William Faulkner once said, “We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
The country Nigeria is a product of what is perceived to have been a forceful marriage conducted by her British colonial masters granted her independence on the 1st of October 1960 thereby allowing the country have control over her political, economic and social life.
The term Bar, the Legal Profession, which has evolved into a more professional and advanced field, has played an important role in the country and around the world, as an advisor, an upholder of the rights of common people and as a defendant of the course of justice.
The legal profession is often referred to as a Noble Profession. This is because it often acts for noble causes for the common people and the very basic foundation of this profession is noble.
Susan Rice states, “Well, Nigeria has played a constructive role in peacekeeping in various parts of West Africa. But unless and until Nigeria itself is democratic and respects human rights, it too may well be a source of much greater instability as political repression limits the ability of the people of Nigeria to achieve their full potential.
Nation-building aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run.
The rule of law is the heart and soul of our democracy and overtime and by available statistics the rule of law has not been observed and followed.
The law is a means to an end – Justice, and where this is being defeated, automatically there is no significant role the law plays in ensuring nation building, because without it, there cannot be a viable justice system.
Looking at the aforementioned, it should be the practice that lawyers as ministers in the temple of justice have a significant role to play: they have from desist from the following things; filing frivolous applications, employing delayed tactics to frustrate cases and the host of other things lawyers do in court that today.
Poor governance and corruption have a tragic impact on national development, thereby undermining the supremacy of law, which is a by-product of the rule of law.
The Role of the Bar
The Role of the bar in Nigeria can not be overemphasized; reason being that the bar composed of the lawyers are ministers in the temple of justice.
Building a nation is intrinsically subservient to the bedrock of good governance which is controlled by the rule of law.
By the Rules of Professional Conduct, “A lawyer shall at all times do justice”.
Lord Denning said “As an advocate he (a Barrister) is a minister of justice equally with a judge”. The Bar is representative and carrier of the rule of law for Nation building. The Bar is the custodian of the law. They are the potential lawmakers, they understand the core and intent of legislation.
Section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, envisages the judicial organ, which states, lawyers and judges are meant to interpret the laws.
The role of the Bar is the essential and a requisite incentive for Nation building. In otherwords, the Bar plays a very crucial role in Nation building.
The creative power of lawyers is to ensure the laws are in line with justice. No nation can outlast or persevere without law.
Laws are made to resolve disputes, protect the liberties and rights of the grieved and maintain order, which is nation building. It shows the indispensable role of the Bar.
Lawyers play a sensitive role in fostering social peace by harnessing the law in a way that reciprocates to the basic requirements of justice. Lawyers acting as university lecturers and teachers are a boost to our educational system. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.
Finally, the role of the Bar with the fundamental principle of upholding and observing rule of law, promoting the cause of justice and maintaining high standards of professional conduct align in capable ways as they act as vital tools for nation building. The role of the Bar is critical in Nation Building.
Olisakwe Precious Ifeoma is a legal researcher and law student of Enugu State University Of Science And Technology. She has special interest in Artificial intelligence, international Human Right Law, ADR, Space Law, Technology Law and Maritime Law.