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by Afolayan Adebiyi

I always knew how difficult locking Nigeria down, for whatever reasons, would be. Nigerians, as people, intrinsically, lack disciple and orderliness. Locking down is never going to be an easy task. Nigerians are not too easy to beat into a line. Discipline is a very rare trait amongst us. It is strange to lots of people here.

This trait reflects largely in how we have been able to manage the country post-Independence. But, as it has been done in many other countries in Europe, America, and Asia, the government, willy-nilly, had followed the World Health Organization (WHO)’s recommended regime of locking down, as a last-ditch attempt to curtail the wild spreading of the Coronavirus pandemic. My cynicism, however, proved just right.

Armed police enforcing the lock-down

The first tranche of 14 days lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States, with the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, declared by President Buhari on March 30, while most State’s Governors also followed suit and either imposed curfew or lock down their states. This had hardly run up to five days when hues and cries of ‘we are hungry’ started resonating across the country. All attempts to offer some palliatives ended in fiasco, as another round of noise followed the distributions of such, either by the government, public officials, or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) or individuals.

Food & material distribution to the public

Meanwhile, the unfortunate victims of the infectious disease, some who had never traveled out of the country, some who were just ill-fated to have caught the virus, who were lying in agonizing pains at the various treatment centers across the country, were of no concern to these bands of ‘we are hungry’ choristers. In any sane clime, among more reasonable people, these unfortunate victims of the virus would be the major issue of concern for all.

We are all aware of the country’s infrastructural limitations. We all know the constraints of our public health facilities, we are equally aware of the well-documented poor attitude of health professionals in healthcare delivery, or sometimes the mediocrity of some professionals, therefore, not many people really put much faith in the health infrastructure here to face the impending pandemic. But what many people failed to take into cognizance was the heroics of the healthcare providers in battling the equally much dreaded Ebola pandemic to submission in 2014, just six years ago. The infrastructure deployed then, both human and facilities, are still there. So it was rather too easy for Lagos State Government to rolls out the tanks and ordered the troops to war when the index case was first spotted in the State.


Either as a marketer, a fabulously successful one at that, or as a politician, an elected President of America, or even as an administrator, Mr. Donald Trump, carries an aura around him. That of a circus showman.

I can still recall vividly also Hilary Clinton, the cerebral and effervescent former First Lady, US Secretary of State, and wife of Bill Clinton off-handed dismissal of candidate Donald Trump during the campaigns towards the 2016 US Presidential Election. ‘If you elect a clown, then expect a circus’, she warned the feverish Americans rooting for Trump’s Wild Card, ‘American First’ slogan. Hilary has been dead on point since the Coronavirus pandemic broke out late last year from the Wuhan Region of China.

Arial view of the city of Wuhan, China

US reactions have been mostly riotous and largely un-American. Trump had protested. He had taken his frustration out on the World’s Health body, WHO. He blocked American yearly donation of $400 million to the body. About a fortnight ago, he prescribed sunlight as the anti-dote of the Virus. And now the latest circus show from the land of the Yankees is President Trump’s prescription of Dettol liquid antiseptic as an intravenous infusion on COVID-19 patients.

This trend clearly shows a confused mind. Americans may be overwhelmed by unusual, unnatural circumstances for the first time in their national history, but certainly, Trump’s riotous mindset is not the best balm to heal the pains of traumatized Americans now. He appears confused and lost, hence his unregulated response to China’s glaring culpability in the infestation of the World with this bio-chemical virus.


Late Chief Richard Osuolale Abimbola Akinjide

My earliest recollections of the late legal guru, Chief Richard Osuolale Abimbola Akinjide, SAN, FCIArb. (1931-2020) was during the run down to the 1979 Governorship elections in the old Oyo State, Nigeria. I can still vividly recapture the scenario in my father’s large living room. It was towards late evening on a Monday. I was a sophomore student at a Grammar School. I was to take something to my Dad upstairs when I bumped into the evening news broadcast on NTA, Ibadan. A news report caught my Dad’s attention, thus making me hang around than usual. The governorship candidates of the two major parties, Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and National Party of Nigeria (NPN), late Chief Bola Ige and chief FRA Akinjide governorship debate would come up immediately after this news broadcast. The news naturally caught my father’s attention. Late Bola Ige was a cousin. So all of us herded into his large living room to watch the debate. Watching the motion picture alone was enough. It is not necessary that you understand the big, big grammar they would blow. Since that evening, Chief Akinjide came to my consciousness.

Late Chief Richard Akinjide & Late Chief Bola Ige

Chief Akinjide of the NPN lost both the debate and eventually lost the elections to late Bola Ige of the UPN. But what followed later after the Presidential Election shot Akinjide into the consciousness of all Nigerians.

Akinjide’s mischievous, but hilarious interpretations of the Constitutional provisions of 12 2/3 of 19 States till today caused no few Constitutional Lawyers goose pimples. He shocked even the Supreme Court Justices with his argument by reducing a State into a Mathematical fraction. Not even the then Mathematics guru, Professor Chike Obi, and Ayodele Awojobi could reverse his logic using any all known Mathematical principles. The Justice gave it to him. This was later to informed successive governments to look for the mythical 2/3 while creating additional states. Ever since then, he remained at the limelight of legal developments in the country.

Tributes and adulations have been flowing freely for the late legal icon. But I only want to take an extract from the one signed by the Chairman, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria Branch, Mr. Olatunde Busari, SAN, C. Arb. The Institute said Chief Richard Osuolale Abimbola Akinjide, was an active and strong supporter of the Nigeria Branch and served as a member of its Training Faculty. For many years, Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN was one of the leading arbitrators in the field of Oil and Gas and has published many articles and awards to his credit. He, together with many of his ilk, contributed in no small measure, at ensuring that Arbitration gains prominence as an effective and efficient method for resolving commercial disputes in Nigeria.

Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN was passionate about his work as a legal practitioner and arbitrator. We wish our time together could have been longer, but the Lord chose to call him to eternal glory after a commendable service to the country and mankind. Though he is no longer with us, we are consoled that his legacy lives on. Indeed, the Branch has lost a rare gem.

Afolayan Adebiyi writes from Lagos, Nigeria.




Feferity © 2020

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