Day Magna Curia Stood Still For Bola Ajibola

By Idris Katib

The faculty of law of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, stood still for the former judge of the world court in The Hague and the Proprietor, Crescent University, Abeokuta,Judge Bola Ajibola at its seventh memorial lecture.

The Conference Centre,venue of the seventh edition of the public lecture stood with a loud ovation to honour the former attorney-general and minister of justice who served for six years, three months, twenty days, one and a half hours in that capacity,arguably a feat no serving Nigerian has superseded, both in the present and the past.

Accolades were showered on the international jurist who was reported as having hired, during his tenure as Minister of Justice, additional members of staff whom he was paying from his pocket apart from sacrificing 40% of his monthly salaries to the coffers of the federal government; 25% to the Nigerian Bar Association and 40% to charitable/humanitarian organisations in demonstration of sterling leadership.

Thus, students of the Faculty of Law of Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-Ife, has, close to a decade, adopted His Excellency,Judge Bola Ajibola as its ambassador of legal and academic inspiration for future generations of Nigeria's compatriots. Judge Ajibola was also reported to have sold off all his assets both in his country and abroad to establish Crescent University,Abeokuta to contribute his quota to a widening access to education in Nigeria.

Speaking on the topic " True Federalism: A Panacea to the Economic Crisis in Nigeria", the gust lecturer, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Lagos, Abiola Sanni hypothesized that " in troubled times such as this, one would expect the government to tweek the tax policy, law and administration in order to give a new lease of life".

Explaining key concepts such as economic problem, taxing power, fiscal federalism, multiplicity of taxes and double taxation, Dr Sanni copiously remarked that a true federalism could not do without these key variables, noting that taxing power as an attribute of sovereignty which needs to be expressly conferred, is the power of government to raise revenue through taxes within the limits of its jurisdiction.

Dr Sanni advocated that " the interest of Nigeria and taxpayers will be better served with the adoption of a simple tax system compared to the current one which is undoubtedly made for a far more sophisticated literate society with higher tax culture".

Dr Sanni submitted that although all societies faced the economic problem of how to make use of limited resources to meet their objectives, " economic problem in the context of Nigeria is lack of efficient allocation of functions and resources among the tiers of government". He stressed that this resulted in concentration of powers and resources in the centre, thereby promoting waste, corruption, lack of transparency and the impoverishment of the nation and its people", submitting that Nigeria's economic problem was to a large extent a function of the current unsustainable system of government.

In his address, the chairman of the occasion, Dr Adereti Ademakinwa, representing Chief Alex Duduyemi, lauded the faculty of law for providing the platform for both town and gown to discuss issues of common interest. He emphasised that the faculty had charted a course to produce more of Ajibolas in the society.

The Dean of Faculty of Law, Prof. Ademola Popoola said the lecture had been a source of inspiration as well as academic rendezvous to both staff and students of the faculty.

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, represented by Provost of Post-Graduate College, Prof. CT Akanbi said he was elated to be at the lecture, noting that Magna Curia Chambers had put the right peg in the right hole by its choice of Judge Ajibola.

The president of the chamber, Okwuoha Uche Raphael described the essence of the lecture as " to educate great Nigerians and to enrich and feed our intellects with adequate information and knowledge about developments in our society through law".

Magna Curia, he said, " is the youngest chambers in the faculty of law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, with its motto"redefining the standard of leadership through law".

Raphael acknowledged that apart accepting that the annual lecture be done his name,Judge Ajibola had been supporting the intellectual gathering both financially and morally from inception.