At the Human Rights summit of the Nigerian Bar Association,Lagos Branch in celebration of the Human Rights Day,Chidi Odinkalu was in his element as he held lawyers captive with his misleading narratives of recent happenings in the country backing them up with concorted facts.
At the summit,Chidi Odinkalu goofed in four major ways
- He accused Lawyers of clapping for Buhari in an event that did not happen. According to him,Buhari in 2018 while addressing lawyers said that he had the power to pick and choose what rulings or Judgements to obey and Lawyers actually clapped for him. That is misleading.President Buhari never said so and Lawyers never clapped to any such thing.When he saw the disdain in the faces of some of his audience,he interjected in a manipulative manner telling them not to deny it because it was caught on camera.No such tape exists anywhere.That allegation was a figment of Odinkalu’s imagination and consistent with his stock in trade.
Assuming without conceding that President Buhari said that,the question now becomes,why didn’t Chidi Odinkalu,our dear Human Rights Activist say something about it.?
- Chidi Odinkalu said that during the confirmation of Malami as the Attorney General, Malami said that he had the right to pick and choose what Judgements to obey or comply with and the NBA did nothing about it then.
I find this very ridiculous. Malami according to Odinkalu made the purported statement at the Senate Confirmation yet the Senate confirmed him. Odinkalu in his wisdom did not have the balls then to call out the senators who confirmed Malami instead he ran down to blame the NBA for what the Senate did. Was Odinkalu expecting the NBA to take to the street because of a mere verbal expression by Malami? The question is,what did he do as a Human rights activist?
- In another allegation,Chidi Odinkalu exhibited his talent as a stand up comedian when he said that the Bar is not fit for purpose just because the President of the Bar did not retweet the position of the Bar (on arrest of Sowore inside a courtroom) .This was after the President has communicated officially to Lawyers and the Nation in a press statement and a media briefing that received the widest publicity. This is laughable. Twitter according to Odinkalu is now an official channel of communication for the NBA. Twitter is now superior to the conventional Press? In driving home his watery point,he referred to the President’s PERSONAL twitter account where he posted pictures of his attendance at the IBA conference in Seoul two months ago which many of Odinkalu’s audience didn’t seem to have seen on twitter. That is very petty and malicious.
- Odinkalu further more deliberately misinterpreted the Constitution of the NBA or exhibited ignorance when he attacked the Publicity Secretary of issuing press releases instead of the President. Either way,whether ignorantly or maliciously,that statement did not do any good to the image of a man who wants to portray an image of an intelligent man.
In his attempt to confuse his audience, he muddled the fact that the NBA President was the Chief Spokes person of the Bar with the constitutional role of the Publicity Secretary which the NBA constitution provides thus :
(iii) He/She shall issue releases and statements on matters of general interest to the Association and the public after consultation with the President or the National Executive Committee;
In his presentation, perhaps Chidi Odinkalu did not remember to tell his audience what he did during the removal of Chief Justice Onnoghen.He also forgot to tell lawyers that the NBA under Paul Usoro took the boldest step in post crises NBA by calling for a court boycott during that time. Odinkalu also forgot to tell his audience that he probably sabotaged the boycott by not lending his voice to support it.
A remarkable indiscretion by a self acclaimed Human Rights activist is worthy of note when he publicly opined that Paul Usoro who was then running for the NBA Presidency should step down from the race on a mere allegation by a Law enforcement agency. Odinkalu out of malice tainted with political interest in the NBA election,decided to jettison a cardinal principle of Justice into the trash can. He suddenly forgot the principle of Presumption of innocence on which the protection of Human Rights stands. The greatest Human rights activists are known to fight and uphold the principles of Justice even when their enemies benefit from it. They do not waver in pursuit of justice and they remain consistent with their ideals.
Odinkalu,in supporting his assertion that a person who has been accused of an offence should begin to pay for it before he is found either innocent or guilty made reference to saner climes where law enforcement agents investigate before they accuse unlike in Nigeria where they commence an investigation to look for a crime .
On the 18th of March 2019, the Kaduna state government accused Odinkalu of inciting disturbance and furnishing false information which is punishable under the state’s penal codes. In saner climes,all organisations will stay away from calling him to speak in any function anywhere and those who have invited him would have cancelled. In many cases,the person would have suo moto stopped speaking in public gathering until the allegation is dealt with but in his case,Odinkalu did not apply the standard of saner climes. He has continued to mislead people in public functions with concorted narratives.
Many lawyers who know his antecedents both in the National Human Rights Commission where he ignored a petition to investigate the killing of two lawyers in Warri and in NBA SPIDEL where he failed woefully to promote any form of Public interest litigation are wondering what gives him the audacity to put out himself as a man of the people.
For many who knew him,his session was an interlude to a more serious conversation while in general it was yet another bad outing for a man who has been accused severally of inciting people with false hood.