Autonomy of Judiciary is long overdue – Omotayo Olatunbosun

The Chairperson, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ogbomoso branch, Barr(Mrs) Omotayo Rebecca Olatunbosun has said autonomy of judiciary in Nigeria is long overdue and imperative.

Omotayo in this interview with Mike Adeyemi, strongly holds that autonomy of the judiciary is highly imperative, insisting that it goes a long way to enhancing and stipulating the ideal effective working mechanism of the organs of court that will enable the courts and judges to perform their duties free of influence or controlled by any power that exemplify it’s toga of being the last hope for the people and the pillar of democracy, affirming it is long overdue.

The Honorable Chairperson in a manifest elation as being the youngest female chairman ever in Ogbomoso bar in particular and Oyo state in general, also ceased the opportunity explain that her quest to taking the Ogbomoso bar to the next level, prompted her interest in the office of the chairman. 

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She promised to leave behind great legacies like getting a cozy brand name for the bar, making the already much talked about law week a reality and laying the foundation for NBA Ogbomoso Secretariat, among others. Excerpts;

May we meet you, Ma.

I am Omotayo Rebecca Olatunbosun, Esq. I am the third born of the children of Mr. & Mrs. David Ogundiran of Owa-Kajola in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, Nigeria.

I had my primary school education at Ebenezer Primary School, and my Secondary School at St. Anthony Secondary School, both in Ilorin, Kwara state, Nigeria. I had the privilege of serving as the labour prefect and active member of Fellowship of Christian Students(FCS) back then in secondary school.

I got admitted into the faculty of law University of Ilorin and graduated in 2010.

Why did you choose to become a Lawyer?

Funny enough, I had always wanted to be a news caster not a lawyer, thoughts of law hardly crossed then, maybe due to my social nature.

I recall back then at home, each time we were watching the news, I would take a vintage position in front of the television and would always prompt my mum with my wish to become a newscaster.

However, as time went on, the passion just got lost in the clouds and I suddenly could not resist the passion to being a Lawyer as the innate trait of speaking for the voiceless and seeing that justice is well served became so overwhelming me.

What are your experiences so far as a Lawyer?

The task of Becoming and/or remaining a Lawyer is not an easy deal. It takes great determination and hard work. One has to be determined to read law and to practice it. It a daunting task from the University to Law School and then, tutelage. It can only take a determined mind to go far in law practice.

My drive of always wanting to achieve set target with my strong support of passion and determination, has always be the magic touch for me.

Was there any memorable day in your life as a young Lawyer in Court?

Yeah, it is pure imagination to think that any process of learning will be a smooth sail, a new wig’s experience can’t be otherwise. I recall my first appearance in court, it wasn’t easy. I was serving then at  Lasun Sanusi SAN & Co., (Iman Chambers) at Odo-Ona, Araromi Ibadan.

Our Head of Chambers, Barr. Anikulapo just handed me a file with a terse directive, “it is a motion, Tayo go and do it.”

I was lost in thoughts and scared that I had to just sit in the court, not being sure of what to make of the file and it’s content, and to make matter worse, her lordship upon noticing how I was manifestly shaky and engulfed in fear, banged her desk as she probed angrily;

“when were you called?”

“Are you a new wig?”

“Yes, my lord” I shivered out.

My lord immediately understood my plight as she sensed I had even lost the confidence to stand, advising that I pull myself together as she led me on how to move the motion.

My first day in court wasn’t funny at all, other Lawyers who were in the court that day made jest of me, but now, am one of the seniors in the profession that juniors look up to.

Was there also any case you handled that tasked you most?

Yes, let me say this, every case file demands some amount of ingenuity, hence always tasking, the task level might differ.

