Let the Case in Court continue, but let there be Peace within NBA under Paul Usoro’s Leadership— Sylvester Udemezue

Dame Carol Ajie. Photo credit: Facebook

To Dame Carol Ajie [LL.B(Hons); B.L(Lagos); LL.M(Georgetown) LAWA Fellow; VV Lead Fellow; respected learned Senior Lawyer, Georgetown Scholar, and Human Rights Crusader.]

It was Albert Einstein who declared that peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Dear Dame of the great Nigerian Bar, I have just read a letter you wrote to some prominent Nigerian leaders asking them to derecognize Paul Usoro (SAN) as the NBA President. I humbly suggest a ceasefire in your vituperations against the NBA President, in the interest of the NBA itself. Read my reasons.

First, those persons you wrote your letter to, have NO jurisdiction to derecognize Paul Usoro as the NBA President. Because they didn’t elect him. The current NBA President was elected by an overwhelming majority of Nigerian lawyers. Only these lawyers can remove Usoro, following due process. And there is no reason for anyone to seek to remove him for now. Furthermore, we do not want outsiders’ interference in NBA affairs.

That’s my point.

The President of the FRN, the Senate President, etc have NO option but to recognize Paul Usoro as the President of the NBA, until August 2020. Let’s not try to destroy NBA, thinking we’re destroying Paul Usoro. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “war is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.” Let’s exercise due caution. NBA is our primary constituency. We have no where to run to if we destroy it or divide it.

Respected Dame, I learnt from your messages to me that you faithfully supported Mr Paul Usoro and you had fought so hard on his side until his triumphant victory. Congratulations. Now, if you have personal grievances against him, I think the best way out is to sit in a round-table and amicably resolve what I see as perceived personal differences between great allies. There’s no reason to fight dirty. Allies do disagree; it is normal in all political, etc situations.

Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways” (Dalai Lama XIV).

Please, I am NOT talking about the case in court. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, reserves the right to proceed against whoever it pleases, if it thinks the person has done something against extant graft laws. Let the case in court proceed as the prosecution may wish. It is the prosecution’s headache to establish the charge beyond reasonable doubt and it is Mr Usoro’s constitutionally-backed right to be presumed and treated as innocent unless and until (that is, if) the court otherwise decides.

So, as I said, I am not talking about a case that’s subjudice. Let the legal battle be waged and won and lost in court in line with the constitution, rule of law and due process. What I am talking is about these your seeming personal issues and disagreements with Paul Usoro, because from the messages you’ve been sending me, it appears you’re saying you had a “deal” with him before the elections. You know I was not with you guys. I was supporting ojukwu. So I would not talk about what happened then in your camp. But I can see from your personal messages to me, that you feel you’ve some personal issues with the Learned Silk. I genuinely believe such issues between allies could easily be resolved following proper approach.

If the International Bar Association, IBA, Council nomination has been given to someone else, you could settle for something else before the end of the Usoro Presidency. The Paul Usoro presidency is for two years. Appointments and nominations are not exhausted, I believe; I believe also many things are still under way. Since you’re a staunch supporter and of course a competent, experienced senior as well as a respected practitioner and Georgetown scholar of repute, opportunities still abound. It is my respectful view that one does not need to try to pull down a house one has helped to build. It is antithetical.

On my part, I am not expecting anything personal (benefit) from Mr Usoro or anyone. My expectations and prayer are that he does well and that he fulfills his mandate and promises to Africa’s largest Bar. And from what he is doing, he seems to be on the right track. I repeat that if prior to the elections, Mr Paul Usoro had actually promised to nominate you to any position, it is still not late to fulfill such promise. Besides, IBA isn’t the only nomination there’s. Mine is purely a personal suggestion. Because I don’t like the way you’re stressing yourself.

Finally, if you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. Those were the words of Nelson Mandela. United we stand, progress and come out victorious. Divided we fall. Rest assured of my kind regards always, Ma.

Most respectfully,
Sylvester Udemezue