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Osinbajo calls for imposition of severe penalties for delays in delivery of justice

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called for the imposition of severe costs for delays in justice administration and delivery.

The vice-president explained that the court is a taxpayer-funded public resource and the wasting or abuse of its finite time and resources without strict consequence will eventually discredit the justice system.

According to a statement signed on Saturday by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, the Vice President said this on Friday night at the 20th year memorial anniversary symposium in honour of a legal luminary, Bankole Olumide Aluko, SAN.

The Vice President, who spoke on the issues of judicial appointments, delays in the dispensation of justice, democracy, and digitisation in the judiciary, among others, noted that “the administration of justice system is the foundation of law and order, commerce and democracy.”

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He added that “Severe costs should attend adjournments. There is no greater waste of taxpayer’s funds than for a scheduled case to have to be adjourned. It is only heavy costs that will discourage this malfeasance.”

According to him, addressing delays should “involve imposing sanctions by a more intentional regime for the award of adverse and wasted costs.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN delivers the Keynote Lecture at the 20th Year Memorial Symposium of Bankole Aluko SAN at the Harbour Point, Lagos.

“Adverse costs are paid to the successful party in a civil case and wasted costs are directed against legal practitioners for poor professional standards in the conduct of a case.”

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Osinbajo said “certainty or predictability of judicial outcomes is one of the major strengths of the common law.”

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Regarding the impact of the law on democracy, Osinbajo said that “the democratic rights of the people and their confidence in the notion of a government of the people, by the people, for the people, suffers when the system of electoral justice fails to see itself as a handmaid of the democratic process.”

Citing the decision of the Supreme Court in the 2019 elections in Zamfara State to buttress his point, the VP noted that “to make sense, judicial decisions and reasoning must in most cases meet the common notions of fairness and justice.

“The system of justice must recognize the larger principles that it serves. In judicial interpretation, the spirit is as important as the letter of the law. Otherwise, judicial decisions become technistic applications far removed from common sense.

“The notions of justice that would meet public expectations of fairness and equity are those that promote substance over form. The observance of technicality over merit will always alienate the system of justice from the people it is meant to serve.”

On the expectations from judicial officers, Prof. Osinbajo said “while we ask for the best from our judicial officers, we must equally ensure that the conditions under which they operate are not only befitting but are good enough to attract the best of minds in our profession.”

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In addition, the Vice President said the institution and infrastructure remain key to reforming the system, stating that “the judge is, of course, central to how our system of justice works. It is the court, not counsel that must determine the pace of cases.”

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On the process for judicial appointments, the VP stated that the robustness and transparency of the processes in other jurisdictions “provide comfort to the candidates of the fairness of the selection process; and enable the public to have front-row seat in some of these processes”, arguing that such a process be replicated in Nigeria.

He, however, assured that the challenges affecting the administration of justice in Nigeria are being addressed, and “there is much hope for the positive reform of the system as more result-oriented work is going on and some real changes expected.”

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Otunba Gbenga Daniel discusses progress on the establishment of aviation school in Ogun, SW Devt Commission bills

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Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Governor of Ogun State and a current Senator has provided updates on two significant legislative initiatives: the South West Development Commission Bill and the establishment of an aviation college in Ogun State.

Daniel expressed satisfaction with the progress of both projects, highlighting their alignment with broader development goals for the region.

He outlined the strategic vision behind the proposed aviation college, linking it to the ongoing development of the airport project in Ogun State.

The idea for the aviation school gained momentum during his campaign, spurred by interactions with students from a technical college near Akaka.

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“We are moving and we are quite satisfied. The aviation school that we conceptualized has been part of our master plan for the airport project and in the course of our campaign; we were waylaid by students of that school. It is a technical college. They waylaid and said look, OGD you are passing by here but in this place, there is nothing going on.

“As God will have it, the runway terminates around Akaka. We then said this is the aviation school that we’ve been thinking of, this is it. We tap into that because we also know that there are challenges with money and budgets. So in that location there is already infrastructure. There are buildings, very few students, underutilized facilities and here we are, we now have an airport which by the special grace of God, the new governor appears to have gone very far with the completion. So pronto, we can’t have it better.”

