LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

BEING A REPORT ON THE NATIONAL STUDENTS’ LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY. ILE-IFE 2017.

INTRODUCTION

All my life I have wished that life was a perfect event, where everything fitted in and was in place without unnecessary breaches, hitches just like the day and the night which both come in consistent succession.

That life will always turn out like our fairly tales and that disappointment, mistakes and errors are no part of human existence. but oh! how wrong I was, for nothing can ever be perfect.

Being a pessioptimist, I expect the best without looking sight of the worst because concomitantly, they will provide us with an experience that is both factual and real. 

On this day, I am highly delighted to be experiencing first hand a very real life event. an event that will greatly transform my own definition of perfect! it is OAU National legislative conference 2017. An interesting event which is a proceed of hardwork and resilience as I have never known especially amongst law students. For me, it was something more!

Life would have been a perfect circle if not for the frailty of our human persons, our inherent imperfections and incapacities that robs us an ideal existence as full, whole and complete humans.

However, in Ife for the first time in a long while, am seeing something closer to perfection and I tagged it ‘Academic cum educational perfection’ and from here I will pick a coal of fire to my own domain and lighten my space, I will lit the fire and let the flames of rebirth burn and glow in the dark abyss of indifference, ignorance and lackluster approach to matters of utmost importance like an academic conference of this magnitude, bringing together from every part of the country, great minds, scholars, distinguished ladies and gentlemen who has made a mark in the field of academics, politics, media, law etc. This is a wholesome experience!

They turned out en masse to witness an occasion which will go a long way to rebrand, reform, and renew who they have always been. perfection may truly be impossible but working towards perfection is the most possible thing on earth and that is exactly what I will continue to do as always from onwards. As I will always say, ‘It can only get better’

I came to a university where their Motto is :relentlessly pursuing Academic and cultural excellence. and this can be readily seen in their organised structure of things and places. billboards of programs, conferences littered the landscape and the atmosphere was somewhat charged for nothing less than ‘zealous to learn phenomenon’ which endeared me to an institution up in the south western coast of Nigeria, West of Sahara.

Mention must be made of their intimidating Architecturally sophisticated buildings and faculty complexes artistically spread on a hilly topography which makes commuting an ascending journey into the sky. a replica of the citadel of learning which is exemplified on the ‘book stairs’. an advanced institution housing both a museum and a zoo. a multi religious, cultural institution of learning populated by both Christian, Muslims and traditionalists.

Their attachment to their roots and beliefs is admirable and I was challenged by their humility, respect and reverence for themselves. bowing, prostrating and jovially engaging themselves in enthusiastic exchange of pleasantries. A beauty to behold!

After the invitation arrived for this conference, I made it a duty to attend and see how it is done across the Niger! as Walter Rodney pointed out in his book ‘how Europe under developed Africa’ That what gave the whites supremacy over us was their courage to leave their comfort zone and cross the sea irrespective of  all dangers to find us over here. a task we ourselves will be unwilling to undertake. that was exactly what I have done, going for this Conference As my affinity to Academics remains unflinching.

THE REPORT. 

The 2017 National legislative conference was preceded by a motorcade a day before the conference proper. a sensitization and awareness program which was billed to remind students in every nook and crany of the institution, that the long awaited conference is finally here. an activity I graciously joined in community with a host of law students who trooped out in a solidarity March with the organizers of the conference. after which We were duly lodged as delegates and properly attended to.

Prior to the conference, I was billed to submit and present a paper which was also to be published in the ‘Mace magazine’,  I  presented a paper on leadership which is a topic am endeared to, culled from the Academic blog, www.legalideasforum.com an article presented  by our beloved student Michael which was tagged ‘THE DYNAMICS OF LEADERSHIP :CHECKLIST FOR ASPIRING LEADERS’  as published in page 10 of the   ‘Mace Magazine’. the presentation which was largely a success. And a copy of that magazine has been made available at the law Library for all law students who wishes to read it. or visit  https://www.legalideasforum.com/2017/09/the-dynamics-of-leadershipchecklist-for_14.html?m=1

On the day of the Conference, the usual registeration of delegates took off as students, lecturers, dignitaries began to pour in for the conference. we were given the conference materials ranging from the Tag, the conference file, the conference note book, pen and the magazine.

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The opening remarks was made by Dr. Yusuff Akorede. lecturer, faculty of law OAU. who expressed optimism “that the conference will bring to fore his dreams, that the country Nigeria will be great again. and that the little time spent, will lead us to the right direction”.

on this note, the conference tagged:BUILDING AND SUSTAINING VIABLE YOUTHS FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT:THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENTARIANS. was declared open.

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The first speaker Comrade Jude Feronmi the youth leader of Kowa Party took to the stage. these were his words.

