According to the book of Ecclesiastes, there is a season and time for everything. So, there is a time to for joy, there is time for sadness, there is time to laugh and a time to cry.
These biblical maxims are apparently lost on Barrister Gani Fawehinmi, as he chose the most inauspicious time to engage in his beyond the pale commentary directed against President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.
Barrister Fawehinmi ignored all precepts of decency as he engaged in his garrulous commentary at a time Nigeria mourned the death of 117 passengers and crew of the ill-fated Bellview Airlines flight 210. Gani was indecorous on this occasion.
I am personally disappointed at Gani’s lack of grace and class in his efforts in the name of criticisms of President Obasanjo’s public policies. Gani’s patriotism has never been in doubt to me and for that matter no Nigerian would doubt where Gani stands on Nigeria’s progress and advancement toward national greatness.
I must also confess that I studied law essentially because of Gani, who was celebrated by a student Union, when I was a boy, as he was held shoulder high upon winning a legal battle on the behalf of the Students’ Union, and I was sold on the idea of due process and the rule of law as a tool, an instrument and wonderful machinery of justice, the empowering lawyers to assist the powerless multitude, Gani therefore, was an inspiration and an impetus for my love of the legal profession. I have always respected and admired him as a lawyer and as Nigerian with the most astute political analyses and complete good sense.
But Gani has just overdone it! Gani has overplayed his hand and overplayed his role as ombudsman for good governance or battle worn critic.
It is completely unreasonable on Gani’s part, that he chose a very sorrowful moment for Nigeria, to engage in his belligerent preachment to President Obasanjo, who, apart from being the presiding officer, and president of Nigeria, a country in national mourning as a result of our collective loss in a plane crash, and the particularly personal loss suffered by the president and first family due to the sudden death of Mrs. Stella Obasanjo. Whatever anyone thinks or thought of Mrs. Obasanjo, she has died. Whatever anyone thinks of President Obasanjo, he is just bereaved.
Gani wrote agonizingly about his son, and yet, he glossed over the sorrow of President Obasanjo who is grieving over a very personal loss of his wife, a woman, who by all accounts, stood by our president through thick and thin, his near death experience under late General Abacha, and also through the thickset of his political travails in the current dispensation. Why did Gani choose this most inappropriate time to berate President Obasanjo? What was the point?
Contrast and compare the tastelessness of Gani’s commentary at this inauspicious time, with the general deference that all Americans of all political, economic, cultural and racial persuasions offered to President Bush after the events of September 11, 2001.
President Bush suffered no personal loss. Bush lost no family member.
President Bush’s presidency began on a very sour note. He came out of a fractious election that generated suspicions and extreme bitterness, of chad, pregnant chad and dimpled chad, as election results were held in abeyance, until the United States Supreme Court finally awarded the election to Mr. Bush. But for the terrorists attacks of 9/11/01 President Bush was walking a very tight political rope, from the unpopularity of his award by the US Supreme court, but the national tragedy of 9/11/01 changed everything.
Americans became patient and understanding with Bush’s every tentative learning steps, until he started to use and abuse the national deference to him, which arose out of a national tragedy.
General Buhari paid condolences and respects to the dead, so did Professor Soyinka, of these two, every Nigerian alive or dead, know where they stand on Nigeria’s national issues, whether we agree with Buhari and Soyinka or not. But for a moment, these two buried their hatchets! They acted with refinement, with deep reflection and circumspection.
No Holy Book, neither the Koran nor the Bible, and or, even common sense, in any culture or language would applaud Gani for his flippant commentaries at a time President Obasanjo and Nigeria were mourning the twin tragedies of October. What Gani did was distasteful. Gani indulged himself, it was bad judgment.
General Buhari and Professor Soyinka imbibed the maxim contained in the book of Ecclesiastes which clearly states that there is a time for everything. Nigeria mourned the passing of Mrs. Obasanjo and the 117 passengers and crew of Bellview Airlines flight 210
And so, quite unlike Mrs Yinka Oladapo who took Dr. Reuben Abati of The Guardian Newspapers to task for chastising Gani for attacking our president, a man who is mourning a very personal loss and a national loss, a president who is in private and public mourning! I am in full agreement with Dr. Abati. Gani’s tactless, tasteless and crass commentaries were ill-opportuned and Gani ought to apologize for his bad judgment on this occasion. Gani was not only un-African, he was inhuman! He acted without compassion and sympathy. Gani’s behavior did not engender good feelings, nor did it elevate public discourse, his commentary on this occasion, did not serve any public good.