Why It Is the Duty of a Lawyer to Always Ask Questions
The role of a lawyer to the society or his nation is greater than just being a lawyer. That is why it is always said that the law is an instrument of societal reformation. It is in this regard that this paper is of the views that the duty to always ask questions is heavily placed on the shoulder of a lawyer than it is in the case of an ordinary member of the society or a layman.
Law in deed is the foundation of every society, especially a society which is founded on rule of law and democracy. That is why the primary role of a lawyer is to uphold the law guiding the society. As if that is not all, the Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conducts for Legal Practitioners, 2007-herein after referred to as RPC, has identified the mandatory roles of a lawyer as follows ‘‘A lawyer shall uphold and observe the rule of law, promote and foster the cause of justice, maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and shall not engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a legal practitioner’. From this provision, it is clearly stated that it is the duty of a lawyer to uphold and observe the rule of law. It is also the role of a lawyer to always promote and foster the cause of justice. From these two coinages, it is my humble submission that the development of a nation and the society, in fact, the nation, lies on a responsible lawyer. That is why wherever a lawyer exists, he must ensure that he always discharges his duties. Even upon his call to bar, a lawyer has undertaken to serve his nation- Nigeria. Therefore, a lawyer must always ask many questions either from his government, the budget of his country, the affairs of his country, the economy of his country, the quest for the peace of his country, the protection of the fundamental rights of the citizens of his country, among others.
Furthermore, I am always surprised that even in the street that a lawyer lives, there are lots of complaints which he feels unconcerned about. Such a lawyer might even be a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, but has no particular contribution that he makes to his immediate society or street or community. Such a lawyer would complain that there is no regular supply of electricity, there is no regular supply of water, the environment is not conducive, the street has abandoned projects, etc., even where an ordinary man is not confident enough to ask questions why some things remain in bad situation, it ought not to be a lawyer. A lawyer must always ask questions and that is his pride in the society. Perhaps, it is as a result of the failure of a lawyer in discharging his duties to his society that makes an ordinary man in the society not to have respect for lawyers anymore or with a reduced respect than the situation was before now. Therefore, I advise lawyers to consider impacting into the societies, including the one that they live in for the development of the nation.
Also, the National Youth Service Corps established a scheme of Personal Development in the Community Development Service wherein corps members are encouraged to carry out some projects to their hosting communities, at the end of which they are even awarded with either the Chairman’s Award of Merit or Governor’s/Federal Capital Territory Minister’s Award of Merit or the Presidential Award of Merit. However, despite this opportunity, only very few corps members have been able to sacrifice in carrying out this project. Lawyers who are corps members too do not really take this scheme seriously.
Finally, I therefore urge lawyers to stand up to their responsibilities in developing their societies as a pay-back to the society what the society has already given to them. And asking questions in the affairs of the nation is a great responsibility that a lawyer must discharge.