[The Concourse] THE UNJUST JUSTICE: A hard look at Ahmad Isah’s ordeal
The sarcasm of Will Rogers is proving true in Nigeria lately. According to the veteran American film actor and social commentator: “People are getting smarter nowadays they are letting lawyers, instead of their conscience, be their guide.” A crop of such people are currently at work in Abuja trying to defame and derail the popular host of Berekete Human Rights and Charity organization, Ahmad Isah, because of a stimulated, yet involuntary slip of action.
Currently, there is, what seemed an organized media propaganda to strangulate the Abuja-based Rights activist, over his handling of the case of an arsonist woman who burnt her little niece alive. This campaign of calumny against him has shown that some people, for one reason or the other were nurturing vitriolic anger against him. They turned themselves into foes, lying in wait for the slightest misstep to nab him and vent their anger.
And now, their indignation is rising to a discomforting crescendo.
For the benefit of those who may not have known, or heard about him; Ahmad Isah, is the founder/CEO of Berekete Human Rights Foundation. A non-governmental, non-profit organization that has for more than a decade, been touching lives of people of all classes (with emphasis on less privileged, the poorest of the poor, the vulnerable, widows, the downtrodden, those who are being denied justice or whose human rights were violated etc). Suffice it to say that he was the voice of the voiceless. This earned him the title “Ordinary President” (President of the ordinary people, if you choose).
He, like the former associate justice of U.S supreme court, Samuel Alito, “has been committed to carrying out his duties… in accordance with both the letter and spirit of all applicable rules of ethics and canons of conduct.”
He was arguably running the most transparent of all civil rights organizations in present day Nigeria. To take his open-mindedness to the north pole, he launched online live independent radio and television that covers every moment of his advocacy sessions with everyday people of Nigeria.
Lines had been falling in pleasant places for him, his fans and beneficiaries until last week, when in an unfortunate twist of fate and random coincidence of events, the Ordinary President lost his tamper and took the laws into his own hands, and beat the said woman in anger. Her alleged offence is criminal. She heartlessly poured kerosene on her brother’s little daughter and set her ablaze. Upon seeing how flippant the woman was, while answering questions about the incident, Ordinary President, slapped her!
He would later recover from that involuntary adrenalin surge, and apologized to the woman and to his viewers for that loss of control of emotions. But was it enough persuasion for those that has been timing him on a wrong footing?
What followed was explosive series of unpalatable reactions from a cross section of the elites demanding for his head on Herodias’ plate.
Personally, I knew a time like this would come someday. The Ordinary President has been threading where angels were afraid to step on. A fearless advocate for the masses, an uncompromising crusader for social justice, Mr. Ahmed became an endangered specie in a society like ours where evil, human rights abuses and injustice reign supreme to the spite of moral rectitudes.
I saw it coming. No one dares the power centres to correct their ills and remain unscathed. They know Ahmed is a mere human, and one day his empathy will betray his emotions and then he would be made to pay for the inconvenience of chastising them against their unbecoming dispositions. And it just played out.
Ahmad was justly raged like every other human against a woman who burnt her helpless little niece kept under her care, to the extent that he laid his hands on the ‘heartless’ woman. He was wrong. He ought to control his temperament. Two wrongs don’t make a right. He expressed compunction of heart and in a swift show of contrition rendered apology. Yet people are not appeased. They route for a pound of his flesh.
Let those who are taking undue advantage of this ungodly situation to distract this “Man of the people” know that the masses will not fold their arms and watch them pull him down. In the scale of moral justice it is unjust to allow 1% error outweigh 99% of accuracy.
The same government that couldn’t summon the Chairman of Code of Conduct Bureau for assaulting a security guard at Bannex Plaza, Abuja has “waken up”. We live in a world where we sacrifice strengths on the altar of “weakness.” Where we sacrifice 99% good on the altar of 1% bad.
Where were these emergency police of justice threatening Ordinary Ahmad with lawsuit when killer herdsmen are decimating our population with impunity? Have they demanded justice against military homiciders who killed unarmed peaceful #EndSARS protesters on October 20, in Lagos toll gate? Let them know that selective justice is not only hypocritical, but injustice in itself.
They are obstinate disciples of Honore de Balzac who coined the phrase that: “Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.” And that informed why they want to pull down this crusader of impeccable charater,
The masses are watching and waiting. Already in some quarters, the hashtag #Istandwithordinarypresident is trending on social media. Social media influencers like Sen. Shehu Sani and Enenche Enenche had tweeted in this regard.
For Enenche: “Ordinary Ahmad Isah is a thorn in the flesh of corrupt elements in Nigeria. They want to silence him, we must rise to protect what is ours. His Human Rights Radio is the only platform in Nigeria where the common man has a voice. Don’t sit down to watch, the hands that cause you pains, want to take your voice. We must rise to defend what is ours. We are watching!!! We will never bend or be intimidated!”
For Sen. Shehu Sani: “Ordinary President Ahmad Isah has erred and has apologized.He is human and should be forgiven.He is rendering a great service to humanity. No one is perfect.”
Obviously those he has stepped on their toes, those his programmes have exposed their corruption exploits are the ones hijacking and exaggerating the situation beyond proportion to get back at him. It is not about Ordinary President Ahmad Isah, it is the common Nigerians.
But this ordeal should also serve enough lesson for the Ordinary President and all men of goodwill to learn that rising to fame is not as tedious as managing fame. Getting to the top is not as demanding as remaining at the top.
Nevertheless, the words of Vince Lambardi, the Brooklyn born football coach, was apt for Ordinary Ahmad now: “I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” Ahmad has lived his life exhaustively for the common good of all in this pattern to deserve our collective support and protection, not defamation.
May daylight spare us!
✍Eze Jude O.