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December 31, just another day on the calendar

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When I first conceived the idea of what to write for today, I admit that it was based on my religious and personal belief that today is nothing but another day that has been hijacked by the commercial elements in the world to make more money for themselves after making a tonne a week prior.
Not only is today just another day, the whole concept of New Year has pagan connotation linked with the Roman two-faced god, Janus (Hence, the month being called January), it basically serves no productive need in a nation like Nigeria.
However, the tone of this piece took on another note with the biting situation in Nigeria. There is this movie called “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”, based on a classic book by Dr. Seuss. However, in Nigeria, no Grinch stole Christmas; there was no need to. Christmas was already stolen before December 25 with long fuel queues and angry masses that are disgruntled with their leaders.
Everywhere you look, the nation is filled with angry people bemoaning their fate. There was nothing merry about the Christmas. And, long before the fuel scarcity occurred, many of the civil servants had not been paid and as such had no way of providing the goats and Turkey required for a merry celebration. In Nigeria, no Grinch need steal Christmas for it was already stolen by corrupt leaders and their accomplices with the people bearing the full brunt of the theft.
Still, tonight, many of those who stole the merriment will gather in Churches and Mosques to pray for a “Happy New Year.” They will turn to the same civil servant that has not been paid salary for eight months and say “Happy New Year.” They will grin and waltz in their Agbada to a dinner or party that they have invited their friends and enjoy the stuff that the common man will only dream of. This is the reality of our nation, a reality that we sadly must live with. Many will make resolutions that they have no intention of keeping because everyone is in a rat race; to simply outsmart the other guy and make more money by crooked means. Well, there is nothing new in that and so, there is no new year, just another day in the life of suffering Nigerians and their not so caring leaders.
Yet, 2018 has been marked on the calendars of some as a big year and today, they bid farewell to 2017 with renewed optimism. Yet, I want to ask, what is the difference between December 31, 2016, and December 31, 2017? Last year, the same optimism greeted the dawn of a New Year, same phrase and same clichéd countdown. The hopes being expressed for 2018 was expressed, albeit hopelessly for 2017. If anything is new, it is the level of gullibility of expecting new things to come from the same old practices. It won’t happen; at least, not unless the practitioners and the style changes. This time last years, the same set of people was in the churches praying hard and doing less. I think Nigerians have gone on their knees so many times that their blessings have actually passed over them. We need to work, not just pray. The motto of my primary school, ST. Judes Anglican, Ebute Metta in Lagos is “Work and Pray”. The two must go hand in glove, not excluding the other. My Secondary School, Jibril Martins Memorial Grammar School, Iponri, had the motto “Ise Ya…” (Literally, time to work), and the interesting thing about my alma maters is that they both belong to religious organizations. Yet, they both advocate hard work and not just prayers.
Even when Jesus performed his miracles, he made people work for them. The Cana wedding? People fetched the water and poured it into jars before he turned it into wine. The fish the disciples caught in abundance? They had to go back to sea to cast their nets. Yet, people will pray very hard today for miracles that they don’t intend to work for. I might as well help them now and say, it won’t happen. Faith without works is dead, says the Bible.
So, let today just be the day you rise and tell yourself: “Tomorrow will be better.” Not because it is the start of another month or Calendar Year, but because you are deciding to do something different and chase your dreams. There is no substitute for hard work. Change begins with a change in our mental disposition towards hard work. We must put work on the top of the things we want to do to make life better.
Next, must come making our representatives accountable for their actions. Write a letter or a petition. Don’t just stand by or simply pray about your situation, be proactive. Even Jacob in the Bible wrestled with angels to get a blessing and so be prepared to do the same for your blessing. December 31 is just another day on the calendar. Make it the day that you decide to make positive changes in your life that are not attached to any calendar event.

JMMGS Reunion
So, my classmates from my secondary school decided to brave the fuel scarcity and hold a reunion on the school premises. Actually, the set that preceded us (1991/92) held theirs a week earlier and so they did put my school in the news twice within the space of a week. While it was an opportunity to meet old friends, it also gave many of us an opportunity to reflect on the state of education in our dear fatherland. A tour of the old library and school hall revealed just how much has changed in public education in 25 years. It was tears-inducing, but still a happy occasion.
I want to say congratulations to the organizing committee for their dogged determination in ensuring the success of the event despite the odds. Things can only get better from here on. So, to all Jibrilians, I say let’s make this school better. Ise Ya.

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He wants to wipe your tears

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Your sickness or problems should not be an excuse to absent yourself from the house of God. But they should rather encourage you to pray harder, and seek God’s face more; before the woman could say anything, our Lord Jesus Christ ministered to her right at the point of her need. This was why the word of God declares: “The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind, the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down, the Lord loveth the righteous.”

The word of God also said; consider the work of God, for who can make that straight which He hath made crooked?

