I listened to His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, with a very heavy and burdened heart, as he commissioned the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge. I was thoroughly shocked and bewildered to hear the governor announce toll fees for the use of the bridge. This is in spite of a pending court case, in the federal high court, Lagos.
I am at a loss on how a very learned senior counsel, of the highly esteemed rank of a senior advocate of Nigeria, such as the governor of Lagos State, will treat a court of law and indeed our hallowed judicial system, with such odium, disdain and wanton disrespect.
I have continued to commend His Excellency for the initiatives and developments that he had midwifed in Lagos State, but that cannot, by any stretch of imagination, justify impunity and contempt for the judiciary.
On May 22, 2013, I was at the federal high court, Ikoyi, Lagos, with the Hon Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Adetoro Ipaye, to conclude arguments on my court case against tolling on the bridge. Part of the arguments of Lagos State before the court, was that no decision had been taken to toll the bridge. The case was then adjourned to July 9, 2013, for judgment.
It is in the interval of that judgment that the Lagos State Government has ambushed the court by commencing tolling on the bridge, to overreach the pending judgment of court.
My concern is the implication of the action of the Lagos State Government, on the rule of law, generally. We cannot continue the culture of impunity and wanton disregard for our sacred institutions and at the same time expect a change. The very headquarters of the opposition Action Congress or APC, as the case may be, that is claiming to be the government in waiting, is where the courts have become more like a toothless bulldog and powerless rubber stamps.
The action of Lagos State Government, in collecting toll while the court is yet to deliver its judgment, can only mean any of the following:
First, the distasteful impression is given that the courts and their decisions, do not matter, and that the rule of might is always superior.
Second, it gives a dangerous but unsubstantiated impression, that the Lagos State government is privy to the pending judgment of the court, as to be confident of its content to favour its position, to have such brazen confidence to predict the outcome of a judgment that is yet to be delivered.
Third, it means the Lagos State Government does not harbour the slightest regard for the judiciary and the rule of law. If this is the case, one will be correct to ask those in control of the affairs of Lagos State, to first remove the proverbial log in their own eyes, before pointing to the mole in the eyes of others. I can hardly now see any difference between the government in power at the federal level, and indeed the opposition, that is if the latter is not even worse.
I call on the good people of Lagos State, ESP the residents of Lekki, Eti-Osa, Ibeju, Epe and environs to boycott the bridge, as a mark of protest for the rule of force, currently being propagated by the Lagos State Government.
As for me, I am waiting patiently, for the federal high court, to reject and throw off this open insult, to its authority and integrity, by canceling tolling on the bridge.
God bless Nigeria.
Life without Christ is crisis
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of UnilagLss