The truth is that we are not a lost generation as many are pressured to believe. and we are  leaders of today and not tomorrow’

He defined the concept ‘youth’ where he pointed out that we seat at the helms of power but rarely use our privileges to influence positive change but rather stoop to be mediocres. however, he stated that the youths of Nigeria cannot be underestimated as exemplified in 2012 when they staged a massive protest against the removal of fuel subsidy under the then president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. and the recent ‘resume or resign protest’  against president Buhari’s long absence from Nigeria on grounds of medical incapacitation.

He argued that ‘every generation must identify their mission as a people and must either decide to fulfill it or betray it’ . 

In the 1940’s, the youths of that generation fought against colonial imperialism.
In the 1960’s, They fought for  independence from colonialism.
In 1970’s, They fought against military rule and dictatorship.

This is the 21st century, and the youths of this generation is faced with a great challenge! will they fight it?

Presently, we run a system of governance, where it is the ‘Rule of/by the rich’ who are also in control of the mob and are reverenced by the great majority of the common people who suffer great deprivation because of them. and that is the battle for the 21st century youths. to fight against social imbalance, the widening economic gap between the haves and the haves not and money based politics.

He observed that students constitute a greater percentage of voters in Nigeria And with their number, they can influence decisions in Nigeria. one amongst them is the 6% budget allocation for education in Nigeria whereas in Kenya 22% is invested in education yearly. and that is so with some other African countries.

He summarized his speech with a statement made by the 44th president of The USA. Barrack Obama. “That even in the face of great impossiblities, those who love their country will take up the challenge to change it” .

On this note he charged the Nigerian youths to take up the challenge to change Nigeria for the better.
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A KEYNOTE SPEAKER 
Engr. Y. Y SANNI. chairman of the ACTION DEMOCRATIC PARTY (ADP)
Took the stage to deliver his paper. a speech that centered basically on politics and electoral process and its vital role in Nation building. the paper reads thus-

Politics affects all other sectors of the society, it is the most important business.”

The colonial era was marked with strict resistance to political freedom however, due to recent democratization of the entire world, politics has taken its rightly place of pride. and political parties, especially in Nigeria has been mushrooming here and there and most times when they finally get power, they betray public trust reposed in them. however, it must be pointed out that political parties are of utmost importance in driving a thriving society which can only be a reality where there is a multi party system, where the electorates decide which party judging from their party manifestos will take on the wheels of leadership.

If the party system is marked by consensus and Cooperation, there will be a greater social change. however, where it is marked by conflicts and polarization as we have in Nigeria, there will rarely be any development for a long sustained period.

He pointed out that vision, Roadmap, capacity, competence, credibility are the 5 cardinal parameters of good governance.

The aspect of party system is inextricably linked to the prevailing political culture of a country. moreso, the principles of fairness, natural justice, and internal democracy should mark a viable political setting.

Mere antagonism and lack of consolidated engagements between all principal participants in politics deprives us all the ideal political existence we all crave for.

The unending reign of a single individual and political party in Africa and in Nigeria has stultified the growth of the continent as historical evidence shows. where opposition is silenced, the rule of anarchy is unpreventable.

Sadly, political parties in Nigeria has always gotten power either by rigging or winning but which ever way, the constraints of electoral fairness hinders the country from being governed by purpose driven political parties.

INEC as the umpire of electoral process in Nigeria should rise to the mandate and provide Nigeria with free and fair election, the purpose for which it is formed.

Democracy in a heterogeneous society like ours when laced with multiparty system and opposition will guarantee for a new and prosperous Nigeria where impunity will be visited with grave repercussions.

On this note, he advised Nigerian youths to get involved in politics. which he called. ‘the most serious business’ as it affects every sector of life and economy. and one must be actively involved or bear the risk of suffering under the yoke of incompetent decisions made by people who find themselves privileged to make them.

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INTERLUDE.

Barr. Ifedayo Olaonipekun (Fmr. speaker LSRC OAU.)

Delivering his speech stated that the role of lawmakers in shaping the society we all want cannot be underestimated and that this conference promises to influence Us all to be  better law makers, which will positively drive change, growth and development.

He opined that, ‘for any leader to get its country to its desired destination, he must be a man of wisdom and intelligence. He stated that this task has been left for the youths of this present generation as recent situations indicate that our fore bearers and fathers are failing in the task to make Nigeria a great nation. 

He concluded by saying that the youth of this generation must be-
HONEST
SELFLESS 
WISE
to achieve the change impact and ensure a great nation ruled by young people.

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KEYNOTE SPEAKER 
CHIEF SAM NDA-ISAIAH 
(publisher, Leadership newspaper and former presidential aspirant)

He started with a statement on the marble!

