The futile attempt by rented miscreants to dance on the sacred grave of Gani Fawehinmi (Part 2)
Sometime ago, I touched on the above subject matter. More pressing national issues forced me to suspend the discourse. I will now continue our discourse. The hired thugs who had attempted to blockade me at Gani’s memorial lecture on the 14th January, 2018, have never, perhaps, read the provisions of section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, which presume the innocence of an accused person and his right to be defended by a lawyer of his choice.
They are not aware, or perhaps, pretended not to be aware of, the constitutional and legal provision, that it is the accuser who must prove a “crime” against an accused person beyond reasonable doubt, and that the accused has no duty to prove his innocence.
They have never perhaps read, nor understood the immortal words that “it is better that ten guilty persons escape justice than that one innocent person suffers”, as propounded by the English Jurist, William Blackstone, in his seminal formulation known as “Blackstone’s Ratio”, or “Blackstone Formulation”.
They refused to accept that it is lawyers (many of them are SANs), who have been hired by the government, that are prosecuting the politically exposed accused persons, whom these urchins term “corrupt” without judicial proof.
They hid the fact that it was lawyers who prosecuted and defended infamous and convicted armed robbers like Ishola Oyenusi, Babatunde Folorunsho, Lawrence Anini, Monday Osunbor, Shina Ramble, George Iyamu, Abiodun Egunjobi, etc. They sweep under the mat the fact that it is lawyers who prosecute and defend suspected and apprehended kidnappers, coupists, arsonists, murderers, rapists, abductors and other heinous crimes suspects.
Because they have a constitutional right to be defended. Gani must have wept in his Alijanah Firdausi abode, seeing this paid miscreantic mob attempting to destroy the cherished legacies he lived and died fordefence of the common people (whether rich or poor), pithed against an armada of powerful government forces; insistence on observance of the rule of law, due process and respect for cherished fundamental human rights of every Nigerian, irrespective of gender, class, tribe, religion, or station in life.
I will discuss later why and how Gani led me and other lawyers in his chambers to defend Colonel Peter Obasa, the then NYSC Director and Chief Kila, his Deputy, in 1984; Dr Olu Onagoruwa; Ibrahim Dikko; Isaac Idio Udoka (an Ikot-Ekpene based businessman), all of whom were accused of acts of corruption, embezzlement and stealing of public and private funds. Not to forget Dr Chuba Okadigbo, the then Senate President, whom he defended on allegations of corruption after he was impeached and replaced with Anyim Pius Anyim.
These misguided “youths” (some of them looked older than me), who were handsomely paid to showcase beastly behavior that failed to intimidate me ( and who obviously hail from one ethnic group, going by their language), would never have been welcomed or accommodated by fiery Gani, a detrabalised and patriotic Nigerian. Some of the same warped brains behind these despicable acts of lawlessness had also hired a similar mob to attack and stone their new found hero, the same Chief Gani, at the Federal High Court premises, Lagos, when one of their god fathers accused of false declaration and certificate forgery was being prosecuted at the court by Gani; but was being defended by these historical revisionists. They tried vainly to rewrite history. But, they failed.
This incident (mine was not even as serious), by these same people took place on 20th October, 1999. You can findthe details as captured at page 110, in the book, “A Glance at Gani at 63”, by Adindu Ugwuzor. HisPajero jeep was attacked and smashed, while Gani, his senior driver, Ajibade Adefowoju and another staff were still inside the SUV. Gani barely escaped being killed by the whiskers, by the hired mob.
THE FUTILE ATTEMPT TO PREVENT ME FROM SPEAKING TRUTH TO AUTHORITY
When I read of the earlier threat online, by these adult reprobates, that I should not attend Gani’s memorial lecture to which I was duly invited to speak, I made up my mind to attend and dared the lion in its den. If I did not, they would gibly get their mouthpiece in the orchestrated show of shame, SAHARA REPORTERS, to report that I ran away from the lecture out of fear. I am not and have never been a coward. So, I attended the lecture, spoke fiercely and even received an award.
The hired motley crowd had barricaded the entrance to the events hall at Ikeja Airport Hotel, when I arrived, singing, under the remote control of some of their faceless handlers who were equally present at the venue and whom I know very well.
They pretended to be “placatine” and “quietening” this hysterical mob, who behaved more like ungovernable Roman plebians. How do you placate or quieten a rascally mob you did not hire, or whose origin you knew nothing about. I laughed heartily.
Their first shock was that being a tested veteran myself, of years of street protests and anti-bad government demonstrations, which led to my serial detentions during successive military juntas, I joined in the protest. I sang and danced with them, mouthing in equal (even stronger measure), their uncouth and infantile expletives. I noticed later that in their doctored and fake video, they carefully edited out this scene where I even humiliated them with their vulgarity.
They were perplexed. Mr Ogunlana, and Richard Akinola (one of the six trail-blazing activists who, together with me, founded Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), the first human rights body in Nigeria, on 15th October, 1987), scolded them for their unruly behavior.
The Head of the Gani Fawehinmi Dynasty, Mohammed, kicked against their gross misconduct, telling the audience that his late father was a democrat who accommodated opposing views, was never violent and would never have accepted their unruly behaviour. Mohammed told the audience he was only 9 years old when I was already a counsel in his father, Gani’s chambers. For the records, I had risen to become Gani’s Deputy by 1985, before setting up my legal practice in 1986.
I had become more resolute and fortified in my decision to attend the lecture because a day earlier, this same hired mob that tagged themselves “students” and “youths” (and the likes of whom Professor Wole Soyinka had, in his 2016 Wolexit brouhaha (when he threatened to burn his Green card over Trump’s election as president), derisively tagged “internet millipedes, imbeciles and barbarians”).
They had cheaply taken to online social media, threatening to stop me from attending the lecture. They could not. According to this hired faceless group of less than 20 mobsters (whom I later learnt were rented with mouth-watering sums by my detractors), my “crime” was that I am “defending people accused of corruption”. They surprisingly used the word, “accused”, not convicted.
They listed such people as much traduced and vilified former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, against whom no corruption act has been shown by the government till date, in over 10 cases across different courts in Nigeria.
They listed the No 3 citizen of Nigeria, the calm Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; and the stormy petrel and courageous face of democracy, Governor Ayodele Fayose, who has consistently and irrepressibly put this government on its fumbling toes. They also listed my client, Senator Dino Melaye, the reasonating voice in the Senate, who has moved the highest number of motions and proposed more bills than any other Senator in the 8th Senate of the National Assembly.(To be continued).
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Most criminal defendants do not get adequate representation because there are not enough public defenders to represent them. There is a lot that is wrong”. (John Grisham).
Hope Nigerians are reading, digesting and awaiting the next exploring discourse of Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb., LL.D?