FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, August 30, 2020
ifeanyi_mmoh@yahoo.com
Houston, Texas
A NEW NIGERIA BAR ASSOCIATION? AND SO WHAT!

onestly, Nigeria as of this minute, should be allowed to go in whatever direction dire circumstances willed it – if you know what I mean. This is because long before now certain persons who thought they did some heroic service to humanity have tampered with the natural effect ordinarily triggered by individuals whose insensitivity, brutality and reckless abandon have caused.

The lawbreakers whose penchant to indulge with actions that threatened the collective aspiration of fellow peaceful and law-abiding citizens are themselves in no way remorseful nor are they ignorant of the consequences of acting in such nauseating manner for one to justify the rationale behind the willingness of those who would sooner produce their limb to be chopped off than they would sit back and watch consequences play out.

In our checkered history, we have had the likes of Sir Ahmadu Bello (Premier of defunct Northern Nigeria) so heat up the polity in the nascent days after independence in the First Republic to the point that the military had to put forward its limb to be chopped off in defense of Nigeria from disintegration. In the defunct Second Republic, a Nigerian by the name of Umaru Dikko rode roughshod over his lavish and evidently corrupt public life to the point that the military again intervened to save Nigeria from collapse.

In the defunct Third Republic also the then military president Gen. Ibrahim B. Babangida annulled the country’s sincere efforts at nurturing the democratic culture when he cancelled the transition programme and called the citizens’ bluff. In recent times, the likes of former president Obasanjo and his novel third term agenda, the late president Umaru Yar’Adua’s refusal to transmit authority to his Vice-president, the Arewa youths’ issuance of a quit notice to the Igbos have all happened before us all.

The temerity of these actors to act with careless disregard for the constitution of the country have snowballed into an acute intolerance on the part of right-thinking Nigerians to the point of coalescing into a call for a restructured federation. For it seemed that in Nigeria, some folks exercised an audacious prerogative that appeared to be above-the-law whereas in the same country; other folks are so cowered and afraid that their rights are frequently trampled upon.

Who would be convinced that lawyers from the predominantly Muslim north would be audacious enough to threaten a boycott on the recently ended convention let alone form a splinter group they code-named New Nigeria Bar Association (NNBA) just because a politician was disinvited? For sure, arrogantly audacious stunts like this are not in short supply in Nigeria as persons frequently lost their senses of proportion. This much we know. However, this stunt has a few sublime attributes to it. Some of which are already public knowledge.

First: there is the fact of a willingness to have as its head/president a lawyer from the north and preferably a Muslim. The NBA – coming out of a recent general election where fresh executives were elected to lead the association – will no doubt look stupid if it pretended that there was no such discontent that followed the emergence of Barrister Olumide Akpata as current president.

The discontent harbored by folks from the north only needed a slight or very irrelevant opportunity to show itself. And as I expected, they took advantage of the dis-invitation of Governor Nasir El-rufai to show their sentiments. Second: it is my humble opinion that the Muslim lawyers Association of Nigeria had tactically cleaved to the Sharia Law long before now as evidenced by their open endorsement of death penalty for the Kano blasphemer. So NNBA is just their opportunity to show this inclination.

Interestingly, their action has drawn the line, marked the boundary and is seen as the probable last straw that broke the camel’s back on the subject of RESTRUCTURING. For long, the argument for or against restructuring have always ended in indecision particularly because Nigerians from the northern divide are afraid to boldly face the consequence of their many years of unpleasant, arrogant, greedy and unfriendly conducts.

They have feared to face it even though they knew quite well that someday in the near future, the other federating members of the Nigerian republic would stand up to their guts. It helps to think that as events continued to unfold, the federation of Nigeria and the citizens have continued to discover the great disparities that set them apart from one another both in terms of mindset, religion, culture, work ethics, environmental cleanliness and behavioral tendencies etc.

Now, the conduct of these lawyers so far is a clear statement – if you ask me – that the north was ready big time to seat down for a good discussion on the subject of restructuring. For I am strongly convinced that not every lawyer agreed with the endorsement of a death penalty for blasphemy and, I also do know that not every state in Nigeria agreed with the idea. So, Sharia as their preferred law will help them to better enjoy their stay within the federation of Nigeria.

By the way, what is blasphemy? And what are the do’s and don’ts of blasphemy? While not trying to meddle with their obsession, it is my believe that if the word blasphemy was properly understood, about every one of those trying to hang that young and talented singer – including the lawyers who endorsed a death penalty – have blasphemed at one time or the other. For if blasphemy is a crime, who among those persecutors are without a criminal record? If blasphemy is a sin, who among those persecutors are without sin? Therefore, if the reason for floating a parallel association is to deal with blasphemers or to satisfy their obsession to hang the guilty; so what about that? These lawyers have played into the gallery of restructuring and they shouldn’t be restrained for doing that!

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