IN RESPONSE TO FEMI ADUWO
I worked as Head of Law publications under Bola Ajibola while Prof Osinbajo was Special Adviser in the early 90s. Osinbajo influenced the review of the existing Companies Law and ensured the promulgation of the Companies And Allied Matters Decree (Act) 1990 – a highly revolutionary step.
He updated our law reports and gave us All Nigeria Law Reports 1990 (replacing the outdated one we had) and made it available to legal practitioners at a very affordable price. My office then was responsible for circulating it. He reviewed and printed new bound volumes of Federal laws, producing Laws of The Federation 1990. Again making it accessible and affordable to lawyers.
He published on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Justice such books as Integration of West Africa Through Law, Narcotics, Law on Women and Children, Electronic Evidence etc.
For the first time in the history of the Ministry, he established “Justice” Law Journal for purposes of enriching the skills of practising lawyers in Nigeria. I was the Production Editor, he was the Editor and Prince Ajibola was the Editor in chief.
I sincerely can’t recollect the draconian laws he assisted in making then.
Contrary to the picture the writer tried to paint about Osinbajo’s time under Tinubu, I am aware that while serving as Commissioner for Justice Osinbajo insisted on and secured the upward review of the remuneration of Lagos State judges to keep them away from corruption. This was another revolutionary step making Lagos State judges the highest paid amongst their peers in Nigeria. This prompted a review of the remuneration of judges all over the Federation by the Federal government then so as to be on the same level with their Lagos State counterparts.
He orchestrated the sacking of about 25 magistrates from the Lagos State Judiciary due to corrupt practices. He computerised the administration of justice system, reviewed law officers remuneration and set up the Citizens Mediation Centre and the Office of Public Defender. All of them are great institutions serving Lagosians today. He strengthened arbitration and meditation practices in Lagos State to help (among other things) in decongesting the courts. He was the first Attorney General to integrate Lord Wolfe’s Report into the administration of justice system in Lagos State before it was copied by the Federal Government. This has been revolutionary as a party can no longer catch the other party by surprise. You must frontload whatever documents/evidence you intend to rely upon in the course of trial.
He ensured infrastructural provision for the courts to guarantee a conducive environment for judges and lawyers.
He applied his skill as a trial lawyer in fighting the Federal government under President Obasanjo to create more local governments in Lagos but ended up with LCDAs and equally fought for the revenue accruing to Lagos State local governments with heavy resistance from the then President.
He famously told Asiwaju Tinubu his governor/principal that he could not act for him as his lawyer during his legal challenges while serving as the AG under him. He said he was the law officer to the people and not to the governor.
I still insist this Femi Aduwo guy got it all wrong. One May not understand why he decided to choose a time like this to launch his attack. He definitely has a purpose to serve.
Funso Olukoga writes from Lagos