Law is the most potent instrument of
class struggle and because laws are made by the ruling
class in order to solidify their class position in
society, the legislative organs of the state are
dominated by powerful dominant groups.
These groups promulgate, amend and tinker with fiscal
legislation, budgets and fiscal reviews, in their own
interests before the people’s interests are addressed,
The crucial issue that would determine our survival as a
Federal or Confederal Republic is our attitude to law
In a study, commissioned by Huron Blue Company Ltd,
Michigan, USA/Abuja in October 2010, the Curatorium of
BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, Abuja, Nigeria examined
the critical factors that could affect our 2011 post
Below are some of our findings.
Our present decadent morality and epicurean disposition
is suicidal and ill-advised.
Our laws are violated with impunity by the very people,
who should enforce them. The law enforcement agencies
are not properly equipped to function with ease, except
an emergency occurs. As soon as human memory is overcast
by other happy events, we lower our guard.
Our lawyers and judges often engage in judicial
theatricals of dealing with preliminary objections,
protracted adjournment s, delayed Motions on Notice,
At the Magistrate Courts, it is glaring that the learned
counsel s and the police prosecutors, stand on a footing
of manifest inequality.
In “free” enterprise societies, the law often favours
the propertied class, bankers, politicians and people
with means. The big thief receives a light sentence,
while the common petty thieves receive the full weight
of the law.
The blind-folded lady with the symbolic sword manages to
see through her blind-fold, when a personality of sorts
is in the dock.
The judges have already pleaded that under the present
arrangement, the Courts of Law and the Courts of Justice
are difficult to separate from one another.
The mysteries of man-made law are unfolded in Law
Schools and academies, with rigour and great energy.
Those who persevere to the end and go all the way, wear
the lawyers robe and are regarded as learned.
Law is not taught to everyone. Yet, there is the maxim
that says that “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”
Since my first year at law school, I have opposed this
antiquated legal maxim, just like I have disagreed with
the Common law doctrine that the “King can do no wrong”,
even when the people had reasons to decapitate the
I think that law should be taught to all citizens. It is
after such tutorship that the state can hold delinquents
W. Friedmann wrote that “The Romans laid the foundation
of modern analytical jurisprudence, but their
contribution to legal philosophy has been slight. What
there is of it is mainly eclectic and secondhand, such
as the writings of Cicero and Seneca.”
In the same vein, one can say that the Nigerian legal
system is based, to a large extent, on alien English
law, with relevant modifications and adaptations to suit
the demands of Nigeria, as an independent, sovereign,
Federal Republic of the Confederal genre.
I lament that out of the ninety branches of law that
exist and are taught in developed states, Nigerian Law
Schools seem to have retained those subjects, which
their British trained law teachers laboriously learnt at
the Inns and faculties of law in England and to which
they do not wish to add any new didactic horrors.
This escapist route proves counterproductive, when our
law students go abroad and are shocked to see what is
required of them to qualify for higher degrees.
At BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, we have been
assisting law students (free of charge) to advance their
legal education through seminars, essay-writing and
discussions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The growth of our constitutional law is often handcuffed
by judgments that do not sketch the jurisprudential
merits of the legal issues being canvassed.
I sat through the prolonged delivery of the judgment in
the Yar’aduaVs Buhari case in 2008.. The judgment
remains a judicial fabrication in the service of
Subsequent judgments have been imbued with judicial
Law is a regulator of socio-political, economic and
cultural behavior, which took its relevance from the Ten
Commandments, the Avesta, the Laws of Hammurabi, the
Laws of Manu, the Code of Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar
(now Malagasy, Roman law, Norman Law etc.
Every society needs legal norms, its own jurisprudence,
which is aimed at societal control, in order to maintain
societal peace and correct delinquents and mal-adjusted
citizens, when they err.
There are many branches of law, which cannot be
discussed in this small space, because we must respect
the editorial convenience of the publisher.
It will also be inappropriate to delve into legal
theory, even though Radbruch wrote that its task is “the
clarification of legal values and postulates up to the
ultimate of their philosophical foundations”.
Morality is imbedded in the consciousness of what is
just and proper, what is adjudged as right or wrong
behaviour. This consciousness imposes a moral obligation
and a duty to exercise moral judgment, not necessarily
enforced by legal compulsion.
In Nigeria, the change from good, moral behaviour to
materialism and mammonic worship of the most obscene
type in the last fifty years has eroded the civic and
moral culture prevalent in the Nigeria of the 1950s.
There is an apparent misunderstanding of what social
utility allows and where greed becomes too elastic for
In the present Nigeria, laws are disregarded with
impunity because of the ease with which citizens regard
the possibility for acquittal, if charged to court and
the price is right.
As a result, remorse and the power of shame are no
longer moral problems, because criminal conduct is
defended with missionary zeal. The cheats mock the
The righteous are surprised and amazed by the leniency
or abandon with which criminality is treated. The
recalcitrance with which political leaders loot the
treasury is unacceptable in a democratic society, where
the people are supposed to respect laws, equity and
where people have good conscience.
The larney way embezzlement is covered in Nigeria, point
to the fact that there is no end to the ingenuity of
There is need for law and morality to be essential
factors in governance in Nigeria. As long as there is no
complete identity of law, moral righteousness, equity
and good conscience as a state’s operational strategy,
the social force of legal sanctions will be weak.
The elections that we envisage will hold in April next
year, must succeed,
On 2nd October, 2010, the United States effortlessly
conducted successful Mid Term elections, in which the
Democrats retained the majority in the Senate, while the
Republican Party increased their lead in the House of
Some politicians won, some lost. The heavens did not
fall. So far, no one went to court to challenge their
failure to win.
In Nigeria, as a result of unwholesome and crooked
disposition of some politicians,, some would have gone
to court in the hope of manipulating court judgments.
The INEC must invest its energy and wisdom to conduct
free and fair elections next April 2011, in order to
contain those, who after suffering the ignominy of
defeat, would use the courts as a sword.
We must separate the unfit, the misfit, those who rely
on “reptilian excellence, on mammalian excellence, on
hare-brained intelligence, who have not transformed
themselves, not to talk of transforming Nigeria, should
not waste INEC’s time and our resources.
“Leadership involves the head and the heart. It is both
analytical and interpersonal. Having the range and the
repertoire to be cold-blooded, rational and decisive at
times and at other times, warm-blooded, nurturing and
participative and knowing when to be which, is a great
challenge. It is like running a marathon and playing the
violin, at the same time.” B. Joseph White with Yaron
A good, relevant education, preferably in the fields of
law, economics, sociology and political science should
frame the synthesis for grasping the complex phenomenon,
which statecraft actually represents.
The possession of such knowledge will reduce the
incidence of tutoring, mentoring and nurturing political
leaders, who should have gone through the brain
purification process earlier in life.
It reduces the number of advisers, script-writers and
other do-gooders, who resurrect from infirmaries to
pontificate inanities of inconsequential import, about
contemporary society, where e-government, e-commerce and
transparency have replaced the type of governance that
took our Republic nowhere in the last fifty years of
experimental constitutionalism and in which we made
In 2015, perhaps the disquisition between the
Federalists and the Confederalists will center on the
condition that “The Federal or Confederal Republic of
Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or
group of persons take control of the government of
Nigeria or any part thereof, except he or she possesses
the relevant knowledge, experience, maturity and
transparency of character in accordance with the
provisions of our future Constitution”
What constitutes fitness, experience, knowledge and
transparency of character shall be decided by the
concepts of law and morality and the Voters of Nigeria,
at the polls.
Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai, a Writer and
Academic, is the President of the proposed Afemai
University in Fugar, Edo State