There Is Dearth Of Responsible Mentors In Present Day Nigeria — Ngozi Adichie
Award-winning novelist, Chimamanda Adichie, has said Nigerians do not have enough leaders to look up to in the current system.
Adiche disclosed this today in her keynote address at the ongoing Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) at the Eko Hotel.
The conference, themed “Bold Transitions” is scheduled to hold between19 to 26, August 2022.
Adiche said young citizens were finding it difficult to have heroes for mentorship.
She said, “We are starved of heroes. Our young people do not find people to look up to anymore.”
She said it is important for everyone to speak out against injustice and tyranny even if they were called troublemakers.
According to her, ” Bold transition must embrace audacity and innovation. They have called me troublesome. Although, it is never enjoyable to be called troublesome. I never set out to provoke for its sake. But I refuse to silence myself for the fear of what I might inadvertently provoke.
“It has always been important to me to say what I believe, to call out injustice. Federal and state security dragging journalists to prison is tyranny. A journalist ill-treating his domestic staff is tyranny. The rape of young boys and girls is also tyranny. It is tyranny when state governments do not pay pensioners until they slump and die as broken people. The physical harassment of lawyers by some judges is tyranny. The use of the law by some people to oppress the poor people is tyranny.”
Adiche said Nigerians must be fair in their criticisms before peace can thrive. She said they should become responsible before holding the leaders responsible.
She said, “As long as we refuse to untangle the knot of injustice, peace cannot thrive. If we don’t talk about it, we fail to hold leaders accountable and we turn what should be transparent systems into ugly opaque cults.
“My experience made me think there’s something dead in us, in our society; a death of self-awareness and ability for self-criticism.
There’s a need for resurrection. We cannot avoid self-criticism but criticise the government. We cannot hide our own institutional failure while demanding transparency from the government.”
In her closing remarks, she advocated for an uncorrupted judicial system and called on the NBA to leverage technology in the judicial process and the administration of justice in the country.
She said, “Nigerians are disillusioned because they know of the decline of professionalism in some sections of the legal profession. As the NBA continues to fight the abuse of power, it must also look inward not to be corrupted.
“One way is to simplify the legal procedure. We deny justice when we delay justice. Technology should also be used. It is time for the full use of technology in the administration of justice.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the NBA president, Mr Olumide Akpata charges lawyers to embrace the innovative approach to legal practice while continuing to serve as the conscience of the public.
Akpata said the sessions at the conference are aimed at envisaging the future of the legal profession in particular and Nigeria in general within the context of a rapidly changing world and anticipating the adaptive measures that practitioners will be required to embrace in order to remain relevant and competitive.
Also, the Chairman, NBA Technical Committee on the conference planning, Tobenna Erojikwe said the topic for the conference captures the role of legal practitioners in society as lawyers, especially in a time like this when multiple issues call for attention and the generality of the people for direction.
“We all know we have what it takes to raise new legal giants from amongst lawyers to shape the legal profession, the judiciary, the polity, and our economy among other things but this faith in ourselves must be matched with appropriate action that grooms, grows and protects the individual lawyer.