It gives me tremendous pleasure to accept the invitation of my learned friend of the Silk – Dr Fabian Ajogwu SAN to write the foreword to his scholarly book on: ‘’Law and society’’. The book articulates extremely important and fundamental issues which affect the society at large.
The scope of the book is huge as it analyzes the relationship of the law with many societal topics encompassing ‘’Inter alia’’ the history of the Nigerian society, sources of law, evolution of the Nigerian legal system, the Nigeria Constitution, Ethics in the legal profession and many more topics besides. Indeed, the learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria splendidly demonstrates an impressive holistic approach to the title and essence of the book: ‘’Law and Society’’. As we say in the law ‘’ he covers the field’’.
Although professional ethics in the legal, medical, engineering or any other profession is a topic many scholars and authors are not comfortable to discuss, yet, the author deftly and boldly articulates ethics in all its ramifications by his own originality and wise application of the Rules of Professional Conduct in the legal profession. The discussion on professionalism and ethics of in-house and public services counsel is a superb explosion of an important part of the ethics of the learned profession. The author should be loudly applauded for his discourse on this important aspect of the legal profession.
The author eloquently enunciates the lawyer’s noble and professional role to uphold and facilitate the development of the society. It is trite to state that every aspect of human society revolves around law and the lawyer. The lawyer is involved in drafting and constructing documents, and findings solutions to many of the societal problems, particularly legal problems. In his book: “In the Eyes of the Law’’, the Honourables Justices Chukwudifu Oputa said at pages 213 declared:- ‘’The ordinary citizen may not and perhaps cannot protect himself against those concentrations of power which by their weight or their natures conduces to the oppression of the individual namely, the power of prosecution, the power of parliament, the power of the executive, the power of wealth and status, the power of monopoly and restrictive association, and the biggest problems of all, the power of numbers. it is the duty of the advocates, a duty he owes to the community to ensure that the individual is properly protected from power to see that there is a fair, equitable and just balance between those who have power and those who are subjected to such power’’.
Undoubtedly, lawyers will encounter many obstacles and challenges which may impede the effective discharge of the duty imposed on them as lawyers. Such obstacles include unethical conduct of some colleagues, unjust laws, disobedience of court orders, particularly by government officials and delay in the adjudicatory system. Dr. Ajogwu SAN Presents the book as a clarion call to lawyers to observe the highest ethical principles of their learned profession in order to discharges the enormous responsibility placed on them by the law.
In the author’s elucidation of the famous (or is it infamous?) chapter II of the Constitution on Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State policy, the author vehemently address the mischief in S. (6) of the Constitution which renders all the sanctimonious pronouncement on the good life in Chapter II worthless. The negation of justiciability in Section 6(6) leaves the Chapter in a prostrate state. My learned friend is insightful in his treatment of customary law which he has placed on its proper pedestal thus:-
“Customary law has got to be recognized as an important vehicle regulating the conduct and lives of the vast majority of Nigeria’’.
The Hon. Justice Nnaemeka-Agu JSC in Ugo v Obiekwe declared thus:-
‘’Our customary law is still bogged down this annoying vestige of colonialism…. The result is that our customary law is still treated like foreign law in our own country (more than three decades) after our independences from colonial rule. This is far from satisfactory… it is to be regretted however, that whereas the authorities concerned are taking the commendable step of riding our statue and received English law of anachronism, nothing appears to be happening in the area of customary law which forms the essential backbone of our ‘’corpus juris Nigerianae’’.
I believe that the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies das a programmed on research on customary law. The country and the legal system should benefit substantially from such an academic exercise.
As a former student of classics, I make bold to congratulate Dr. Ajogwu SAN for the dexterous employment of Latin ‘’, (with their English translation), to upgrade the scholarly reach of the book and enhance its prose.
Dr. Ajogwu’s admirable professional high standard is vividly manifested in this brilliant book. His laudable and ethical approach to the practice of law and his commitment to high quality professionalism should encourage every lawyer who reads the book to go and do likewise. The book is outstanding for many reasons including: the author’s lucidity of though, clarity of language, profundity of research and compelling intellectual discourse. The splendid characteristics of this book are a testament to the learned mind of a learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
I congratulate the author for his valuable contribution to legal scholarship. My learned friend has written a provocative book which is germane to the current state of our country as we struggle to find ways through which the law can be the true agent towards solving the myriads of problems confronting us as nation and in fulfilling our roles as lawyers.
I hereby recommend the book, without any reservation whatsoever, to judicial officers, legal practitioners, academicians, law-students, civil society, the media, all who enjoy reading and all persons who are interested in making the Nigerian society better for all of us by upholding the Rule of Law. This Book is a masterpiece which will adorn any library, particularly a law library.
Dated this 30th day of October 2013
Chief ‘Folake Solanke, SAN, CON Legal Practitioner, Alabukun Law-Chambers ANCE Building (2nd Floor)’ Magazine Road, Jericho, Ibadan.