Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Legislative Syndrome

Like every good rule-picking, egotistic litigator, I love to whine and complain. One of my favourite gripping topics - outside the politics and Groveller’s antics at Lagbaja, Tamedun & Co., the eccentric clients who fail to realise my awesomeness, annoying adjournments, etc - is the Nigerian Legislature. I admit that any couch commentator or worthy roadside newspaper reader would agree that our lawmakers are particularly easy prey with issues from chair throwing to child brides. However, as much as I gripe, I still can’t get past fantasising on splurging on a fraction of their allowances. I think it is the ‘Lawmaker Syndrome’ – a paradoxical psychological phenomenon where a citizen falls in lust with the non-law items lawmakers make, in the light of the dangers the lawmakers pose.
Perhaps, it also has something to do with homonymic strife. Lawyers and lawmakers share the same first name – law. You have to step into our shoes to appreciate our perspective and pain. Lawyers, not legislators do time in the university and Law School. We have to wear uniforms. Lawyers are the ones stuck in a grave of subservience and are condemned to eternal scraping and bowing to anyone who was called to the bar a second before they were called. We are forever subject to worship of the judiciary, grovelling before seniors and all the perils of a ‘conservative profession’. We do all these for zero ‘hardship allowances’.

Lawmakers here have it too easy. Our Constitution merely requires that they be ‘educated’ up to secondary school level – nothing says they even have to pass their exams! They get wardrobe allowance and yet, they get to complain about their meagre millions paid as salaries and other allowances, while we, the hardworking, underpaid ministers in the temple of justice, slave away doing good in the name of the law.
Despite our goodness and kindness, it becomes ever increasingly difficult not to resent lawmakers for their power to make laws. In the first place, letting non-learned mere mortals make laws comes to casting pearls before swine. Lawmakers cannot pretend to understand Latin. They cannot appreciate the beauty of archaic and verbose language. Clearly, the fine art of repetition, needlessly ambiguous terms, among other learned tools of the trade, will be lost on these people. Were the legislative houses filled with lawyers, we would be out of trees due to the many pages required to contain merely the preambles of the laws. Lawmakers are unskilled - one needs a good dose of irony and a straight ‘lawyer-face’ honed from litigation experience to insist that ‘financial autonomy’ of the legislature is more important than electoral reforms.

You cannot grasp the pains lawyers go through everyday, working with laws made by these people. Many lawyers continue to strain their inventive powers to make laws by interpreting them to no avail. In law world, creating laws comes second only to delivering judgments and way before a thirty-minute opportunity to address the Supreme Court (and we know how we lawyers love the sound of our voice).

I am usually optimistic – you need a good dose of sanguinity to initiate an action in courts while believing that ‘justice’ will be done in your lifetime. However, some things are just not meant to be.
Eternal friendship between lawyers and lawmakers is one of them. ):


Kamil said...

Are you on twitter or facebook? I'd like to add you I am Alebiosu Kamil or eighteensixty on twitter your write ups are great

Ayoka said...

Thank you Kamil.