Dr. Wale Babalakin, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has charged his colleagues on the need to save the profession from going down.
Babalakin who lamented the dwindling standard of learning in the country said except the lawyers accept to save the legal profession, it will soon become part of the decay in the country.
He spoke on Wednesday in Abuja at book presentation “Two decades of Forensic Advocacy at the Inner Bar: A Festschrift in honour of Yusuf Ali (SAN) . The book which reviewed by Prof. Olanrewaju Fablgbohun, SAN, Vice Chancellor Lagos State University, Ojo, was edited by Prof. Wahab Egbewole, SAN, Kehinde Kolawole Eleja, SAN and Ayo Olanrewaju.
The former Pro Chancellor, University of Lagos, said the standard of learning is going down and members of the bar must rise up to the challenge.
He said what we call tutorial in our university’s are far cry, saying in a law class of 400 students to a teacher is not tutorial. He cited his days in the university where it use to be a student to a teacher dor tutorial.
Babalakin said while developed countries that we ought to be competing with are daily improving, the country has set a low standard as benchmark for the profession.
He therefore concluded that only the lawyers can save the prifession.
He said, “Only the lawyers can save the legal profession. legal profession is threatened, unless lawyers come together and realize that we have to protect our law by speaking the truth and all situation irrespective of who is affected, we will become part of the decay of the nation. we are at a very difficult threshold as a country.
“We have created a very low standard which is what now benchmark.My take is can we in this part of the world, continue to deteriorate, while those in other part of the world who we are suppose to compete with continue to improve.”
Babalakin also charged lawyers to be part of policy making by participating in politics.
He said lawyers who want to aspire for political positions should make up their mind of what they intend to do and do it with clear mind.
He added, “For those of you who may want to make it in politics, I am talking about the younger ones, you are encouraged to do it. Please go in to change the landscape. But when you are going in, make sure you have a second address because if you are unable to work hard on any position then you cannot come back to this job.if you are unable to say bye bye irrespective of failure then you cannot come back.
He also commended the honouree for what he has achieved and hoping that the book will be reference materials for students and members of the bar.
Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), President, Mr. Olumide Akpata on his part charged the senior advocates on the need to join hands with him to move the NBA forward, stressing that he will keep to his promise to give those at the inner members of bar their due place.
He said, “Today, I renew my commitment and by the same token, I charge members of the Inner Bar to join hands with me to build an enviable Nigeria Bar Association, which our children will be proud off and at your own very high standard expected of the bar.
He also charged Mr. Ali on the need to follow the book launched with a biography, saying “I charge you to give more back to the profession which has given you the platform to express intellect, passion and success in your chosen carer .
Mr. Ali on his part said the book is meant to encourage other people,stressing that “it will be contribution to learning and knowledge in our country.
“All the chapters are very important because they are all reviews of some of cases I have done since 1997 when I became SAN we just picked a few for critical analysis and review and it covers all areas of constitutional law, banking, commerce, land cases, chieftaincy its a mix of all the areas of law as we know it in which I have taken part at one stage of the other especially in the court of appeal and the supreme court.
“There is no substitute for hardwork and integrity, work must come before wealth and if we all know this our society will be better not just for young lawyers but for all Nigerians so that this get rich quick mantra will be eschewed.
“Without the rule of law there will be no society, it is in our interest to observe the rule of law, we should not jetisinate on the grounds of convenience because what turns around comes around; those who are in power today will not be there tomorrow those who were there yesterday has left , its a lesson to all of us, life is too transient. “