IN a very crude and distasteful publication in the Vanguard, Tabia Princewill, a columnist, displayed a total contempt for the truth and an apparent disrespect for the ethics and the tenets of the noble profession.
In an indecent piece titled: “Rehabilitating corrupt persons, betraying the Nigerian dream”, Princewill virtually distorted history and invariably discarded the valid and subsisting judgement of the Supreme Court when she gleefully and contemptuously referred to our leader, Chief Olabode George, as an ex-convict!
This is the height of criminal libel! How can anyone who pretends an analytical intervention in the public space display a vivid inveterate malice masquerading as journalism?
More than a year after the highest court in our land has discharged and totally acquitted Chief Olabode George of any wrong doing in a vigorous and unanimous pronouncement, Princewill has chosen to desecrate the truth and abused the privilege of her position by ventilating a preconceived and disturbing politically motivated vendetta in the public space. This is wrong. This is unacceptable.
In conclusion, and once again for record purposes, the Lagos Collectives hereby quote the concluding passage of the Supreme Court judgment that has forever established the innocence and honour of our leader for all times: “It has been established that the case of the respondent rests on a shifting sand.
The charges framed against the appellant in respect of splitting of contracts and disobedience of guideline in Exhibit P3 is unknown to any written law at the material time. They rest on nothing in the face of the provisions of section 36(8) and (12) of the 1999 Constitution.
“They cannot stand as they fall flat. See: Macfoy v. UAC Ltd. (1962) AC 150 at 160. And to cap it, the Prosecution laced the extant charges with intention to defraud, an extra element of the charge which was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. It was a complete mistrial by the lower courts.
“I must stop here as nothing useful will be served in moving forward in respect of other issues. The appeal is allowed as same is, no doubt, meritorious. The judgement of the court below is accordingly set aside. The appellant is hereby acquitted and discharged forthwith.”
Four Justices of the Supreme Court namely: Mahmud Mohammed, M.S. Muntaka Coomassie, Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta and Kumai Bayang Akaahs, J.S.C., concurred with the lead judgment written by Justice J.A. Fabiyi in this historic unanimous decision that has finally rectified a wrong done to an innocent man.
How in the world then does Chief Bode George fit into the garbled analysis of Ms Princewill?
Prof. Tejumade Akitoye-Rhodes is Chairman, Lagos Collectives.