By Abdulhameed M. Aliyu Esq.
In the early hours of Thursday, April 30, 2020, among the first online articles I read was that of Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Honourable Minister of State, Labour and Employment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria via https://thenigerialawyer.com/keyamo-san-berates-a-media-outlet-for-refusing-to-publish-solanke-sans-rebuttal-to-the-disparagement-of-the-san-title published by TheNigeriaLawyer (TNL) titled “Keyamo, SAN Berates A Media Outlet For Refusing To Publish Solanke, SAN’s Rebuttal To The Disparagement Of The SAN Title”.
While reading the said article, Mr. Keyamo, SAN made reference to an article published by Punch newspaper on 2nd April, 2020 at its back page titled “No God is punishing us with COVID-19” written by one AbimbolaAdelakunbearing (https://punchng.com/no-god-is-punishing-us-with-covid-19) as its online link.
With every sense of curiosity, I immediately clicked on Adelakun’s article and behold, I could not imagine any rational justification and/or reason why a journalist will write so ill and belittling about the ever revered legal profession’s rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
In the very words of Adelakun as used in her article, she referred to the very prestigious rank of SAN of Mr. Keyamo as a “tag”.In the succeeding sentence, Adelakun mockingly wrote that “Not that it (SAN) confers wisdom on anyone, but…….”
I agree wholly with Chief (Mrs) FolakeSolanke, SAN that these words are openly and of course, unjustifiably disparaging of the highly rated rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Reading part of Adelakun’s article that relates to Mr. Keyamo, SAN, one is at complete loss as to what and/or who is her target in the futile frolic of disparagement. Was she targeting Mr. Keyamo, SAN or the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)?
Whichever is the aim of Adelakun’s offensive act of disparagement, I make bold to say that she lacks any moral, ethical and professional gut to spit out such venomous words in describing Mr. Keyamo, SAN or the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Perhaps, Adelakun publicly expressed her ignorance to the fact that the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) is a highly cherished and elevated status within the legal profession in Nigeria, which is earned upon fulfillingvery enormous and result-oriented criteria. These criteria are garnered over several years of outstanding experience, industry, hard work, commitment, dedication, astute leadership quality and mentoring prowess etc.
For the avoidance of doubt to Adelakun, I wish to clarify that the above distinctive criteria that qualify a legal practitioner for the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) must reflect all facets of one’s interpersonal discipline, dealings and relationship that cut across the board of fellow colleagues of the profession (senior or juniors), judges and justices, clients etc.
In essence, the rank of SAN is extensively earned within the Nigeria circle of the legal profession and its equivalence is the rank of Queen’s Counsel (QC) in the United Kingdom. Thus, the rank of SAN is eminently recognized globally as such.Therefore, a legal practitioner like Mr. Keyamo, SAN and his learned silk peers, conferred with the rank of SAN are ordinarily presumed and believed to be power banks and reservoirs filled with great wisdom, not only in the legal realm but in any other realm of life.
The big question begging for answer here is – “What led AbimbolaAdelakun to use such disparaging words against Mr. Keyamo, SAN? Of Course, from Mr. Keyamo’s article, it was as a result of his personal views and feelings as expressed on his twitter handle, where he tweeted thus;
“God has allowed COVID-19 to afflict the human race only to redirect our steps back to Him. We have so distorted God’s Word to suit our own human weaknesses and satisfy our greed, even in supposed Holy Places. We should collectively ask for forgiveness & it will all end in praise
Aside the spiritual angle to this scourge, we must all work and pray; God can only help those who help themselves. Those our recalcitrant Pastors must realise this. All the directives of @NCDCgov must be followed to the letter by all and sundry before it can quickly end in praise.”
For crying out loud, what is wrong with this simple and harmless tweet of an individual’s personal view of a global pandemic and the way he feels his admirers should go about it? When has plainand sincere tweet like this call for strangulation and maiming of an author’s hard-earned personality and integrity?
