MADNESS IN HIGH PLACES – A TALE OF TWO LAWYERS AND A LAYMAN, PART I.

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BY AMBASSADOR LILIAN ONOH.

“Okochi afu’o” is a popular Igbo expression – The Dry Season is at full blast, a colloquial way to warn the unwary that the borderline insane are now perambulating stark naked in broad daylight.

Such is the season in which we find ourselves as the antics of a very highly placed lawyer in recent times have resurrected the expression among those in the know.

This very important lawyer – oyibo trained, no less – is very, very upset.   So upset is he that he has decided to use his old Naira notes to retain the services of another oyibo trained lawyer to help him address his very, very important grievances and threaten a mere layman who dared present him in not-so-rosy hues.

With typical wisdom, he chose a Chambers whose name is better suited to agricultural pursuits but that is not the main crux of the matter.

The main crux is that the very important lawyer believes he has been defamed by the layman whose publications have cast him in very, very bad light and this must be stopped immediately and the layman be threatened into a retraction by the agrarian sounding legal Chambers.

And what did the layman say that was defamatory, you may ask?

Well, it seems that among other things, the layman had the audacity to quote the very important lawyer’s press release in which the important lawyer shot himself in the foot severally and this statement of the very important lawyer, quoted by the layman, is terribly defamatory.  Okochi afu’o.

The very important lawyer is equally miffed that media statements about his conduct by other very important Nigerians were included in the layman’s publications about him and even more terrible, the layman dared petition the President and this petition before the President, whilst being legal and factual, should not have been published because it makes him look very, very bad.  Tut, tut.  

The very important lawyer is hopping mad that the layman had the temerity to express an opinion about his conduct, which was an exact reflection of his own  comments about himself.  And the very important lawyer denies in the strongest possible terms, that what he said about himself and his own conduct, says exactly what he said about himself and his own conduct.

And thus, Okochi don arrive in full force.  

So the very important lawyer wants to ask a judge to declare that his own statements, when used by just one layman, is defamatory and must be stopped by all means because Mr. Very Important Lawyer is so sad at being cast as a bad boy.  He and his legal representative also want a judge to declare in contravention of the law, that the expressed opinion of the layman, based on personal experience, which the very important lawyer does not deny, is defamatory,  because he doesn’t come up smelling roses and no opinion that doesn’t present him as the good guy should be permitted. Naughty Layman.  

At the workplace of the very important lawyer, hilarity is the order of the day.  On some WhatsApp platforms, portions of his legal tantrum are being circulated with typically Nigerian comments about the “correctness” of the head of the very important lawyer.  By his own hand, he is now an object of ridicule and some from his hometown are wondering who will bell the cat before Okochi takes over.

Such a situation that brings the legal profession to ridicule would ordinarily be tabled before the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to which both the very important lawyer and his legal representative belong but I think that even a layman such as I can express an opinion that this is clearly beyond the area of expertise of the NBA.

Because, in my humble opinion, based on the foregoing, the only thing that remains is for the very important lawyer and his legal representative to file suit and ask a judge for committal to the National Psychiatric Hospital for further evaluation.  I understand there is one in Enugu and another famous one called Aro.

I recommend immediate action without any further delay to avoid the zenith of Okochi.

Addendum: Part II of this ongoing saga is ready and I am relatively sure that the very important lawyer will save me the need to further protect his identity by outing himself in short shrift.  

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