(By Sylvester Udemezue)
Dear Caleb Daniel-Oghenetega, Mr. RMD (a respected Nollywood player who is also a lawyer) had endorsed your candidate. ▪️In reaction, Mr. Steve Sun wrote this:
“I, S. U. Nwankwo Esq., (also and more commonly known as Steve Sun ?) do hereby make oath and state that i shall vote for Mr. Olumide Akpata, If Mr. RMD produces any evidence of having attended 10 Monthly General Meetings of any Branch of the NBA within the past two years. Thank you.” ▪️Angered by Steve Sun’s style or statement, you (Caleb Daniel-Oghenetega) then wrote as follows:
“Wait, so I hear a certain Steve Sun — an ex customary court judge (sic) of Ebonyi State, who was escorted off the customary court bench for selling judgments to the highest bidder, someone who in saner climes should have no business being a member of any professional association— not to talk of the Nigerian Bar Association, is asking a distinguished gentleman, actor and lawyer like RMD about how many times he has attended Bar meetings, represents the exact reason why we should reposition the NBA. There is indeed urgent need to rid the NBA of people whose continued membership constitutes an affront to the very ethics that upholds our noble profession.”
▪️Dear Mr. Daniel-Oghenetega, I am baffled by the insult you heaped on your professional colleague, just on account of a harmless opinion he holds. ▪️But more baffling is the fact that your camp members immediately thereafter began escalating on the social media, your invectives and mudslinging against your learned colleague, Steve Sun. ▪️I think it would have been more appropriate and more gentlemanly if you had focused on the issues raised by Steve Sun by advancing superior argument to displace Steve Sun’s, instead of attacking or insulting him merely for holding or expressing his views to which, you know, he’s entitled.
▪️Don’t get me wrong; I am not a fan of Steve Sun, neither am his enemy. I don’t agree with the reasons he gave in his letter of demand to MR RMD; I had once written on this platform (State Of The Bar) thus:
“In every election, everybody and everyone is useful for some, different, reasons. Some people vote during the election; some others do the job of winning voters while there are still those whose role is to win those who win voters or both. To borrow from Morgan H. Nichols, “let each one discover one’s worth, hold one’s own power, and then be oneself.” No one is you and no one can play your role for you, neither can anyone replace you; that is where your real power and value lie.”
▪️However, one must respect Steve Sun’s right to hold his opinion without being victimized, however wrong one thinks such an opinion is. ▪️Our colleagues should learn to face issues and engage in issue-based discussions. Why is it that once one offers an unfavorable opinion, some of our colleagues would resort to mudslinging and diatribe ▪️I thought this was a profession of learned men and women with an established tradition to hear the other side, and to give others the freedom to be themselves and to tolerate opposing views?
▪️Voltaire wrote, “I May Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death, Your Right to Say It”
▪️It appears clear that your group’s sole intention in aspiring to lead the NBA is so that you victimize those (like Steve Sun) who hold opposing views — a sort of leadership by gagging other people and interdicting people’s right to hold contrary opinions? ▪️Honestly, this is not the type leadership DR BABATUNDE AJIBADE, SAN intends to provide for the NBA.▪️Dr Ajibade recognizes that when we reject or gag people only because they’re different or because they think differently, we deny them the respect they deserve as human beings and at the same time make a statement about our own ugly character in the process. ▪️ #TeamAjibade2020 acknowledges that the NBA would make speedier progress if we learnt to accept, respect and live with our differences and difference of opinions. ▪️ “Give others the freedom to be themselves; appreciate the differences between their ways and yours, and you’d be wiser and greater” (per Jennifer Chen) ▪️To suppress freedom of speech is tantamount to committing a double wrong: it violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. because, as Frederick Douglass said, “no man can put a chain about the ankle of his own fellow man without in the end finding the other end of the chain fastened about and around his own neck”
▪️We don’t and will never support corruption, but what has the fact that Steve Sun once was a Customary Court “Judge” (I think you meant to say “Customary Court President”) or even had “misbehaved” as such (I am not aware), got to do with the harmless letter Steve Sun wrote to Mr RMD? Where is the connection? I repeat that I don’t agree with Steve Sun most of the time, and he had written many rejoinders to my opinions; but I won’t insult him. With due respect, I think your resort to insulting Steve Sun’s character is condemnable, and not Steve Sun’s letter to Mr RMD, because he’s merely exercising his god-given right, and that particular letter by Steve sun is temperate ▪️I can assure you that Steve Sun remains a learned friend, however awkward or beside-the-point anyone thinks his opinion is. If anyone thinks he has committed any wrong, please let the person take him before relevant disciplinary authorities. Before then, let him feel free to offer his opinions.
▪️If, by God’s Grace (as we work and pray for), Dr Babatunde AJIBADE, SAN wins this election and becomes the NBA President, he would not be keenbb on harassing or persecuting those who did not or do not agree with him or who did not support him, because such is not good and mature leadership. ▪️Dr AJIBADE would instead focus his attention on uniting all persons and opinions towards achieving the goal of a greater bar and recording greater growth in the best interest of the bar. ▪️However, for the avoidance of doubts, Dr Ajibade would NOT condone nor support any form of professional misconduct; he would uphold respect and obedience to all aspects of legal ethics. But, he won’t persecute any lawyer merely on account of the opinion he holds.
▪️Meanwhile, and I thank God for this, Nigerian lawyers now know better who would best serve their interest as the NBA President in 2020-2022. ▪️People can now begin to take us much more seriously when we say Dr AJIBADE is the best for the bar at this time.