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‘If not me, it is you’

By Kola Animashaun

Professor Dora Akunyili does not need any introduction.  Or you do not know that she was the over-all boss at NAFDAC for many years until she was invited to the Ministership of Information in Abuja?  She did a damned good job in both places.

Now, she is aspiring to go to the National Assembly as a Senator.  Which is not news.  What was news was that on the hustings, she, as they say, jammed the one and only Ngige, Dr. Ngige – at the Nigerian Television Authority, Onitsha, Anambra State.

They were to meet to do similar duties – to tell their constituents what they would do for them.  It was on the “Crossfire”, a current affairs programme.

Ngige was due to be the guest of the station in the live programme but could not meet the 12 noon appointment. He requested for a shift in the appointment to later in the day.

But Dora had been scheduled for 6 p.m. for the same programme. Then Ngige appeared suddenly about 5.30 p.m. and pleaded gastro enteritis (of course, he is a medical doctor) and asked to use the rest room.

Akunyili arrived a few minutes after and made to go straight for the same rest room but was stopped because Ngige was already engaged in the rest room.

But then, Ngige stepped out into “an open embrace from Akunyili, who repeatedly hailed him, “Onwa!”  That was Ngige’s praise-name.  Nothing spoil.  She told him: “If it is not me, it is you.”  Meaning that it was not a do-or-die affair between them.

This is an exhibition of extremely good breeding by Dora Akunyili.  The contest has come and gone with no winner nor loser.  Ngige has been reported to have won.  So was Dora who had said: “If it is not me, it is you.”

Unbelievably, the contest has been messy with claims of money and property pledged as bribe for the Returning Officer and, of course, denial by Dora.

Ngige was never a legally-elected governor of Anambra State but, by all standards, he performed very well.

Now, for new friendship

Now that the Presidential elections have been concluded, we should all be looking for new friends or new allowances.  PDP cannot be as invincible as it used to be; and ACN, new brides, cannot be as strong as it wishes to be but it has been decidedly stronger.  I should move into the mainstream of the Nigerian politics.
For the others, they have been a little to the right and a little to the left by which I refer to CPC; ANPP or Labour Party.

All like minds must work together for the good of Nigeria.

My Golden Nights – 8

By Prince Bola Ajibola

While I was serving as the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice (where he too served for over 12 years) I went to The Hague to discuss with him regarding the nuclear waste that was dumped at Koko in Delta State. We were to file an application against Italy on that matter at the International Court of Justice.

But we eventually realised that Italy was not one of the signatories to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.  After a very full discussion with him on the possibility of this litigation against Italy, he handed over to me a key to a box  and he also gave me the box.  He said to me that he knew that I was very busy and I should not touch the box until when it became necessary because it contains materials that I would need not now but in future.  That was all he told me about the content in the box which I dumped in my library on my return to Nigeria.

On July 17, 1991, H. E. Judge Taslim Olawale Elias passed on.  It then became necessary for the United Nations to arrange for another Judge from Africa to be elected in his place. Four of us stood for the election at the United Nations; D. S. Asante of Ghana, Njenga of Kenya, Sekande of Uganda and myself.  The election was hotly-contested and I won during the second round at the Security Council and the General Assembly. All the National Representatives of each country at the United Nations shook my hand and congratulated me on my election as the new Judge of the World Court.

It was a great day in the history of my life.  It was one conclusion in the aspiration and ambition of my life that I attained such a judicial height in life.  The justification of the content of “golden nights” rushed back to my mind and I thank Almighty Allah for making it possible in my lifetime to achieve such glorious achievements of all my efforts which He blessed.

It was then that it dawned on me that I had to face the future to brush up my knowledge on International Law.  In fact, International Law as a subject was taken by me at the Law School of Council of Legal Education, but not as an academic subject and there was, therefore, need for me to brush my International Law up, ready for my service at the International Court of Justice.

After the election at the United Nations and on my return  to Nigeria, it dawned on me that I should get the key and open the box that was given to me by the late Judge Taslim Elias during his lifetime when he told me that I would need the same in future. I opened it and lo and behold, I found all that was needed by me for a comprehensive knowledge of the International Law on current International Court of Justice rules, jurisprudence, regulations and practice, and inclusive of all the practice books on International Law.

Well, I quickly went back to my “golden nights” and spent three months reading all the books in the box that was presented to me by the late Judge Taslim Elias.  I allowed my “golden nights” to permeate permanently all my period in The Hague as a Judge of that Court and presenting to the Court my own view about any given judgment either as a separate opinion and in many cases as a dissenting opinion. I made it a habit of writing at least a hundred page note every night.

In conclusion, let me say that the three months of my “golden nights” in Nigeria adequately equipped me to contribute very meaningfully to the development of jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice, The Hague, that one day, our Registrar at the Court referred to me as the “Solomon of the Court.”


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