonomy for local governments, referring to it as a convergence that should be prioritised in realising an ideal federal system.

He urged lawyers to be ethically committed to the pursuit of justice, deeming it crucial for a functional tripartite system.

"Without that sacrifice, we are all bound for a doom from which we may never recover," VP Shettima cautioned, praising Yusuf Ali & Co.'s enduring legacy as a testament to the immortality of truth and justice.

Earlier, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwola, who was the Chairman of the occasion, praised the celebrant, Prof Yusuf Ali, for excelling in his chosen profession, as well as defending the less privileged in the society.

Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, commended the celebrant for contributing a lot to the legal profession in Nigeria.

He commended Prof Ali's hard work and show of integrity.

Also, the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who was represented by his Deputy, Kayode Alabi, used the opportunity to praise President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for introducing his Renewed Hope Agenda, which he said is improving the lives of Nigerians.

"I hereby call on all Nigerians to support our dear President, who is ready to improve our quality of life through the Renewed Hope Agenda," he said.

The Governor further thanked the President for promoting separation of powers and judicial reforms.

Guest Speaker at the event, former Lagos State Governor and Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, advocated for the continuation of Nigeria's presidential system of government.

He said those calling for the return of parliamentary rule in Nigeria, have no reason to do so because it had failed Nigerians in the past.

"I therefore express my strong support for Presidential system, with the current federal structure that we have," he added.

According to the former Governor, "Any democracy, be it parliamentary or presidential, needs an educated society, for it to thrive. That will also help the people to know the rules of the game."

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