“Mafias run this world. They are everywhere – in politics, religion, and in the corporate world. Cruelty is their common bond” —Martin White-Ufuah

Martin White-Ufuah’s presence on Facebook, no one interested in political discourse on Nigeria should ignore. There are times I don’t share his views, but generally speaking, he is  amoebic in his political view making it difficult to pin him to any political divide. A lawyer by profession and an inspiring teacher of God’s word. His caution for us to note the “mafiaric” disposition of all strata of society is my interest. 

The world is firmly within the grip of the Mafia system, the wheels roll as they pedal.

On the 10th August, 2023, news broke of Mary Odili refuting the alleged plan to influence Presidential Tribunal Judges. She described the allegations as false, malicious, mischievous and a deliberate attempt at smearing her integrity and what she said was her solid reputation.

A former Justice of the Supreme Court, and wife of former Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State, Mary Peter-Odili, refuted the allegation that she had begun meeting with Judges handling cases at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) in order to influence them in favour of President Bola Tinubu.

An online publisher, Jackson Ude, had alleged that Justice Peter-Odili was “negotiating a pathway for President Bola Tinubu” and that “she meets regularly with Appeal and Supreme Courts” in that regard.

The retired Justice of the Apex Court in a statement which was signed by her Media Assistant, Felix Enebeli, said she had also referred the matter to her lawyers as well as the Police and other Security agencies for appropriate action.

While the statement urged the public to disregard and ignore the false publication, it added that it has the potential of inciting the public against her Lordship on an issue of grave national importance.

It noted that her Lordship was neither a Judicial Consultant to anyone nor was she in any way connected with or involved in any of the Presidential Election Petitions or any other Election Petition whatsoever.

“Our attention has been drawn to a publication circulating in the social media against the person of the retired Justice Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili, wherein the author, one Jackson Ude, falsely and maliciously alleged “inter alia”, that the revered Jurist is ‘currently negotiating a pathway for Bola Tinubu’ and that ‘she meets regularly with Appeal and Supreme courts’ in that regard.

“While the defamation arising from the false allegation has been referred to the lawyers of Her Lordship to deal with in accordance with the law, we consider it appropriate, particularly for the sake of the public, to issue this unequivocal denial of the false allegation.

“We deny every allegation contained in the publication and state that the publication is false, malicious, mischievous and a deliberate attempt at smearing the integrity and solid reputation of Her Lordship. We say nothing of the fact that the publication has the potential of inciting the public against her lordship on an issue of grave national importance,” Justice Peter-Odili said.

“The public is hereby urged to disbelieve, disregard and ignore this false publication,” she added.

According to the statement, lawyers acting for Justice Peter-Odili have been instructed to demand retraction and public apology from the publisher, Ude, failing which redress will be sought in a court of law.

“Meanwhile, a criminal complaint has been lodged with the police”, the statement said. In addition, lawyers acting for Justice Mary Peter-Odili have addressed petitions to the State Security Service, the Nigeria Police and Interpol calling for immediate investigation of this grave but false and malicious allegation aimed at inciting the public against Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili (rtd),” it said.

There are no dead ends to the mafias when up on a task, typical of a Mafia system, once you are in, you are in, there is no getting out. 

If Ude was malicious in his allegation of Mary Odili’s behind the curtain activities, Her Lordship’s strategic appearance at  Colloquium just the weekend before the pronouncements of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the case before it places Her Lordship against herself at the public court on the issue she denies.

In her own words at the occasion, she read a speech that lacked the fluency associated with with her learning as a lawyer and her years of experience as a reader on the bench. Reading as if the piece was written for her.

I may be wrong and I stand to be corrected, but let me reproduce what I heard her read in the video that went viral;

“This Colloquium and book launch in honour of Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN upon the attainment of 25 years as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria is an epochal achievement.

It is no doubt appropriate that the theme is: ‘The Nigeria of our dreams, a call to the Patriots’. 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 kind of conversation which we are about to indulge in as there seems to be moves to throw the nation into chaos or conflagration.

This may be brought about by some individuals and groups who are fanning the embers of hatred, bigotry and tribalism fails 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 but one who is not declared the winner at any electoral contests, such emotions however grieved does not justify bringing the roof down, the roof of our nation.

The reason is simple, that in such an eventuality, that an aggrieved person may not be spared as the commotion that could ensue will 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 speculative hypotheses giving them such a life of their own which run riot and be accepted by the hapless and innocent in the society as the truth.

Knowing the quality of the participants at this Colloquium and I am happy that professional and those who are well-equipped in litigation matters or electoral disputes, Chief Olanipekun is a master and our Attorney-General recently sworn-in, these are experts.

I am confident that having such persons here including our Chief Host,  Chief J K Gadzama there is confidence that at the end of the day, a resetting of the mind will be taking place and we will keep things in perspective in the full Knowledge that elections are seasonal and litigations relating thereto…..”

Chief Femi Olanipekun SAN, Chief Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the newly appointed Attorney General and Minister for Justice are both lawyers and Defence Counsel of the issue of interest raised by Ude in the court of the public for which Her Lordship was uncomfortable. How it became her duty to give the speech at the beginning of the week the court pronouncement was scheduled is not my interest. But the crying of the witch the night before the baby died the ancient wisdom of the Yoruba says should raise suspicion. 

I will leave her Lordship with a Yoruba adage; “atori laye, to ba lo siwaju a tun lo seyin” life is like a fresh cane capable of flogging the person in front and the person behind.

The nation hasn’t forgotten how the cane “lo siwaju” (went forward) as  the Judiciary flogged and forced Onnoghen out of office as the CJN(Chief Justice of Nigeria).

And how it “lo sehin”(went backward) to flog her out of the opportunity to become the CJN(Chief Justice of Nigeria). It’s sweet to be on the good side of the Mafias in power, but it can be devastating for such an individual when there’s a crack within the Mafias and they necessarily have to come against each other. If it could bring authorized men in masks to the balcony of a serving judge on special operation. How safe will such a Judge be in retirement if by chance she falls on the wrong side of the divide?

Dr. Bolaji O Akinyemi is an Apostle and Nation Builder, Convener Apostolic Round Table, ART. Also the BOT Chairman Project Victory Call Initiative, AKA, PVC-Naija.