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‘Nigerian youths are too complacent’

Tuesday, 3 October 2017
Otunba  Aderemi Ilori 

Otunba (Barr) Davies Aderemi Ilori is a son to former Chief Justice of Lagos State, Justice Samuel Omotunde Ilori. In this interview with Rasaq Odunlami and Toye Faleye, he speaks on President Buhari’s anti-graft war and how the Nigerian judiciary system can be effective. Excerpts:


Sometimes ago, President Barrack Obama said Nigeria needs strong institution not a strong man. Now that we have a strong man at the helms of affair, would you say we still have a long way to go?

Buhari used to be a very strong man, and that was in the military era, the form of government where decree is used, that’s; what I say is the final (obey the last order) but it’s so unfortunate for him that this is a democratic form of government.

Another problem is that the old sets of people are still running the affairs of government. So how do we build strong institutions? The old sets of people should be prevented from dominating Nigerian politics.

You said the old sets of people should be prevented from dominating Nigerian politics;  that means you are canvassing the inclusion of the youth in politics, how do you think they can be drafted in?

Nigerian youths can not participate fully in politics because they are too complacent. They like to be silent on every issue that concerns them. They should rise to challenges and stop being complacent.

Do you think President Buhari’s anti-graft war can save Nigeria from its present predicament?

We are not in the military era as I said earlier; we are now in a more civilised system of government. I should be frank; his anti-graft war is very parochial and lopsided. He should tackle those involved in corruption, irrespective of the party they belong to. It is quite obvious that virtually all Nigerians are corrupt, but it’s a national issue that needs to be addressed urgently.

It is obvious that cabals were in Jonathan’s government which affected him, do you think they are also in Buhari’s government?

There is no party in Nigeria without cabals, or godfathers. Are you telling me that there is no cabal in All Progressives Congress (APC)? There are cabals and that is the problem we are facing in this country. Some people regard themselves as untouchable simply because they see themselves as god fathers. Indeed we are in the era of cabals. What we need is a change, although some people believe that Nigeria needs revolution, but as a legal practitioner, I strongly believe in a change because it is the only thing that is constant in life. Nigerians voted for change last year, but is this the change that they voted for?

What do you mean?

A change that some people are eating on the table while others are picking the crumbs? We need transformation and continuity where new government should continue what it met on ground. That is the only solution.

What is your reaction to the Senate President’s trial?

It is true that he committed the offence but there is a clear picture that some politicians are really behind his trial. Some cabals are after him while he belongs to a cabal as well. It is basically a party politics, if not he is not supposed to be on that seat by now. How did he emerge as the Senate President in the first place? It was a total fraud. This was because party members never agreed with themselves. That is the kind of politics we practise in Nigeria.

Do you think the Nigerian judiciary has performed up to expectation?

The judiciary is still fair to the best of my knowledge, but the system needs to be autonomous. Autonomy is what can make the system to be stronger. Sacrifice for favouritism is what makes Nigeria not to be very much effective. When these are eliminated the system will be stronger, reliable and fair.

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