Very worrisomely, Adelakunscepticallylikened Mr. Keyamo’s reasoning on this tweet to that of “….illiterate Borno youths….” I dare say that this is tarnishing, vindictive, bizarre and undeserving of a supposed seasoned journalist like Adelakunagainst a holder of the prestigious rank of SAN, who also doubled as a serving Minister of State in Nigeria.
In the concluding part of her article, Adelakun wrote thus:
“No malignant God is sitting down somewhere in heaven and waiting for us to either beg him for survival or we perish. People who reason that way serve a malevolent God they made in their own image.”
The above expression has left me wonder and eventually believe that Adelakun may be an atheist for expressing such unholy and blasphemous words against the creator of the universeand the master planner of all that is within and outside it, couple with her vicious divergence and resentment against Mr. Keyamo’s spiritual view of the convid-19.
If in the ravaging face of the corona virus, the sophisticated health sectors and technological advancement of super world powers like UK, US, Germany, China, Spain, Itlay, Saudi Arabi, UAE, Iran etc are grossly overwhelmed and almost rendered inefficient and ineffective, who and where will Nigerians turn to other than God the Almighty, for His Grace and Mercy, be it Muslims or Christians.
Clearly, Adelakun is oblivious that despite all the scientific and technological advancement in the field of modern science, no doctor, health worker or scientist will ever profess to heal a patient. The slogan has always been: Doctor Cares, Only God Heals!
Although, Mr. Keyamo, SAN hinted in his article that AbimbolaAdelakunhad sent a private apology to Chief (Mrs) Solanke, SAN for her indiscretion via mail. I am of the strong view that such apology is deceptive and worthless because Mr. Keyamo, SAN is personally the victim of Adelakun’s reckless choice of words and description, while the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) and indeed the legal profession as a whole represented by Bar and the Bench are the larger victims.
Thereof, if Adelakun is sincere and remorseful of her unethical and unprofessional write up, then, Mr. Keyamo, SAN deserves, first and foremost, a personal apology, which must be copied to BOSAN and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Any private mail from Adelakun to Chief (Mrs) Solanke, SAN is in the form of appreciation and gratitude for being cautioned and called to order by a mother and octogenarian of impeccable and unbeatable track record in Nigeria. What an enviable privilege!
Additionally, in sincere show of remorsefulness, Adelakun ought to pick up her pen and paper and immediately write another article expressing her regrets on her ignorant usage of words to disparage the prestigious rank of SAN and a holder of SAN, in the person of the Honourable Minister, Mr. Keyamo, at least for record purpose and for the benefit of the general public and her gullible audience.
To buttress the above, Adelakun was supposed to bury her head in shame and flip “her tail” in-between her legs by championing the course of prompt publication of Chief (Mrs) Solanke’s rebuttal article on the subject on Punch newspaper.
The reported failure and/or refusal by Punch editor, Ademola Oni to accede to Chief (Mrs) Solanke’s humble and motherly request to publish her rebuttal article on the subject since 28th April, 2020 speaks volume about the deceitful apology of Adelakun. Indeed, this gives high credence to the proverbial saying that “You do not disgrace me in public and turn around to apologize to me in private”.
I salute the prompt resilience of Chief (Mrs) Solanke, SAN in putting up a rebuttal article to Adelakun’s odious work, despite her octogenarian life status that naturally comes with fragility and feebleness. I wish you more strength and wisdom in good health learned silk!
On a final note, I wish to say that the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and BOSAN ought to rise to this kind of occasion by condemning such reckless and disparaging article of Adelakun, and if possible put forth a litigation battle against peddlers and perpetrators that enjoys act of disparaging prestigious titles, ranks, institutions and authorities.
Behold, every lawyer in Nigeria and those yet to be (including Adelakun and her likes) will forever aspire to be conferred with the ever prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) till eternity. This gives credence to the African proverb that “those who lives in glass house don’t through stones”.
Abdulhameed M. Aliyu Esq.
Pp: Oli and Partners
Utako – Abuja.