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Law is force

By Tony Afejuku
24 January 2020   |   3:54 am
Any lawyer - a high quality or high profile lawyer or a low quality or low profile one - who sees the title of my rendering this day may be chagrined before reading it from the very beginning to the very end.

Any lawyer – a high quality or high profile lawyer or a low quality or low profile one – who sees the title of my rendering this day may be chagrined before reading it from the very beginning to the very end. Even after reading it he may be doubly chagrined. Why? The reason is simple really. Perhaps I should say the reason is really very simple. A non-lawyer may not, is not likely to, see my title from the perspective of one who is going to be chagrined by it. Are you confused? You better don’t be.

Lawyers affirm the force and power of law which they firmly believe in and practise with or without qualms. Law anywhere, as good people profess, is expected to unite strength and justice; it is not expected to promote or, to put it another way, exemplify power that rages out of bound, destroying everything and everybody on its path. When it does so the rights of the individual apparently become impotent and whatever moral conviction he possesses and espouses amounts to nothing ultimately. But power that is well used, and which is held in check or rightly controlled by self-check or self-control, reason and law will give mankind the true government of mankind. Unfortunately, or admittedly, the true government of mankind is not anywhere in our world and universe. To think otherwise is an impotent attempt to try to be rational in a place where the “destructive force of the falcon is limitless and irrational in itself.” Nigeria, your country, our country, of the present time, seems to me to be such a place. Our country now is a place where law defies reason and law that is law that law itself will not execute rightly and properly. Are you bewildered? You better don’t be.

Amotekun, the novel security, or, better, the novel paramilitary organ/organisation which the current executive powers of the western states of our country have rightly floated has inspired this magisterial concern. Whether we accept it or not the brutal magistracy which our central government is forcing on us and especially on those in the Southern and Middle-belt areas where outlaws from the North are brutalising, raping, kidnapping, molesting and killing defenceless, unprotected persons and burning their houses and belongings, has properly induced and compelled the Amotekun protagonists and initiators or inventors to exercise positive arbitrary power. Clearly, their brand of arbitrary power is one which allows them to demonstrate that they are accountable, yes, accountable to the people, yes, to the people, they govern. The protagonists and inventors of Amotekun strongly believe that the destructive force of the falcon and its limitless irrationality can be tamed and subdued to be subordinate to the desire and will of the falconer. Let me be plain, let me be blunt. The inventors and initiators of this paramilitary organisation that is discomfiting the central government are a people I admire greatly. When they mean it, when they mean to, they can pull down kings that they have raised. When they do so, events flow and follow one another in quick movement and bewildering succession and the subdued rapscallions and all of us become aware of the “providential pattern only in hindsight.”

When Mr. Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the central government issued a statement to the effect that Amotekun is illegal or unconstitutional or something akin to his lazy reading and interpretation of whatever law he alluded to he was simply telling us or implying that law in our country now is force – meaning that the execution of this law is a great and a greater violence. It is not strange that the attorney general is not thinking of the present and future harmony of our country. It is not strange that his legal advice or forced legal utterance is that of a strong military general and dictator who dictated that he utter what he uttered, and who is determined, who is hell bent, on brutalising the exploited, deceived and unprotected toilers from a geo-political region he doesn’t care a fig for their desire. He is ready to make them and their lords and protagonists his enemies. But this time he has misfired. Who knows the law better than the people of the geopolitical region he is probably ready to unleash his (and his cabal’s) negative arbitrary power on? The slender thread of the absolute and supreme power he is relying on will do him no good in the end. His force of law or force of power will do him no good in the end. The Amotekun protagonists and inventors are not afraid of engaging in a bitter, unending and everlasting struggle with him and his brutal force. And what security has his brutal force provided the people who are solidly and hundred per cent with their Amotekun guards and guardians? Maybe GMB’s force of law adumbrated by his attorney general cannot reduce the power of the Amotekun lords and their own force of law. Maybe GMB and his cabal are relying on Revered Father Ejike Mbaka and others who are directing and predicting their political destiny. I modestly enjoin them to be aware of the limits of their miraculous power. It is for this reason that I will quote for their edification, spiritual and political, the following extract from Andrew Marvel’s Rehearsals Transpros’d:

“For there is not now any express Revelation, no Inspiration of a Prophet, nor Unction of that Nature as to the deducing of that particular person that is to Govern. Only God hath in general commanded and disposed men to be Governed… but I do not understand that God has thereby imparted and developed to the Magistrate his Divine Jurisdiction. God that sees into the thoughts of men’s hearts and to whom both Princes and Subjects are accountable, sees not as man’s nor judges as he judges; but is his own Measure and the first Rectitude.”

To edify my subject(s) here, and my readers who may not be aware of him before now, Andrew Marvell (1621-78) was an English poet and satirist. GMB should read him. If he cannot or does not have the time to do so, he should summon his attorney general to summon Hanan, our president’s vivacious daughter and academic champion, to do the reading for him. Thereafter, we may not need any court of law to award him any requisite certificate with the force of law to underline to us that law is force. Mr. Malami, Attorney General of Attorney Generals or of Attorneys General should compel, or better, subpoena himself also to read Andrew Marvell. Then he will endeavour to use his power well and learn to warn himself and his colleagues how tenuous their hold on power, or any person’s, or any leader’s, in fact and in truth is.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.