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Emphasising the need to train people about aviation in all ramifications, the former governor elaborated on the broader vision of creating an “Aerotropolis,” a city designed around the airport that would include facilities for hangar construction, warehouses, and other aviation-related services.

“What we have done, many people did not know, the airport that we planned is not just an airport, it’s a big city. We call it Aerotropolis. An Aerotropolis is a city which contains facilities for everything – hangar construction, warehouses, all sorts of things – and all of that.

“But when we were conceptualising it, we actually called it an agrocargo airport and that’s what actually decided the location, that that location is equidistant to Lagos,Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode and Ibadan. We had planned that, from that location, people will bring their agricultural products there and it can be an export zone. So that was what we planned. So all of those things that have not happened, it’s just part of our master plan and God has just given us the grace”

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He expressed optimism about the project’s legislative progress, noting that the bill had recently passed its second reading and was on track for a public hearing.

“By the grace of God, last two weeks it was gazetted. That is the second reading and we think that with that one, the next thing is now for it to be subject to a public hearing.

“That is one bill that there was no need for any serious take-off grant. Unlike some other bills, this is just a low-hanging fruit, and we’re happy that, by the grace of God, that will come true,” he said.

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Turning to the South West Development Commission Bill, the lawmaker acknowledged its prior iterations and the renewed determination to see it through.

“The Southwest Development Commission Bill, of course, is not a new bill per se. It had been initiated in the past, but due to one thing or the other, it didn’t go beyond the second reading,” he explained.

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However, this time around, there is a stronger consensus on the necessity of the commission.

Daniel highlighted the importance of the commission in fostering regional development, echoing calls for restructuring based on Nigeria’s six administrative zones.

“People from each of the zones with a common destiny, common economic boundaries, common electoral affinities, common industrial or commercial activities, should be able to come together and look at things that are important to them, to be able to develop those peculiar things that are common to them, and get the federal government to support it,” he articulated.

The creation of the South West Development Commission aligns with similar initiatives for other regions, promoting economic units that reflect Nigeria’s zonal structure.

Daniel expressed hope and determination that the bill would succeed, reflecting a broader trend of regional development efforts supported by federal recognition and resources

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Gbenga Daniel clarifies misconceptions about yuletide palliatives from the presidency

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The senator representing the Ogun East District at the national assembly, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has clarified reports regarding the distribution of rice by the presidency to lawmakers during the last yuletide season.

Recall that towards the end of last year, during the yuletide, there were reports that the presidency shipped trailer loads of rice to House of Representatives members and senators as palliatives to be given to their constituents. Some lawmakers denied receiving the items while others said they were supplied.

Addressing the confusion, Daniel explained that the initiative was part of a broader effort to provide constituency support, rather than a direct distribution of trailer loads of rice.

He provided insights into the actual proceedings, stating, “No, that was not what happened. To the best of my knowledge, it is part of the provision for constituency support. I am aware that a vote was announced that would be available for each of the senators. It wasn’t mandated for specific use, but rather to encourage senators to provide some form of relief to their constituents during the challenging period of December and January.”

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Contrary to claims of trailer loads of rice being distributed, the lawmaker emphasized that the process was more bureaucratic and less immediate.

“The process of, let’s say, the bureaucracy, I’m aware that this is May but some people have still not got anything. We got something about two weeks ago,” he noted.

Despite the delays in the distribution process, Daniel highlighted that his office had been proactive in providing palliatives to constituents throughout the period.

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“We have been doing our own palliatives. We’ve done in December, in January. Every month we go and do massive palliatives. So we’re not waiting for it. But if and when it comes, okay, there’s no problem.”

The confusion seems to stem from differing reports on how the palliatives were distributed. Daniel explained, “Finally it was supposed to be worked out with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and I think that some people got consignment from the ministry, others got their own independently.”

