By Evelyn Usman
President—elect of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata, has charged Nigerians to begin to hold leaders at all levels of governance accountable by asking questions bothering on the sustainable development of Nigeria, if the desired transformational change must be achieved.
His assertion was reechoed by former NBA Chairman, Lagos chapter, Adeshina Ogunlana and other prominent lawyers at the first lecture to commemorate the Anti-Land Charge 2018 protest in Lagos.
The lecture, entitled Maximizing the potentials of the enlightenment of the middle class in the struggle for a proper Nigeria: The successful Anti-Lagos State Land Use Charge Law 2018 protests as an exemplar, was organised by the Radical Agenda Movement in the Nigerian Bar Association, RAMINBA, and the Progressive Bar Forum, in Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday.
Akpata said: “Nothing will change in our country if our people don’t ask the right questions, if they don’t challenge those in authority. I am against the paternalistic attitude when those in authority arrogate to themselves of being always right.
‘’Nobody is a monopoly of wisdom. There will always be an alternative opinion. You must agitate for a change to happen. You don’t have to be aggressive or combative, only make your point clear in a tenacious manner.’’
To reduce the tendency of imposed policies from government, the guest lecturer, Richard Akinnola, said there was need for a symbiotic relationship between the ruling class, whom he described as policy makers, and the masses, as well as an enabling environment for civil organisations to present their proposals for policy making and implementation.
Lamenting the upsurge in crime and acts of criminality in the country, Akinola, said: “It’s quite sad that Nigeria is now said to be the poverty capital of the world with insecurity everywhere. We are daily faced with tales of kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry, terrorism, electoral heists and grand corruption.”
Earlier in his welcome address, chairman of RAMINBA, Adeshina Ogunlana explained that the lecture was held to celebrate the success of the protest against the Land Use charge imposed on Lagosians by former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
He commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for reversing the Land Use Charge.