Our Lord Jesus Christ is interested in your case. He wants to correct error or crookedness in your life. He wants you to come out of that ugly situation from this moment. He wants to make that impossibility become possible. He wants to wipe away your tears. He wants to give you a divine turn-around. You may have been rejected visa three times or woefully failed an election. Our Lord Jesus Christ is interested in your case. May be your business is collapsing to the point that you have become penniless; our Lord Jesus Christ is interested in your case. Maybe you have lost your job, your husband, your wife, your father mother or anybody who is so precious to you; our Lord Jesus Christ is interested in your case.

There is hope. This was why a Latin maxim says Dum spire spero…meaning while I live I hope. Do not lose faith. Do not lose hope; our Lord Jesus Christ will never be too late to intervene for you. He can raise you up again. Why? Because, He is very interested in your case. He can do it because He is able, he is omnipotent, He is ultra-powerful, and He is superlative, supernatural, supersonic and supernal. He is the uncreated creator. He is the unchanging changer, the Alpha and Omega, the too much God as well as the God of all possibilities.

Our Lord Jesus Christ called the woman, laid His hands on her and said to her, “Woman, thou art loosed from thy infirmity.” Immediately, she responded to the totalitarian force of the anointing and virtue of our Lord Jesus Christ. A divine current of healing power flowed from the hand of our Lord Jesus Christ like an electric current into the veins, marrows and bones of the woman. She was automatically healed. Her entire body structure and metabolism became perfected.

The Bible records that immediately the woman stood up, raised up her head and hands and glorified God. Like the woman, you shall be whole again. Like the woman, every deformity and error in your life shall be corrected. Like the woman, you shall glorify God. Why? Because Jesus is interested in your case. As you go to our Lord Jesus Christ with faith today, may He put a fresh song and testimony in your mouth and also perfect all that concerns you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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The illegality of media parade by police of criminal suspects before their arraignment (2)

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CURTAIN CALL

Last week, we started the above discourse which we shall be concluding today. Thereafter, we shall commence a sequence, whether or not the Senate can legally summon the IGP (part 1). Being a customary practice adopted by courts across common law jurisdictions, it has received judicial affirmation and vindication in a number of cases.

 

The cases of Ani v State (2002) 1 WLR (pt 747) 217 and Bozin v State(1985) 2 NWLR (pt 8) 465,Uzoma v State(2016) LPELR – 26059 (SC), Adamu v State (2017) LPELR – 41436 (SC), Aichenabor v State (2015) ALL FWLR (pt 763) are apposite here. Notably, the practice of parading alleged criminals before arraignment is repugnant to our criminal justice system.

 

This practice gained currency during the military era when armed robbery incidents were rampant shortly after the civil war. For the Police to show their capacity and competence to combat such crimes, they gleefully paraded suspects before the public, to gain public approval and commendation for their “herculean” efforts. But the practice is certainly unconstitutional and therefore an illegality.

 

As a matter of fact, to parade suspected criminals in public amounts to subjecting them to inhuman and degrading treatment which is certainly contrary to the provisions of Section 34of the 1999 Constitution. Section 34 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended stipulates that “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of person, and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”.

 

Furthermore, Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution stipulates that “every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty”. Similarly, Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights stipulates that “every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man, particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.”

 

Having regard to the above provisions, it is crystal clear that media parade of suspected criminals is not contemplated in any of our extant laws and the Constitution, except it is an identification parade. A litany of courts pronouncements have since decried this obnoxious practice of parading suspected criminals publicly before trial, as unknown to any law in Nigeria. Cases such as Ndukwem Chiziri, Nice v. AG. Federation & Anor (2007) CHR 218, refer. In Nice’s case, at page 232, Justice Banjoko held that “the act of parading him (the suspect) before the press as evidenced by the Exhibits annexed to the affidavit was uncalled for and a callous disregard for his person. He was shown up to the public the next day of his arrest even without any investigation conducted in the matter.

 

He was already prejudiced by the police who are incompetent so to have such function; it is the duty of the Court to pass a verdict of guilt and this constitutes a clear breach of Section 36(4) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended on the doctrine of fair hearing”. Similarly, in Dyot Bayi & 14 ors. v. FRN (2004) CCJLER 245 AT 265, the ECOWAS court castigated the media trial of Applicants when it held that: “The court is of the opinion that for the fact that the Defendants presented the Applicants before the press when no judge or court has found them guilty certainly constitutes a violation of the principle of presumption of innocence as provided in the 1999 Constitution and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

 

It is quite disheartening that despite these judicial pronouncements, the Police have continually turned a deaf ear and have persistently continued their unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional act of parading criminal suspects in defiance of the clear position of the law demonstrated in the above cases.

 

Ultimately, parading alleged suspects before the public without first getting final conviction of the suspects tars them with the hideous paint brush of guilt and criminality.

 

This is no doubt a traumatic experience for them, most especially if they are later found innocent of such allegations. Parading criminal suspects publicly amounts to gross violation of their fundamental human rights and remains unconstitutional as there is nowhere in our statutes that empowers the Police to humiliate a suspect, ridicule and disgrace him before a proper arraignment is carried out.