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He commended the presidency’s efforts to support lawmakers in their attempts to assist constituents.

“There was a commendable effort to encourage lawmakers to go and do something to add value to what is going on in their various constituencies. That’s the way I’m going to put it.”

While there was an initiative to provide support to lawmakers for their constituents, the former governor clarified that it was not as straightforward or immediate as some reports suggested.

According to him, the aim was to encourage lawmakers to offer tangible support during a challenging period, a goal that he and his team have been actively pursuing independently.

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Otunba Gbenga Daniel clarifies why The Compass Newspaper was established, lists achievements as Ogun governor

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Former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has clarified the motivations behind the establishment of The Compass newspaper, denying any intentions of using the platform to oppose Senator Bola Tinubu.

In an interview the former governor granted a national newspaper, Daniel addressed these misconceptions and highlighted the extensive developmental work undertaken during his tenure, much of which he felt was underreported.

Reflecting on the media landscape during his governance, he stated, “I took over from a newspaper mogul, Chief Olusegun Osoba, and I was not expected to get good press. The sympathy was really not with me; it was with my predecessor. People thought I would crash within a few weeks.”

Facing persistent negative press, Daniel felt compelled to create a media outlet to accurately document and publicize his administration’s achievements.

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He emphasized that the establishment of The Compass was a strategic move to counteract biased media coverage rather than a tool for political vendetta.

“We needed to have a platform to also record what we were doing. We did a lot of work that people still do not know,” he explained.

Daniel lamented the lack of social media at the time, which would have allowed for more direct communication with the public without reliance on traditional media channels.

“Unfortunately, we did not have the level of social media that we have today. If that existed, nobody would need the traditional media.

“But you know, you people at that time, once you blocked us, you blocked us here, you blocked us there, I was finished (laughs). If we were working 24-7, nobody would see this. They would say you are not working because you people have blocked everybody. So that was what happened.

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“I’m not a newspaper person. But, at that stage, we needed to have a platform to also record what we were doing. We did a lot of work that people still do not know.

“For instance, we are thanking our current governor for now working on the (cargo) airport. But this was part of our master plan, which we decided, we did everything we needed to do, we got all the approvals before we left. But you people (press) will not report it.”

“We secured three free trade zones in Ogun State. The Olokola Free Trade Zone, which is where Dangote Refinery was supposed to be but because you people did what you had to do, we lost that one to Lagos. But I said to people, well, Lagos is still the same. If it’s lost to Lagos, it’s fine.

“In any case, where we wanted to put it is inside Ijebuland. All these places where they are in Lekki is still part of Ijebuland, under Lagos. So we’ve not lost anything.

He also said the Kajola Transportation Free Trade Zone, and the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone, were all initiatives under his administration. These zones were designed to boost industrialization and economic growth in the region.

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Daniel also pointed out the numerous educational institutions established during his tenure, including the Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic in Ijebu-Igbo, the Gateway Polytechnic in Sapade, the Tai Solarin University of Education, and several others. He stressed the transformative impact these institutions had on the state’s educational landscape.

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“You’ll be shocked if I tell you that in the course of our administration, we established probably about seven tertiary institutions and campuses. I can count for you. We established Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, Ijebu-Igbo. We established the Gateway Polytechnic in Sapade. We established another one in Igbesa and another one in Itori. We established the Tai Solarin University of Education. We established the School of Nursing in Ilaro. We took the old Tai Solarin College of Education to Omu. It’s now known as Sikiru Adetona College of Education in Omu. We established Gateway Industrial & Petrochemical Institute (GIPI) in Oni. What didn’t we do? But you people didn’t report it.”

In terms of industrialization, Daniel noted the development of the Sagamu Interchange area into a major industrial hub.

“That axis now is probably the biggest industrial zone in the country. Companies like Nestle, Coleman Cables, CTK, and the biggest international breweries are now located there. It is the fastest-growing industrial arena in the entire country,” he said.

Addressing the media directly, Daniel humorously added, “There’s a whole lot that you people refused to report for us.”

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