Posted by News Express | 6 August 2020 | 1,337 times
In my 2008 book entitled Unmasking the Hebrews of West Africa, I had paralleled two important sacraments of the Igbo traditional religion – Ofo na Ogu – to the biblical staff of Moses, and the rod of Aaron that grew a bundle of twigs.
Recently, I had argued on Facebook with another Igbo scholar on the actual English cognates of Ofo na Ogu. Being from Anambara State, where most of the cultures do not have the physical ogu, he argued that the ofo was the symbol of justice. Conversely, I insisted that the ofo is the symbol of authority and vengeance, whereas the ogu is the symbol of justice. While the ofo was held by the eldest son of the family as a right, the ogu bundle of twigs, was held by very few people who were known to be righteous and selected unanimously by the community. Thus, Igbo names in Imo area such as Nwogu, Ajuzieogu, Ogudoro and Ogujiofor buttress the importance of justice in the Igbo cultural intercourse. The name Ogu-jiofor stands out in its complete sequence of “action and reaction,” a cause and effect philosophy.
Iju ogu (declaration of innocence) must be followed by Iku ofor (invocation of punishment for defaulters or blessings for the just). They are as inseparable as thunder and lightning. You do not declare a judgment without any consequences for its declaration: It must be a curse or redemption; a reward or a punishment. Without this later part of the Ogu-jiofor principle, the cosmic cycle of justice, is incomplete and its essence defeated.
Against this backdrop, I would like to remind us of the December 20 verdict of the Supreme court on Uche Nwosu and its implications for the Imo governorship. I have chosen to cull in part a December 20, 2019, report on the matter by The Guardian:
“A chieftain of the Action Peoples Party (APP), Mr Uche Nnadi, had dragged Nwosu to the Federal High Court where the court held that he was not qualified to participate in the election.
“The court based its verdict on the fact that Nwosu already had a valid ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Unsatisfied with the ruling of the court, Nwosu approached the Court of Appeal, to put the decision to further test.
“The court dismissed all issues raised by Nwosu in his appeal.
“Not satisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, Nwosu headed to the apex court to upturn the decision of the lower courts.
“The Supreme Court, in its judgment, dismissed Nwosu’s appeal, saying that he could not benefit from his iniquity. The Court also dismissed the argument by Nwosu’s lawyer that the suit was statute barred.”
“Justice Augie had said: ‘The appellant cannot be allowed to benefit from his own iniquity. The action is not caught up by limitation of time. This case rests on the issue of illegality, and this court cannot be used to enforce illegalities. This appeal is hereby dismissed’.”
In his reaction shortly after the judgment was delivered, the Chairman of APP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, said the implication was that all the votes given to Nwosu at that election were void.
The implication of this judgment for the legality of the current government of the state is multidimensional.
Everyone knows how the subsequent Supreme Court judgment that sacked Emeka Ihedioha and installed Hope Uzodinma as governor has been received by Ndi Imo. It is now common knowledge that the courts have been approached to enforce their December 20 judgment on Uche Nwosu and its implication on the candidature of Hope Uzodinma. It is now left for the Supreme Court to complete their task by making their judgment operational. This would really repair the image of the judiciary and not paint the lingering picture of the proverbial family of seven brothers who all fell and died from the same palm tree.
•Nnamdi Ejekwumadu, a university lecturer, author and Igbo culture enthusiast, writes from Abuja. He can be reached via email@example.com
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