Yesterday, I took the initiative to ask the over two hundred active members of The Young Lawyers’ forum on Whatsapp what they would have loved to tell the Hon. Chief Judge if they were to meet her in person; the first comment was that “ I would tell her that I love her world class goggle…”. It is from here I chose to pick my ‘World Class’ prefix for the my amiable Chief Judge and her working team.
I must start by multiple congratulations, first on your appointment as the Chief Judge of Lagos State and also compliments of the Season. We bring you greetings from the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch and we consider it indeed a great privilege to be considered as important enough to commence your year with us. We do not take it for granted.
The Young Lawyers’ Forum of Ikeja branch is the pioneer Young Lawyers Forum, prior even to the National body of the forum. It stands arguably as the most vibrant Young Lawyers Forum in the country. The forum has not been known to pay lips service or flatter and it will not start now. But it is important to state at this time that The YLF is proud to have you. It is obvious that you are different. Your prompt response to our letter despite your busy schedule and the holiday season speaks volumes. Eventually hope has come for the profession we belong to.
My Lord, please accept our apology, for the very late invitation to our 2017 Annual Summit, I take full responsibility and assure you of diligence in subsequent engagements with your office. Your representation by the Hon. Justice Opensanwo was of a kind, My Lord did Justice to the seat and we are glad of My Lords’ choice.
At the summit our theme was ‘The Sustainability of the Legal Profession’ and in fact the first session discussed the sub-theme ‘Breaking the chain of corruption in the Judiciary’ whilst the other session discussed the ‘4th Industrial revolution and its impact on the legal practice’. We Young Lawyers are scared, we wonder whether there will be any practice by the time we are much more senior. Corruption has become the order of the day and the level corruption operates has remained at an all time high.
We have come to pledge our support for the great work you are set to do. We assure you that we are with you. A yoruba adage which our amiable Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana often says to us is interpreted as follows ‘ It is the youth that saves you in public, but the elders will deliver you in the board room’. My Lord, we assure you that the streets are save for you, the Young Lawyers’ of your constituency are with you. Let those who want evil to prevail try hard, you will remain above. We will save the Judiciary, we will save our profession, we will work with you to ensure that Justice is true to its definition.
My lord, we are aware that the stakeholders forum, your detailed visit to the courts across the state has exposed so much that you need to do and we will not stress them. We have only come to bring to the notice of Your Lordship that you have ready and willing hands in us.
As a forum, we undertake several initiatives for the development of young lawyers; we hold monthly Continous Legal Education Seminars, Annual Summit, Mentoring sessions with seniors, as well as social activities for bonding. We went ahead to visit the Ikoyi prisons in December, 2016 in celebration of the World International Human Rights Day and inherited about 97 case files of persons being held for minor offences. As at today, we have dispensed with 93 of the cases.
Despite the forums’ challenge of funds, which we hope your Lordship will assist with, we have consistently worked to ensure we are visible and active in the journey towards a better justice delivery system.
We have come to humbly request of my lord to adopt the ongoing discussion of ‘not too young to run’ in her engagements with a slight modification ‘not too young to serve’. All young lawyers are not incompetent as we are made to seem, we are not all lazy, we are strong, hardworking and forward thinking professionals too. We are not lesser than other young professionals simply because we are lawyers. We need My Lord to trust us, we need your lordship to engage us. Give us the opportunity to work with your administration, to serve in your committees, to make recommendations that can save the future of the judiciary, which indeed is ours.
A good example of areas which we know you already have in focus is the Sheriffs section, there is so much to do there. We suggest that the department be automated. The process of auction is the highest embellishment of corruption, the e-filing system needs complete overhauling, the registrars are a great torture, as it is we are the most hit because we do more interaction with them. The need to demand due respect for lawyers with law enforcement authorities can also not be over emphasized.
We shall continue to intimate you of our activities as at when they come up, we shall continue to seek your support and involvement, we shall continue to be available to notify you of things that may interest you to ensure you succeed in your cause.
My Lord, we are here for you, we want to work with you. We want to save the future of the practice. We know it is in our interest to do so as you will soon leave us to it, we hope you won’t consider our offer as insignificant.