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Ondo State Chief Justice: Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́ by Comrade Allen Sowore

Since news filtered in early hours of 10th of July 2020, that the Ondo State Chief Judge has schooled our lawmakers about the simple process of removing a state Governor or his deputy as contained in section188 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended), I have been looking for an English adjective to qualify the courage and integrity displayed by my Lord, Justice O.O. Akeredolu.

Behold, I couldn’t find any that can capture her gracile appearance and the gargantuan inbuilt virtue.

Luckily, this morning I received inspiration in the Yorùbá citation of a slender – virtuous woman-Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́.

The recitation ‘Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́ ṣubú l’àwo, àwo kò fọ́. Ọ̀pẹ́ńgẹ́ ṣubú l’odo odó fàya’ extrapolates the careful thought of a gracile woman who walk without faltering and seamlessly sail through huddles.

The State Chief Executive Officer has planned to kill an ant with a sledgehammer. Special Adviser on political matters, Honourable Victor Olabintan has bragged on Ababa FM radio- that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN would do everything possible at all cost to remove the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi for moving from APC to the PDP. They were spitting fire and brimstone.

Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́ came with the magic wand-a simple letter advising the law makers to follow the procedure and provisions as contained in the grundnorm. Without her courage the the laws would have been enfeebled. That is what the Commissioner of Police couldn’t do on the day the Deputy Governor was detained at the entrance of the Government House for four hours.

Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́ epitomises the saying that great things come in small package. No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is everything.

Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́ is this gracile, virtuous and fearless mother who can look straight into the eyes of Goliath like the young biblical David and defeat him with the law. She earned my respect for her ability to reaffirm the integrity of the judiciary.

A caveat, I have not asked readers to address our respected mother Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́ in the open court. That will be contempt in facie. Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́ is the citation for a gracile and virtuous mother who can apply the law irrespective of who’s ox is gored.

Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́ is my tribute for her courage in our democratisation experience. Mom Ọ̀pẹ́lẹ́ńgẹ́, may your Lordship’s reign tarry in good health in the land of the living.

Comrade Allen Sowore
Media Adviser to the Deputy Governor
11th July, 2020

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