RE: 2020 Amendments to RPC 2007 ~ By Kayode Ajulo
My attention has been drawn to various reactions to my opinion on the issue of the 2020 Amendment to the RPC 2007 as recently announced by Abubakar Malami in his capacity as Attorney-General of the Federation, gazette and marked S.I No. 15 of 2020 by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Even as diversity of perspectives is the currency in the marketplace of public opinions, a willingness to subject personal perspective to interrogation is the litmus test of public intellectualism.
A number of legal luminaries have weighed in on this issue and while most have their merits, there have been what appeared to be mischievous attempts to misrepresent my opinion on the issue by persons who claim to be learned colleagues and members of the legal profession.
It is particularly surprising to me that a member of the Bar would in one breath admit that a matter has been brought before the court and in the next breath proceed to offer categorical legal perspectives on same matter in flagrant disregard for the Law which he is sworn to uphold.
It would be recalled that that when I offered my take on this issue on Sunday, the 13th day of September, 2020, it was yet to be brought before the Court. The subsequent willful decision to publicly opine, prior to a belated “offing of the mic”, on what was acknowledged as already before the court of law is alarming to say the least. I want to believe that we can learn to do better in future, as Officers of the Law.
Now, concerning my perspective on the issue which has been obviously misinterpreted, I would like to make some neccesary clarification without prejudice to the matter before the court, to forestall further misunderstanding- deliberate or unintended.
My intervention was intended to correct what I perceive to be a growing trend: this need to trash every development that emanates from Government even when such development are not only well-intentioned but well situated in existing legislation.
As someone who began his professional odyssey as a State Counsel in the Office of the AGF and who is privy to the workings of the office, I have remain very interested in developments emanating from the office and as such I have always paid close attention to same. To the best of my understanding, Section 1.4 permits the General Council to adopt proceedings as they deem fit.
I am particularly aware that the prior procedure which was adopted by a former AGF Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN during his tenure in office was not opposed not changed by the General Council. The present AGF has introduced an amendment in accordance with the powers conferred on him by virtue of his office and the Council empowered by Law to withstand such, if need be, is yet to oppose it. Why then the attacks since members have not raised an eyebrow?
My candid counsel is that it is not every matter that one should rise up in arms over especially when one is not equipped with the trequisite information.
Now that the matter is before the Court as stated in one of the responses I have come across, it is best that we await the judgment of the court.