Odili’s speech mischievously twisted — vituperations unnecessary, says spokesperson


Felix Enebeli, spokesperson to Mary Peter-Odili, a retired justice of the supreme court, says a speech delivered by his principal at a public event last Friday was mischievously taken out of context.


He also blamed “some conflict entrepreneurs” and “persons determined to force her speech to fit jaundiced narratives and political nuances” for the perceived slant.


During a colloquium organised in Abuja to mark the 25th anniversary of Joe Gadzama as a senior advocate of Nigeria, Odili had warned against fanning the embers of hatred, tribalism and bigotry.


“I say so in the light of the prevailing situation in Nigeria as a result of the 2023 general elections which has generated a lot of storms, necessitating the conversation which we are about to indulge in, as there seems to be moves to throw the nation into chaos or conflagration,” she had said.


“This may be brought about by some individuals and groups who, fanning the embers of hatred, bigotry, and tribalism, fail to see the possible outcomes of the utterances without caution that are being thrown around.


“It is human to feel cheated or having the short end of the stick by one who is not declared the winner at any of the electoral contests.


“Such emotion, however grim, does not justify bringing the roof down, the roof of our nation.


 “The reason is simple, that in such an eventuality, that aggrieved person may not be spared, as the commotion that could ensue would be like an unguided missile which could land anywhere and upon anyone.


“Therefore, in ventilating our points of view and facts at the electoral tribunals or other courts, a sense of responsibility from all parties is demanded.


“The situation does not call for the blackmail of the judges or the posting of speculatory hypothesis, giving them such a life of their own which runs riot and is accepted by the hapless and innocent in the society as the truth.”


She had also described Wole Olanipekun, President Bola Tinubu’s counsel at the election tribunal; and Lateef Fagbemi, attorney-general of the federation as “master” and “experts”.


Both men were among the audience.


Her remarks had elicited mixed reactions on social media platforms.


Tinubu’s election victory is being challenged by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).


Some had accused the retired justice of taking sides with her speech, as the presidential election tribunal prepares to deliver judgment on Wednesday.


However, in a statement on Tuesday, Enebeli said Odili acknowledged that the 2023 elections ‘generated a storm’ and “advised all those who were not declared victorious in the elections to toe the line of legality and follow the rules of law in expressing their dissatisfaction through appropriate channels and not ‘pull down the roof of the nation'”.


“This is because of its far-reaching consequences on everyone, including all agitators, regardless of what side of the fence they found themselves. Surely, this is common sense advice,” the statement reads.


“It is emphasized that there is nothing in the comments that suggested a reference to those who lost in any particular election in any state or region.


“The 2023 general elections were in four categories: the state houses of assembly, governorship, national assembly, and Presidential elections.


“Moreso, the lawyers who attended the events, especially the named ones, were called upon, in their professional capacity, to find solutions to the challenges facing the 2023 elections irrespective of their leaning.


“Wole Olanipekun SAN is the immediate past Chairman, Body of Benchers who handed over to Justice Mary Odili.


“Lateef Fagbemi SAN is the Hon. attorney-general and minister of justice of Nigeria and the host J. K. Gadzama SAN is a known lawyer who has done several cases for the PDP.


“These lawyers are globally acknowledged as strong in litigation. The several other lawyers in attendance are possibly handling various cases for politicians.


“The unprovoked vituperations are a sad reflection of the reason for the cautionary comments of Justice Mary Odili, and the vain struggle to give it momentum to political gains is unhelpful.


“Regardless of the fact that Hon. Justice Mary Odili (who is a retired justice and is free to express her views like any other person), the mischievous efforts to apply a wicked twist of bias, championed by the same persons who are bullying the judiciary and threatening to pull down the roof without recourse to due process, fall flat.”

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1 comment

  1. I hope it is wrong for people to speak prejudice of a matter in court, let alone a supreme court justice of Mary Odili standing. I now know why certain things happened to her.


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