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Yeah, it is a goal, Weah!

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After a dazzling football career that saw him win two prestigious football awards, FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or, which no other African has won after him since over two decades ago, George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah has scored the biggest goal of his life.

Last Friday, December 29, 2017, he was declared the winner of his country’s run-off elections and he is the President of Liberia with effect from the 22nd of this month. Yeah, what a way to start a new year!

As a footballer, George Weah was a spectacle to behold on the pitch. Many things worked for him including speed, acceleration, dribbling skills, multi-functionality, goal scoring mastery and breathtaking finishing. It was little wonder that he remains a football legend and three-time African Footballer of the Year, in 1989, 1994 and 1995.

If you ask them, pundits would tell you that Weah’s greatest moment as a footballer was on September 8, 1996, the day that he solely dismantled the entire Verona team by running through the entire pitch for AC Milan with the ball at his feet until he safely delivered it into his opponents’ net with several players pursuing him to no avail. I watched the clip again and again and it was thrilling and mesmerising.

In spite of the success of Weah and the fact that he had made millions from his inspiring career, he wanted to score more goals in the pitch of politics and life after his retirement from football. His first shot at the Liberian Presidency was in 2005 but he missed the goal post to Africa’s first female President, the Harvard-trained Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

During the campaign, his opponent threw jibes at him for being a school drop-out. That was a good punch for the boy born and raised in Clara Town slum of Monrovia. Then, life was difficult and he bade bye to education in his final year in secondary school to pursue his career.

The ghost of quitting school would haunt him later.

The greatness of Weah does not lie in becoming the President- elect of Liberia. His actual greatness lies in going back to school and getting himself prepared.

After he was poohpoohed at 39 when he failed to win the Presidential election, Weah studied and obtained his Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in 2006 at the age of 40. He enrolled in the University and obtained his first degree in 2011 at the age of 45 and got his Master’s degree in 2013, aged 47.

A year after, he was elected a Liberian Senator in 2014, and this month, he is to be addressed President George Weah. What the story of Weah demonstrates further is the power of education. Regardless of achievements in other areas, the attainment of life’s dreams will still be constrained at some point in life by lack of education.

Weah could have ruled the world of football and even got crowned the African Footballer of the 20th Century among other eye-popping awards.

In a country dominated by the youth, who are still familiar with his exciting football exploits, he could still not be trusted with leadership while an older and educated person was preferred by the vast majority. With education, what was elusive 12 years ago was delivered to him. As a new year begins, this is another opportunity for a new beginning.

This new beginning should be anchored on the philosophy of Abraham Lincoln, who said, “I will study and prepare myself, and someday my chance will come.”

The President-elect of Liberia, George Weah, has studied and therefore prepared himself; now, his chance to rule Liberia has come.

It is hoped that the same talents that helped Weah to succeed in his football career, such as speed, multifunctionality, resilience and fine finishing, would help him to also succeed in office as President. After all, he said he is a self-declared “born winner.” It is not always applicable to cite Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg as successful people who dropped out of school.

It is always relevant to be inspired by people like George Weah and our own former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who within ten years of completing two-term tenure as a democratically elected President obtained his first degree, Master’s degree and PhD.

Higher education is both an end to itself and a means to an end. Either as an end itself, as the case is for Dr Olusegun Obasanjo or a means to an end, as it is for many people including President-elect George Weah, education remains the visa to the world of possibilities and opportunities.

 

Happy New Year!

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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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