Abuja – The spirit of Justice Chukwudifu Akunne Oputa, the late Supreme Court Judge, will be brought to life next month in Abuja as issues on Nigeria’s economy and governance and rule of law, which he stood for, would be the focal point for both national and international delegates who will converge for the maiden edition of the Justice Oputa Annual Conference.
The conference, to be held in partnership with the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) as disclosed by Mr. George Oputa, Chief Executive Officer of the Justice Oputa Foundation at a press briefing in Abuja will bring forth practical, evidenced based ideas, knowledge and resources that will help policy makers and industry to deliver on promises for growth and prosperity for all.
Beyond the economy and governance, Oputa stated that the foundation is also concerned about the spate of insecurity in the country which is why part of the agenda will focus on finding the crucial pathway at achieving peace, security, and political stability which is a sine-qua-non for sustainable economic advancement and improved human development index.
He stressed that the conference, billed to hold on December 4, 2018, will bring researchers together with eminent persons, policy makers/public sector representatives, legal professionals, commerce and industry experts in ongoing conversations and exploration of issues, ideas and analysis which forms its core areas of concern.
“When these core groups of people meet to rub minds and cross fertilise ideas, there will be no doubt that Nigeria and Africa will benefit in the long run,” he said.
Concerned about the level of governance across board in the country as well as the wobbling nature of the economy, Oputa pointed out that annual conference will draw the attention of a wide spectrum of Nigerian and African audiences to the necessity for, and insistence on, good governance for the promotion of accountability, transparency, efficiency and rule of law at all levels, allowing for efficient management of human, natural, economic and financial resources for equitable and sustainable development, and guaranteeing civil society participation in the decision-making processes.
He also stated that it will also reinforce the essence and sanctity of the supremacy of the rule of law, equality of all citizens before the law, accountability of all to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, legal certainty and avoidance of arbitrariness.
At the end of the day, Oputa said, “We expect the conference to help the larger Nigerian nation have a shared understanding that good governance starts with getting the right people in positions starting from the approaching 2019 elections- leadership to be defined by character, competence and capacity. Good governance should be reflected in appointments and employments into, or reorientation of the public service, to a great extent, in sync with global best practice.
“That good governance is impeded when the character, capacity or competence of prospective elective office holders are questionable; That it begins with adherence to the sanctity of the rule of law…That it happens when governments and industry apply high standards of ethics, knowledge and innovation to address challenges, leverage opportunities to achieve competitive advantage in a world that is ever more competitive,” he added.
The conference will also place emphasis on improving fiscal discipline especially in the area of public financial management systems; and improve human development index.
In the area of economic diversification and improved business environment, the conference will set the stage for solutions that will in the end strengthen governance and accountability at both government and corporate levels.
On what the future portends, Oputa stated that, “in the next 5 years, the Justice Oputa Annual Conference is expected to provide a priceless platform that brings together leading entities, eminent persons and young bright minds from government, business, and civil society to proffer conceptual and empirical solutions for accelerated development and prosperity of Nigeria. You will agree with me that the day is already far spent and the time to act is certainly now.”
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Obi of Onitsha HRM Nnaemeka Alfred Nnanyelugo Achebe are honourary patrons of the foundation.