We may have lost our past, we may be struggling with the present. but we should never lose an opportunity to save the future” 

Unfortunately, we have a country where business people are not the richest but those who occupy political offices. whereas the opposite should be the case.

We are among the few countries of the word that did not achieve any meaningful progress with the oil boom. consequently because, we lack vision driven leadership like they have in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Kuwait and other countries that has oil as its major export product.

It therefore calls on the youth to be interested in the political process and for Nigeria to escape the economic dangers facing it, the youths must pick up governance as the future lies on their shoulder. It is a misnomer to stay out of our own governance, we must be interested in politics if not, politics will be interested in us and will surely find us anywhere we are. either leaving us for good or miserable. nothing will be achieved when we sit and do nothing. for nation building , the youths must be actively involved.

The youths must know that there are no hand out jobs. so they must have to create their own space, choose the person they want to be sooner than later and become creators of employment and not seekers of good job.

He quoted president Kennedy of the United States who stated ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’

He encouraged Nigerian youths to be law abiding,speak positively of Nigeria, diligent in studies and create economic opportunities for themselves and believe in her bright future. he admonished that “The person who says it’s possible and the person who says it’s impossible are both right but  choose the person you want to be”. 

He went further to state that the next best time to start being the best of who we are is today and that “you must be laser-focused to succeed as there is nobody that has succeeded in any endeavour without a laser focus on it”. 

His speech was basically centered on inspiring the youths of this nation to become the captains of their lives, to get involved for change. with his brief narrative of the story of ‘Jack Ma’ one of china’s richest men, he charged the participants never to lose faith even in the face of obstacles.

INTERLUDE

A POEM was presented by kareemat Adebode which she tagged “for the children”
A POEM that is centered on the refugee crisis faced all around the world in war torn places and countries. and the travails of children living in those nations.

for the children who live their lives behind the walls, 
stinking with pain and despair”

she concluded with a second poem
‘prayers for a fallen nation’
which attracted her a standing ovation. it was a poem which decried the state of the nation, the bombings, the kidnaps, the agitations and economic mismanagement that has befallen Nigeria.

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KEYNOTE SPEAKER 
OBA RASHEED ADEWALE AKANBI, THE OLUWO OF IWO LAND. 

A firebrand orator and colorful royalty took to the stage to address the participants. at the chant of kabiyesi o. the crowd stood and bowed in respect, honour and obeisance to his imperial majesty, the royal father of the day.

He brought us greetings from the kingdom and welcomed us all to Ile-ife by giving us a historical account of how Oduduwa came to settle therein ages ago and against the background of chaos, conflict and crisis, he choosed to call the place Ile-ife meaning ‘The home of love’  and from then onwards, peace reigned supreme in the Yoruba kingdom. and coincidentally, the hall for the conference is named after the progenitor of the Yoruba race. ‘Oduduwa’

He started his speech by saying. “If you call yourself a leader and say nothing, change nothing, then you are not a leader. a leader must be willing to change a retrogressive past to embrace a bright future” 

He pointed out that Nigeria has failed in the aspect of nation building especially because of its failed leadership. he was of the view that any leader who does not want to stamp out corruption should not be voted as ‘corruption is GENOCIDAL’  a leader must be willing to question and challenge the status quo and reject any anti people policy no matter how admirable it appears.

He stated that the 21st century economy should aspire towards Industrialization and infrastructural development as against agriculture. it must be fully engaged in outsourcing to be able to meet with the competitiveness of world’s present economic arrangement.

He complained about the inability of University graduates getting a well paid employment opportunities as against the past where a secondary school certificate could aim one a house, a car and other necessary amenities of living. he decried the growing decline of importance placed on academics as masters degree holders and even PhD holders most times have nothing to write home about.

He however went further to criticize the continued worship of fetish gods by the Yoruba people which most times demand the sacrifice of young innocent men and women. and he ended by saying that an enlightenment Act as promulgated in Britain in 1732 should be adopted in Nigeria to ban myths, superstitions, secret cult, witchcraft, socerery, and wizardry.

CONCLUSION

The conference was capped with award of excellence and recognition conferred on the keynote speakers and dignitaries that graced the occasion.

What more can I say, the conference has really come to pass but the lessons, the information and awakening therein shall continue to live externally in the minds of all participants.

“The best day to start being the best of who we are is today”, this line from chief Isa Nda Isaiah continues to reverberate in my subconscious, as I look forward to being the best of who I am.

we crowned the experience with a tour around the school the next day, visited some of it historical sites and the zoo as well. it was to me a wholesome event.!

Thank you for reading this report.

RT. HON NJOKUDAVIDCHIBUEZE 
SPEAKER LAWSA HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 
(Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State)

For knowledge and Justice

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