I Won’t Grudge Those Referring To Me As A Rebel In APC – Banire | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


I Won’t Grudge Those Referring To Me As A Rebel In APC – Banire

Muiz Adeyemi Banire
Posted: Oct 15, 2016 at 3:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

 Dr. Muiz  Adeyemi Banire (SAN)  is the  National  Legal  Adviser of  Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).  In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI,  Banire, who recently marked his 50th  birthday spoke on the attainment of the golden age and other issues of national interests. Excerpts:

Friends and well-wishers recently felicitated with you as you clocked the golden age of 50. How do you feel having come this far?

I feel normal as usual.  All I can do is to appreciate God for the gift of life and bringing me this far.  I feel very much fulfilled attaining the golden age of 50.  I am satisfied but I believe there is still a lot of work to be done.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in recent times?

Maybe the only challenge I have so far is propriety and intrigues of people. Those who are associated with me know that I am not used to intrigues so, when I find intrigues around me, I feel very uncomfortable.  I detest people who act in a very dishonourable way, saying one thing and doing otherwise. I hate hypocrisy and I can’t stand backbiting.

What advice do you have for young ones?

My only advice to young ones is to be hardworking and treasure their personality much more than money and be courageous.  They should avoid being materialistic, be patient and believe in their hard work.  They should also be very prayerful and put their trust in God.

Where do you expect to be at 60?

It is only God that can determine that. I don’t know where God is takingme. It is a myopic person that will start projecting. My prayer is to even reach that age. What will happen between now and then is exclusive to God. For now, I cannot tell you categorically that this is where I will be by that time.

As a senior lawyer, what is your opinion on the recent raid on judges’ residence by the DSS?

Honestly, I have no view on that matter.  You know I belong to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and I have no choice than to align myself with the position of the NBA. What I have found out is that people are just commenting without information. For example, I got some privileged information two days ago in Abuja and I am expected to get more. After being fully informed, then I can make informed comments but for now, all that I have is what is on the pages of newspapers which are contradicting themselves all over the place.  Somebody said N93m was found in a judge’s house, another person will say it is N92m; someone else will say it is N40m.

What reforms do you think should take place in the judiciary?

So many reforms are needed to sanitise the judiciary. The one that I want to embark upon is the campaign for  financial autonomy for the judiciary. They are badly in need of financial autonomy. When they have financial autonomy, all other things follow. There are so many logistics that they are lacking. For example, we are talking about bribery or no bribery. The reality is that if they have the necessary equipments such as recording equipments, legal assistance and the other things needed, the work becomes easier and it will become even more difficult to manipulate any judgement. But when those things are lacking because they are presently operating at the behest of the executive, it becomes challenging.  So form e, the fundamental thing to be done now, radically, is to give them financial autonomy just like other organs.

There are three arms of government, the executive, legislative and judiciary. The other two enjoy financial autonomy. Why do you think the judiciary is being deprived of same?

Honestly, it beats me too. There are two judgements already on the same matter.  For me, I think what they should have initiated by now is contempt against some of them particularly the state governments that haven’t done so.  Some of them have the law but they have refused to do anything about in terms of implementation which again is an impeachable offence.

There were rumours that you voted that the governorship primary of theAPC in Ondo be upheld at the NWC meeting. How true is that?

I was not at the meeting. I couldn’t have voted because was in the United States of America for the International Bar Conference. So, those saying I voted that the report of the Electoral Panel should be thrown out, I don’tknow where they got their information from”.

Was your opinion sought on the matter?

Of course, as the National Legal Adviser of the party, my legal opinion will always be sought on any issue. I have written my own legal opinion.  The mistake people often made is that  I am not like any other politician in the cabinet of the party. I am a professional, occupying a professional position.  So, whatever I have, in the first instance is not binding on the party. That to the extent of my own knowledge is the legal position on issues. That is my own job. Beyond that there is nothing else.

But given your forthright opinion on issues, some have labeled you as arebel in APC. What is your take on that?

People are entitled to their opinion. Those referring to me as a rebel are entitled to their opinion just as I am entitled to mine. We can’t all sleep and face the same direction. I cannot grudge them because it is their perception.

What is your view about governance in Lagos under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode?

Unfortunately, I have been largely in Abuja than Lagos in recent times. You should know better because most times you send text to me for an interview, I always replied that I am in Abuja.  I found myself somewhere recently and I was wondering ‘is this Lagos?’ That shows I am not even current about most occurrences here at all.  At a point in time, if not for my Lagos office, I probably will be more in Abuja permanently because we have an office that is more active there.

People are worried that the APC is falling apart given the recent exchange of words between  major stakeholders in the party. Are you also worried?

Don’t mind them. The party is not falling apart at all. It is very intact. Quite naturally, a party of different interest group will take time for it to integrate well. So, some of the challenges we are having are just teething associated with a growing up child. I believe and I am optimistic that In due course, everybody will be united. We will all agree and interface and become one.

The Ondo governorship election is just a month away. What role are the  leaders of the party playing in resolving the crisis that has almost torn the party apart?

They have gone very far and they have made a lot of progress.  Just on Wednesday, I learnt that Senator Boroffice, Mrs Anifowoshe and others are already working hand-in-hand with our candidate, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu.  Right now, the party is  strong and united and it is a positive development for us.

 Do you think that your party’s candidate, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu possess the competence needed to govern a state like Ondo?

In the first instance, you know that Chief Rotimi Akeredolu is a much more Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and you cannot become a SAN if you are not competent and sound.  And don’t also forget that he was a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). All those are clear pointers that he possesses the wisdom, knowledge and competence required to govern the good people of Ondo state.

As a   Senior Advocate of Nigeria, how do you feel knowing that the two major candidates in the Ondo election are also Senior Advocates?

That makes it very interesting. I think with time, the Senior Advocates or lawyers generally should take over the governance of this country because they are doing very well wherever you find them.  Ondo state must be lucky to have two Senior Advocates as frontline candidates. In fact, all the three there (including Olusola Oke) are senior lawyers.  So, it is a good development and we should have more of that in other states.