ABUJA— Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, said yesterday, that the country has been unable to develop, despite its huge natural resources due to political instability.
He also said Nigeria will rank among the five most prosperous countries of the world, if the democratic process survives for at least 20 years, with its affairs well-managed.
He added that the bilateral agreements with European countries, such as Germany, which would have led to the country’s industrialisation, were aborted by the military regimes, which stunted democracy and had no development ideas.
Speaking during the Women Forum at the on-going Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, annual conference in Abuja, Justice Belgore noted that Nigeria was ahead of several countries until the military struck and reversed all the good plans for development made by civilian administrations.
According to him, “Those who had visited the Middle East in 1972/73, know that we were very much ahead of them until the military thwarted all the good plans. If we can have stable democracy for at least 20 years, we shall be among the five most prosperous nations in the world”.
Lawyers must ensure that democracy thrives by being ready to make impact on the development of the country.”
He recalled that in 1962, Nigeria signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Germany to train its Airforce, revamp the iron and steel and build an automobile industry through motor assemblies, adding that a similar agreement was signed with Brazil, but soon after the first military coup, Nigeria’s first Head of State “abrogated all these agreements.” He added that subsequent coups, took Nigeria backwards, to the extent that countries it was ahead of overtook it and are industrialised nations today.
“The greatness of Nigeria is unique. Very few countries have what we have. This is one of the greatest countries in the world,” he said.
On the legal profession, Belgore said it cannot afford to have a bad name. “The best thing for the profession is to continue to have a good name. The first profession God created was law. All other professions follow it,” he argued