He stated that the conference 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 the Nigeria and Africa will benefit in the long run.”
Concerned about the level of governance across board in the country as well as the wobbling nature of the economy, Oputa pointed out that the maiden edition of what will be an annual conference, shall be beaming the “searchlight on integrity, competence and capacity for individuals aspiring for the highest offices in the land; we shall also underline the need for rule of law and respect for human rights; strengthen and consolidate public and corporate institutions to build confidence around business and the citizenry to enable them unleash the creative energies of the broad spectrum of society, and guarantee growth and prosperity for all.”
According to him, “the conference, from its inception, will draw the attention of a wide spectrum of Nigerian and African audiences of 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 said.
Furthermore, the conference will 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, and outline how to achieve sustainable development goals by ensuring Nigerian public services and industry apply sustainable development principles to function more efficiently in regard to service delivery to achieve the desired growth in the match to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Mr. Oputa reiterated that if we are able to do this Nigeria and Nigerians would be better off. Going further, he said “all around the world today – even in oil producing nations like ours – policy makers are brainstorming and devising strategies to diversify economies away from dependence on oil. Around the world also, countries have set dates in which cars produced would no longer use fossil fuel as environmental friendliness is gaining grounds due to heightened enlightenment about global warming. We can therefore not seat down, or rest on our oars, waiting for the day of calamity to arrive; we must act. And act we intend to do at the JOAC.”
Beyond the economy and governance, he equally noted that the foundation is 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. To this end, the Conference will attract over 500 delegates comprising eminent persons, policy makers/public sector representatives, researchers, legal professionals, commerce and industry experts in ongoing conversations and exploration of issues, ideas and analysis of JOAC’s core areas of concern, which are governance, law and development.
It is expected that the conference will 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. Good governance should also 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. And evidenced by the ability to conduct violence free, and fair elections. 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” Oputa noted.
The Oputa Foundation was established in 2010 and registered as a Non-profit and Non-governmental association founded in honour of one of Nigeria’s most distinguished legal minds, the late Supreme Court Judge, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa. It was established to advance and apply knowledge germane to the legal profession, commerce and industry and the public sector through the development, conduct and dissemination of both fundamental and applied research in the areas of governance, law and development. The research process of the Foundation is fundamentally designed to ensure that its work is relevant and practical ways which in the long run will contribute to the development of Nigeria and the entire African continent.