When I first got to Ogbomoso in 2014, I was with Barr. Abiodun Ogunjimi for a period of three months, I thereafter practiced with Barr. Olugbenga Ogunniran (of blessed memory) of Olugbenga Oguniran & Co behind FRSC office, Ogbomoso for almost seven years before opening my own Chambers; O.R Olatunbosun & Co. (TY Becky Chambers) adjacent Sabo Baptist church, Ogbomoso, Oyo State on the 6th of May, 2021.

My then principal; Gbenga Ogunniran (of blessed memory) helped to build in me, the leverage of practice. He started me up with some divorce, land and chieftaincy cases that help broaden my advocacy skills.

Some funny realities about divorce cases is that some couples after the divorce proceedings still come together as husband and wife.

Enough of your private practice, let’s talk a bit about your interest in NBA politics, at what point did you develop interest in NBA politics?

I have always been a bar woman to the core. Perhaps the chambers where I practiced earlier also contributed to my passion for the bar. I say this, because Olugbenga Ogunniran (of blessed memory) was a bar man to the core as he was the NBA Chairman, Ogbomoso Branch between 2011-2013.

So when I got to his office, he always carried us along on bar activities and it helped built my energy and vibe for the bar activities. I served as the Vice Chairman of NBA, Ogbomoso in the 2021-2023 Administration, before now becoming the chairperson.

The desire of a young person taking up the NBA chairmanship of Ogbomoso thereafter became difficult to resist especially seeing the developmental strides of other branches.

It encouraged my interest for the post in no small measures, but becoming the youngest female chairman/chairperson ever to emerged in Ogbomoso branch of NBA and Oyo state in general, is only an added rare privilege.

It is my innate passion and desire to help achieve a cozy brand name for the bar, make the already much talked about law week a reality and laying the foundation for NBA Ogbomoso Secretariat and setting the pace for future growth and development for the bar.

What are the challenges you met when you assumed office?

One thing is constant in every endeavor, is that there is always work to do. When I came into office, I met many concerns begging for attention. For instance, I was surprised to see that the bar didn’t have a brand name and that our Law Week has not been consistent.

I was informed that the Last time the Law week held, was during the time of my then principal, Olugbenga Ogunniran (of blessed memory). The law week is supposed to be an event that should be had annually.

So, with the support of my Executive Members; Bright Egharevba,(Vice Chairman), Kayode Adeleru(Secretary), Oyetayo Alagbe(Treasurer), and Philip

Ogunwoye(PRO). I am moved, to amongst other of our core targets ensure regular observance of the program in our tenure, and the foundation laying of NBA Ogbomoso Bar center.

Now away from you a little bit, What is your view on the call for autonomy of the judiciary in Nigeria?

Autonomy of the judiciary is the only life wire there can be in the justice delivery system. I would say without any form of equivocation that there should not just be autonomy for the judiciary in Nigeria, but a manifest one.

I say this because it will enable the courts and judges to perform their duties free of any perceived, imagined, and/or real influence. The primary duty of the judiciary is to interpret the law, protect civil rights, decide cases, and protect fundamental human rights and other provisions of the constitution as the ground norm.

Ensuring the autonomy of the judiciary will also clearly streamline, without any deviation, the manner in which the organs of court should operate. So autonomy of the judiciary is long over due.

Do you also subscribe to castration as solution to curb incidence of rape in Nigeria?

It is a  no for me when we have laws that can be of help to reduce it to the barest minimal if not put a stop to it. Even Castration is against the fundamental Human Rights. Section 34(1a)of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended 2011 provides person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.

The punishment for rape which is sexual intercourse against the will of the victim through force,and when consent is not given the culprit will be liable to imprisonment for life with or without canning SC 30 1960,SC 358 criminal code Act in Nigeria and under the penal code the punishment for rape is life imprisonment or a lesser period with or without fine.

Do you have sight on one day becoming a SAN?

Sure! Becoming a SAN is one of the very rare privileges in the legal profession and it is my utmost desire to becoming one, in no distant future.

Wow! Thank you so much for finding time to talk to us, Ma. We wish you all the very best in aspirations.

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