 

 

Although there is no legal authority legitimizing criminal parade of accused persons, it appears that the law does contemplate a possible scenario where an accused person, having given a confessional statement (in a criminal offence of outstanding notoriety), maybe subjected to a media parade, where he voluntarily recounts his confessional statement to the press.

 

This appears to be an exception to the rule in Ndukwem Chiziri and Nice Nice v. AG, Federation & Anor (supra). Even then, in any such of such parade, the accused remains a mere suspect and his confessional statement does not operate to negate or remove his protection of his right to fair hearcy  ing before a proper court of law.

 

THE SENATE CAN LEGALLY SUMMON THE IGP (Part 1)

INTRODUCTION

 

There has been much unnecessary hoopla as to whether or not the Senate of the National Assembly can legally summon the IGP to appear before it. Yes, it can, constitutionally and statutorily.

 

It possesses such powers under sections 4, 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution and under section 4 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, LFN, 2004.

 

Those positing contrary views are merely urging, most unfairly, the IGP to disrespect and desecrate the important institution of the Senate, which, together with the House of Representatives, form the bicameral National Assembly.

The NASS is the Legislature which is the 3rd Arm of Government (Section 4), the others being the Executive (section 5) and the Judiciary (section 6), all of the 1999 Constitution. For the records, it is the absence of this crucial Legislature that erases democra-cy as we know it. Throughout successive military juntas in Nigeria, the Executive and Judiciary were always left intact.

 

The Executive, coming in the form of military oligarchy, always appropriated (better still, misappropriated), the lawmaking powers of the legislature, which it executed in the form of Decrees at the federal level and Edicts at states level.

 

Ouster clauses were whimsically and capriciously built into Decrees and Edicts to oust the jurisdiction of the courts, thus weakening the judiciary. With the Legislature annihilated and the Judiciary castrated, the military rode slipshod on the citizenry in the most brazen, tyrannical, dictatorial, autocratic, oppressive and repressive manner, putting human rights, rule of law, accountability and transparency in governance in retreat and abeyance. It is therefore very crucial that the authority, sacredness and sanctity of the Senate must be respected by all Nigerians, however highly placed.

 

To do otherwise amounts to executive lawlessness ad recklessness. (To be continued).

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

“We need to make sure we’re all working together to change mindsets, to change attitudes, and to fight against the bad habits that we have as a society.” (Justin Trudeau).

 

LAST LINE

 

Nigerians, please continue to engage me in the national conversation whilst awaiting explosive topic of Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb., Ph.D, LL.D.

Follow me on twitter @ MikeozekhomeSAN

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Columnists

Roll out your C.V

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There is virtually no one on earth today who is not going through one challenge or the other. Sometimes, life brings to you, stuff you didn’t bargain for; you find yourself in some mess you didn’t envisage or can’t explain.

Everyone goes through one challenge or the other at different points in time. However, our approach to handling these challenges is what differentiates and makes us unique from one another.

I believe you’d agree with me that a hand formed you and has been your back bone ever since. You’ve been through a lot; some you didn’t know you could scale through, but you did – not by your power. So why are you allowing a temporary phase weigh you down unnecessarily? This is the time to re-fire, not a time to give up.

Giving up is an attribute of failures. And the last time I checked, I couldn’t find your name on the failure’s list. Don’t give up on yourself. You must look at yourself with the eyes of the future not your past. Your present situation is a great testimony in disguise. You are a champion.

Once upon a time, there was a man called Goliath. He was very tall and huge. Information has it that his height was “four cubits and a span” (6 feet 9 inches). He was feared by all.

Goliath was an enemy of the children of Israel. In fact he had challenged them to bring someone to fight him. No one would go close to him, else they would be killed.

However, something very interesting happened in the book of 1st Samuel 17. After Goliath had assembled his men to fight the children of Israel; David, the son of Jesse approached the King, Saul. He told him he could defeat Goliath. Saul looked at him and laughed. He told David how extremely impossible that would be, considering Goliath’s height, stature et al. But David looked at Saul and rolled out his C.V.

C.V. is curriculum vitae. It comprises information about one. What an employer majorly looks out for in a C.V. is one’s past experiences. This will help in deciding whether the candidate is qualified or fit for the job or not.

However, in this context, our C.V. is our past victories. Friends, sometimes, you just have to recollect the many victories you’ve had in the past; display them before you and the enemies; say to yourself – “If God could deliver me from these past challenges, then He will deliver me from these present challenges”.

Sometimes, the key to overcoming the present challenges is by reminiscing on past victories.

You’d agree with me that they’ve been situations where God has proved Himself so strong in your life. If He did then, He will do now.

See what David said to Saul:

– 34 “But David said to Saul: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.”

– 36 “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

So this week, remember some of your past victories. Roll out your C.V. Say to yourself – “IF HE DID IT BEFORE, HE WILL DO IT AGAIN. THIS TOO SHALL PASS. I AM VICTORIOUS!”

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