FEATURE ARTICLE

Hakeem BabalolaTuesday, August 1, 2017
mysmallvoice@yahoo.com
Budapest

KAYODE BELLO VS NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL:
A CASE OF DAVID & GOLIATH

t is from the facebook timeline of my aburo that I got to know the plight of this young man called Kayode Bello. Laide had posted what seems to be a victimisation of his childhood's friend and high school mate in the hands of almighty Nigerian Law School.

The post shows this young fellow has just been expelled from the Law School and Laide points it out that he stands by his friend right from their Ibadan Grammar School days.

Victimisation of any kind always attracts my attention. Therefore I responded in form of a comment: "By this act, the boy is already ahead of his professors who expelled him. Where are the activist lawyers to take this boy's case? Oh, I miss Gani Fawehinmi. If Gani were alive, he would have taken this case up - free of charge. Go Bello & the Lord will fight your battle."

I still share the above sentiment even now that I have read both sides' account. In fact, this case is a familiar one. So much victimisation in our higher institutions! The lecturers and professors have in a systematic manner turned our youths into zombies. The Nigerian school authorities are gradually eradicating the spirit of intellectualism in our youths. Our teachers are becoming an impediment to our youths' courage and sound knowledge.

While I am not encouraging disrespectful behaviour from our youths, I believe respect begets respect.Remember, omode gbgon, agba gbon l'afi da ile ife. (The elders have no monopoly of knowledge). I am of the opinion that teachers should not engage in any activity that would turn our young learners into nonentity by way of academic intimidation. Apparently many Nigerian students have suffered one way or the other in the hands of teachers who have no business in the classroom. They have become a "Constituted Authority" - apology to Uncle Abiola Ajimobi of Ibadan nile Oluyole.

If after years in the classroom, our youths still failed to know who they are due to unnecessary fear planted in them by the almighty lecturers; then something much deeper is amiss. Hardly can our youths stand for something - nowadays. They have been cowed by the authorities expected to mould and encourage them. Perhaps Mr Bello is resisting that aspect of the school life. I support him in this regard.

Initially, I was concerned that none of the lawyers or Human Rights activists had taken this case up until I read the first story about this young man and the Law School. It was a statement issued by a group called UAD demanding the recall of "Suspended Law School student, Kayode Bello"

The convener, Mr Gabriel Ojumah and Mr Kunle Wizeman Ajayi, its Secretary, accused the School authorities of muzzling dissent. UAD, a pro-democracy organisation, United Action for Democracy demands the immediate recall of Mr Bello. According to UAD, Mr Bello was suspended for calling attention to the deplorable welfare condition in the institution.

"Could it be the only reason for suspending a law student?" I muttered. "Then the Law School has screwed up big time"

I mean how could a school that trains lawyers would be the one to suppress freedom of expression! It is ironical. Isn't it? If Mr Bello did nothing than writing to its school authorities in order to draw their attention to the grim campus conditions, then the sky is this young man's limit.

In this era when our youths seem not to know their rights; when many of our youths have been intellectually impoverished and in the process become educated illiterate - if there is an expression of such. Our youths due to our almighty lecturers have been turned praise singers.

So why would not anyone admire Mr Bello's radicalism - intellectual radicalism! I think we need more activism from our youths. Enough of docility among our youths! Gone were the days of Students' activism in Nigeria. Segun Okeowo of Ali Must Go comes to mind. Today our youth's minds have been corrupted by the same authorities that supposed to make them incorrupt and incorruptible.

But then, Agbejo enikan da, Agba osika ni (to be fair in judgment, both sides must be heard). I found UAD article one way so I continued my research during which I stumbled on the Premium Times article. I found it to be somehow a balanced one. So I rely on it for my comment over the issue: Kayode Bello vs. The Nigerian Law School is definitely a case of David and Goliath. Period

So after reading the School's account on the issue and Mr Bello's reply and other contributions, I have chosen to support the young man in spite of his short comings.

First of all, I want to state here that no matter the outcome, the expulsion has inadvertently helped advertise the young man as a brilliant and upcoming radical lawyer. It is the same way the Nigerian president, Buhari helped advertise Nnamdi kanu of Biafra when the latter was imprisoned. The more you imprisoned a man or woman fighting for his or her rights and that of others, the more you advance their cause. And for those who are saying that Kayode Bello is a-5 minutes-fame personality is yet to sit down properly to examine the young man. This is a young man who has prepared his mind; a young man who has discovered who he is and then determined to be who he wants to be no matter the persecution. Right from the Law School, the young and upcoming lawyer has begun what makes them tough in the profession.

One of the best prayers is this: Oh lord, let my enemy's plan advance my cause and take me to where you want me to be.

In its own version, the school authorities use general terms to describe the student lawyer - such as "misconduct", "penchant for incorrigible behaviour", "gross misconduct- insubordination", disorderly behaviour, "lacking the core attributes and disposition and comportment of an aspirant to the Bar". I suspect the act of exaggeration in the manner this young man is being portrayed. Yes, give a dog a bad name and hang him, right? The Law School authorities are only criminalising the young man in order to make its decision justified. We all know it's very difficult to lose a bad reputation, even if it's unjustified. It's all wicked tactics to expel this brilliant young man.

Some may be saying Kayode is foolish. They believe he should have finished the law school before embarking on a fight with the Law School. They may say, a ma n yo ogun ja ni (one goes to war with caution). I don't doubt the wisdom behind this saying. However, Kayode Bello's case is beyond that. Whether he fights now or not, obviously he would be rusticated. It is a power struggle. Certain "constituted authority" from his Alma mater in gang up with the Law school has determined to deal with him. If not because of his brilliance, Kayode might have become a useless young man now. So it is better for him to fight than to keep quiet.

Read his account here

Well, Nigeria is where it is today because of parochial thinking and bastardised mentality like the following:

* "Hmmm, If I were you Kayode, I would have played 'mumu' for the one year law school. After graduation I can now become the next Gani Fawehinmi."

"* This is an interesting case of "putting the cart before the horse..." The foolish boy did not even bother to qualify as a lawyer first before making trouble all over the place."

To this school of thought, I say Kayode Bello is above the pettiness of thought that has enslaved every Nigerian in his/her own country. He is simply above that. Take it or leave it.

Those who are inclined to think along this way do not understand the magnitude of Kayode's plight or rather a victimisation. I think it is an uncommon sense that prompts the young man to take action and he has to strike when the iron is hot. Hence I agree with the fellow who posits that "Bello was marked by Bangbose, his lecturer from his university and they seem to be following him everywhere he goes with their connections and instructions on what should be his fate and outcome from law school to the law chamber where he went for his internship".

Yes, Kayode may be stubborn. However, I have since known that stubbornness may be negative or positive. It depends. For instance, stubbornness arising from stealing someone's right is negative whereas stubbornness arising from fighting for your right or fighting to get what belongs to you is positive. If Kayode were to be a son of one of those yeye "sinators" or assembly looters or governors or presidents etc, and he slapped his lecturer, will he be expelled?

This young man has started displaying the stuff he is made of even in the face of persecution and Goliath's gang up against his academic progress. They have failed IJN. Now, what can make a student surpass his/her teacher? Brilliance and the Grace of God! These two things will not depart from this young man IJN.

At a time when most of our youths are being caged by the authority that supposed to liberate them; at a time when many youths are fast becoming cultists or engage in nefarious activities, Kayode is fighting the rot in his immediate environment. He should be encouraged not vilified.

Kayode Olusegun Bello alias Kay has taken the battle to the enemy's camp and surely the victory is his like the miraculous way David defeated Goliath, a man ten times himself.

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